Blog #7 – Wednesday 5 July 2017
Although we left there on Sunday, it’s great to reflect on the busy and exciting time we had in Castelfranco.
I recorded two interviews with people who lived on market gardens on Valetta Road, Kidman Park. One interview was with Irene Zampin and the other, with Remo Berno and Diana Berno. It was different to set up interviews in Italy and think about the kinds of questions to capture the memories of the interviewees growing up on the market gardens and their family connections to the Veneto community on Frogmore, Grange, Findon and Valetta Roads.
Irene was 15 when she returned with her parents to live in Riese. She recalled walking to school at St Joseph’s in Captain Cook Avenue at Flinders Park and visits from her uncle Silvano and Auntie Millie and their big family and other people community who lived close by their home on the corner of Valetta and Findon Roads. She spent a year or so learning Italian in Riese – in a primary school class and with a private tutor. Irene reflected on the challenges of adjusting to life in Italy.
Remo described living on Valetta Road in the large house with his family and his uncle Alberto and zia Elvira and his cousins Johnny and Marisa. He gave very detailed memories
about the market garden and social events held in the Berno shed, and the numbers of young Italian men who stayed at the farm in the 1950s. Diana added her memories and showed she had a great memory considering she was 10 when her family returned to Riese.
Encounters and meetings
Quirino Bortolato, member of the Trevisani nel Mondo, was our conduit to research and meetings in Riese. Quirino has been to Adelaide three times and says a piece of his heart belongs there! We are so grateful to Quirino for his assistance. He arranged for us to go to the parish archives at Riese and the archivist there will send information on the Berno and Zampin families prior to the emigration of family members in the late 1920s. Quirino organised a meeting with the sindaco, Matteo Guidolin.
Matteo was very interested in the project and agreed to contact the mayors of other areas from where the veneti emigrated in the late 1920s and introduce the project. Matteo will organise a link to the Veneto market gardeners website from the Riese commune website. He may visit Adelaide in 2018 and would be interested to meet descendants from the Riese area. Quirino took Alex and me to see the monument to the emigrants of Riese – a strong acknowledgement of their lives. We also accompanied Quirino to a meeting with Gian Pietro Favaro, former mayor of Riese from 1977 to 1985, A Veneto Councillor and Italian Republic Senator. He was interested in the project because of the people from Riese who emigrated to Adelaide.
Library membership in the Province of Treviso
Alex and I spent time in the libraries at Riese and Castelfranco. I am now a signed up member of the network of libraries in the Province of Treviso! I even have a card! I ordered some archival documents from 1926-1928 and had to become a member to access the dusty brittle records. I’ll need to find more specific categories of documents next time we are in Castelfranco to make more use of my library membership.
Exhilaration at the Venice Biennale
We spent a day at the Biennale – and need four more at least! It was thrilling, inspiring and confronting.
A trip along the Brenta
Another day we drove along the Brenta River and got as close to the Venice lagoon as we could. In the car, instead of a boat trip as we did not like the look of the tour boat! We had a lovely meander looking at villages, one of the Villas, changes in the river and witnessed a spectacular summer storm while we had lunch at Dolo.
Our social life
We attended a jazz concert at Fasol Menin prosecco cantina at Valdobbiadene owned by relatives of the Mattiazzo family. It was a wonderful experience – a well known percussion player, Ray Manzillo, and five supporting musicians. In Castelfranco we found a different bar almost every night to enjoy an Aperol spritz. We do have a favourite bar now!
Now we are in Prato for the Australasian Centre of Italian Studies conference. More of that next blog…