Archive | June, 2012


27 Jun

View from Paliano. Weather inFields near Paliano the 80’s, breezy and warm at night. Jon arrived today from Berlin. Tomorrow to Acuto, Trevi nel Lazio, to look for more painting spots.


Siamo qui! We are here!

27 Jun

In Serrone. Went exploring today to look for the best painting spots…here’s a beauty from Paliano, a town nearby.

Who we are

24 Jun

Giovanni Osenni

Giovanni Osenni.  Born in 1889, in Rome, abandoned or given to a family in the country to raise, our family legend says he was born to a wealthy young woman, perhaps a member of the Orsini family.  His father was said to have the surname Marconi.  This story was based on the names on his birth certificate, which he was somehow able to obtain after WWII, as reported by my Aunts, my father’s sisters Antoinette and Lydia.  Alas, the birth certificate was lost again, here in the states!  My search to find it began in 2006 when I found online a geneological researcher, Ann Tatangelo of “Angel Communications”–helped by an angel! When Mike (my husband) had a week’s work in Rome that year, I accompanied him and met Ann and together we visited villages in Ciociaria, where we knew Giovanni had lived and worked, since that’s where he met my grandmother, Annuniziata Grilli.  During the search for Giovanni’s birth records, we found my grandmother’s information in the village of Piglio.  We found the house where she lived as a girl and one of the elderly neighbors there told us that we had cousins just up the street!  We surprised them with a visit, which is when Giulio and I met for the first time.

Annunziata Grilli was born in Ferentino and moved to Piglio with her parents in 1893.  She was one of 9 children.  Only she and her brother Guarino emigrated to the states (1919 for her).  She left Italy to marry her childhood sweetheart, Giovanni–and they did marry, at Ellis Island!  The remaining siblings stayed in Italy, and Giulio’s branch of the family are descendants of my grandmother’s sister Francesca Grilli, my father’s Zia Francesca!

Antonia Angelisanti and Giancinto Grilli

Annuniziata’s parents, the common ancestors of Giulio and me, were Giancinto Grilli and Antonia Angelisanti.  (Another angel!) The Grillis lived in a little house at Ponte Gattone in Piglio, and it’s where Giulio’s great-grandmother, Francesca, remained for her whole life.  Giancinto was said to be a tall redhead, certainly unusual for this part of Italy. One of  the neighbors we met told us that he had his own little wine “cantina” where the local wine, Cesanese, was sold.

Fast forward to 2011, here are Giulio Tirinelli and me, in the midst of planning our workshop!  Looks stressful, doesn’t it?  We are at the National Park in the Simbruini Mountains, surrounded by the beautiful and rugged landscape of Ciociaria.  We hope to inspire our painting guests with the landscape, not to mention the food, wine, and warm people whom they will meet there in the next two weeks!

Hello world! Come Discover Ciociaria, Italy with us!

22 Jun
The view at La Mora Valea

Giulio, Tirinelli, partner in Discover Ciociaria

What started as a search for the origins of my grandfather,  Giovanni Osenni (or Marconi, or Orsini), in the hill towns of the region of Ciociaria, 50 miles southeast of Rome, has led to the creation of a painting workshop…and so much more.  Instead of finding a birth certificate or any record in Italy (so far)for the elusive Giovanni…I found something much better…a whole branch of my grandmother’s family, all descendants of a tall, red haired gent named Giancinto Grilli, and his petite wife, Antonia Angelisanti (angels and saints!   Better yet, I’ve found a great friendship…with second-cousin-once-removed Giulio Tirinelli, PhD candidate, MusicArt Therapist, drummer, Italian coach, Excel spreadsheet master and now, business partner in Discover Ciociaria, the name for our landscape painting workshop.   My husband Michael and I fly across the sea tomorrow to begin our Italian adventure.  You are invited to join us in spirit, right here, as we Discover Ciociaria for the next two weeks, with friends from the U.S., our son Jon from Berlin, Giulio, Cinzia, Fabio, Rita, Giannetto, Stefania and artists from Italy and America!