Christmas traditions and the end of the year

Christmas traditions

In Italy the nativity crib is called a presepe.  It is a three-dimensional scene of the stable with figurines that include Mary, Joseph, shepherds, people from everyday life and the three wise men. The size of the nativity scene can vary and may include buildings and features that display an entire village and rural landscape.

The presepi are usually displayed in Italian homes and churches from 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, to 6th January, the feast of the Epiphany. Presepi are also displayed in piazzas, shops and other public areas. The figures can vary in scale from miniature to life size and in many families, preparations for the presepe begin a long time before it is displayed. In some villages, the local council holds competitions for the best presentation of a presepe.

Presepe created by Irene Zampin, Caselle di Altivole, December 2022. Photo by Irene Zampin.

Irene Zampin who lives in Caselle di Altivole creates her own presepe each year and spends a lot of time planning and organising the scene for the nativity story. She sent photos to show this year’s model which she began working on in October/November. It is made of pieces of cardboard cut from boxes. The bushes and palm trees are made of felt and she bought the figures.  Irene cut the polystyrene balls in half and sprayed them with gold paint. It took Irene about a week to put the presepe together. She says: “I enjoy doing these things and they give me lots of satisfaction.”


You can watch the short video below (about 1.5 minutes) made by Irene that shows the presepe she created this year. You will be able to appreciate the intricate details of the scenes that she has designed for the presepe which is in her house.

Christmas tree made by volunteers in the municipality of Altivole. Photo by Irene Zampin.



Irene has also been involved with a volunteer group in her local area who made Christmas trees from crocheted squares. The group of women was organised by the Mayor of the Altivole municipality who is a woman.  The group made three trees – one each for the villages of Caselle, Altivole and San Vito in the municipality.  The Christmas trees are 280 cm high and each one has around 300 crocheted squares.  They have been placed near the churches.





Vivian Miotto has also sent photos of presepi near where she lives at San Pietro di Feletto in the province of Treviso about 60 kilometres north of Venice.

Presepe at Segusino. Photo by Vivian Miotto.
Presepe at Cison di Valmarino. Photo by Vivian Miotto.

Looking back on 2022
In this the final blog for 2022, it’s an opportunity to look back on the year …

I’d like to acknowledge two people who were interviewed for the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project and who died during this year:

  • Lina Rismondo nee Marchioro died on 15th January 2022, aged 94 years
  • Lino Tonellato who died on 4 September aged 95 years.

The website
I’d like to thank Michael Campbell and for all the work he undertakes in his role as administrator of the website which involves daily security checks. Michael has designed the website and he maintains it to ensure that it continues to be accessible and available to a wide group of subscribers.

Thank you to the following people who wrote blogs for the website this year:

  • Irene Zampin, 3 and 17 April
  • Rosa Parletta nee Balestrin, 8 May
  • Aida Innocente, 22 May
  • Raoul Pietrobon, 25 September
  • Remo Berno, 9 October
  • Anna Mechis nee Rebellato, 23 October
  • Anna Baronian nee Carniello, 20 November.

I am also grateful to Amanda Rossetto and Raoul Pietrobon who contributed to the Veneto market gardener families and friends gathering on 22 October. Their presentations provided those of us who were there with new insights into Veneto families and their experience of migration to Adelaide in the 1920s and the generations who followed them.

Finally, I wish you all a happy festive season and I hope you enjoy Christmas and New Year celebrations with family and friends. With all good wishes for 2023.

Madeleine Regan
18 December 2022


Three generations of interviewees

In my research I’ve studied three generations of the families who were part of the close Veneto community who established market gardens in the years between the wars in the area we now know as Kidman Park and Flinders Park. At that time the families called it Lockleys.

The first generation were the people who emigrated from the Veneto region in the 1920s and 1930s and established market gardens at Lockleys after their first years of struggling to find work in the Depression years. The women who were married and arrived in Adelaide later were also members of the first generation. The children who migrated with their mothers are called the 1.5 generation – neither first generation or second generation. The second-generation people were born in Australia. The majority of people interviewed for the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project are second generation.

In this blog I focus on four interviewees who represent three generations. All the interviews are held as permanent records in the State Library of South Australia and are also available on this website under the Pioneer Family list – Marchioro, Vittorio.

Two voices of the first generation
The first generation is represented by Vittorio Marchioro and Angelina Marchioro. Vittorio, from Malo in the province of Vicenza, arrived in Adelaide in 1927, the same year that several other of the Veneto market gardeners migrated. At that time he was 21 years old and after some time of struggling to find work, he worked on a market garden on Frogmore Road with his brother and sister-in-law, Francesco and Margherita Marchioro. After being in Australia for ten years, he wrote to his sister in Malo and asked her to recommend a young woman that might be interested in marrying and migrating to Adelaide. Angelina Marchioro from Monte di Malo (no relation to Vittorio) accepted the invitation and the couple were married by proxy in August 1938. Angelina was 20 years old when she arrived at Port Adelaide in January 1938. She remembered that she went to work in the market garden only a few days after arriving.

Angelina’s Italian passport, 1937. National Archives of Australia: A435, 1946/4/6303.
Marchioro family – Angelina and Vittorio, Romano and Johnny, Frogmore Road            c 1947. Photo, Lina Marchioro.


I was excited to discover the interviews with Vittorio and Angelina in the State Library about four years ago. They had recorded their stories in 1984 for a project about migrant people in South Australia. In the interviews Vittorio and Angelina reflect on their history and life in Italy and their experience in Adelaide and working together on the market gardens first on Frogmore Road and then on White Avenue Lockleys.



A 1.5 generation representative
Johnny Tormena was born on 29 November 1927 in the village of Bigolino in the province of Treviso and grew up in the first years of Mussolini’s reign. His mother’s family were actively anti-Fascist and eight of nine siblings migrated to Australia between the wars. In 1940 when he was 12 years Johnny arrived in Adelaide with his parents and sisters in 1940 a few months before Italy joined Germany in the Second World War.

Tormena family. Back: Johnny and Maria Rosa Front: Severina and Galliano. Adelaide, mid 1940s. Photo supplied by Maria Rosa.

In his interview Johnny recalls life as a school boy and the influence of Mussolini in daily life and contrasts it with his experience of going to school in Adelaide and his coming of age as a young working man. Johnny was interviewed ten years ago. You can find his interviews on the Rossetto family page under the Pioneer Families list on this website.

A second-generation daughter
Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto was born on 8th December 1932 in Adelaide, the daughter of Gelindo Rossetto and Adelina (Lina) Bordin. Gelindo had arrived in 1927 from the village of Bigolino and Lina had been born in Biadene. He  married Lina by proxy in 1930. Lina migrated in 1931 and settled in the Lockleys area with Gelindo working a family market garden.

Rossetto family, Adelaide, c 1937. Lina and Gelindo, Aldo, Romeo, Lena.


In her interviews recorded in 2014, Lena speaks about her parents, her family life and growing up in the west end of Adelaide, memories of the Veneto market gardeners and the interactions with the wide group of Rossetto relatives. You can locate the interviews with Lena on the Rossetto family page under the Pioneer Families list.



The collection of interviews
The collection of interviews for the Veneto market gardeners’ oral history project has continued to grow – (OH 872 series in the State Library of SA). At present there are more than 60 interviews which record the history of the Veneto market gardener community at Lockleys, a number that were recorded with people connected to the market gardens and several interviews with people in the Veneto region.

It’s really fortunate that the voices of Vittorio Marchioro and Angelina Marchioro, the only representatives of the first generation were interviewed 38 years ago and have been preserved for the future. It is wonderful that so many other people – 10 people in the 1.5 generation – and more than 30 second generation family members have recorded their memories of growing up on the market gardens. Through their interviews we learn about the life of the Veneto market gardeners, the experience of migrant families and the close-knit community that they developed in the inter-war years – and that continues today through the generations and networks of families and paesani.

Madeleine Regan
4 December 2022

PS –  First cousins , Johnny Tormena and Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto, celebrated significant birthdays recently. Johnny turned 95 on 29 November and Lena enjoyed a party in November to celebrate her 90 years!

Johnny Tormena, Adelaide, November 2022. Photo, Madeleine Regan.
Lena Moscheni nee Rossetto with her granddaughter, Jenna. Adelaide, November 2022. Photo supplied by Amanda Rossetto.

Maintaining family ties in the Veneto

Over the past few months, we’ve been fortunate that a number of guest bloggers have contributed to the website. This time, Anna Baronian nee Carniello, writes about the continuing connections with her relatives who came from Caselle di Altivole.

My husband and I have recently returned from a trip to Italy and I would like to share with you some reflections about my family connections in the Veneto region where my father came from.

View near Caselle di Altivole.

My parents were Giovanni and Luisa Carniello and we lived at 63 Garden Tce, Lockleys. Dad was from Caselle d’Altivole and he migrated to Australia in 1952 together with his cousins, Primo and Secondo Carniello.

After mum and dad met and married, they had boarders from the Veneto region for several years in the early 1960s. They were Elio Bin, who later became my godfather, Tarcisio Carniello, (Baffo) who was my uncle, Germano whose surname I can’t recall, and Bruno Fantinelli, who later returned to Italy and opened an osteria in the Veneto.

In 1970 we left Adelaide to go and live with my grandparents Attilio and Maria Carniello in Caselle. Their sopranome or nickname was Bortolon and they lived at number 1 Via Capitello della Fiera, in a two storey farmhouse.

They were typical contadini with their campi, (fields), the stalla, (barn) the donkey, 2 cows, chickens, turkeys and the pig which would be fattened to make the mussetto, (a kind of sausage made from pork) salami and salsiccie or sausages. My nonno Attilio didn’t drive a car because everything was witin walking distance. But he would use his cart and donkey for errands such as collecting the feed for the animals and I would get to ride along with him which was such a special treat. Using the cow’s unpasteurised milk, nonna Maria would make butter. She would pour the milk into a pottery shaped bottle and churn it for several days. We would then smear the fresh creamy butter onto crusty bread, sprinkle it with sugar and gobble it up.

I was 9 years old at the time but my first sister and I didn’t go to school as the Italian school year didn’t align with the one in Australia. However, my youngest sister who was four years old, attended the local kindy which was managed by the nuns. So our days were carefree and I have fond memories of picking hazelnuts and cherries and playing with my 2 sisters in the water channel which was used to irrigate the campi. Going to the local bottega (shop) which was just in front of my grandparent’s house to buy lollies was a treat, but only if we managed to coax 100 lire out of my nonno. I also remember riding my nonna’s bike down the unsealed road past all the wild red poppies which bloomed in the campi. I actually learnt to ride a bike in their front yard. This was the first time meeting my grandparents and after 10 months, we returned to Australia to resettle.

Other relatives in the Veneto were my aunt and uncle, Bertilla and Egidio Antonini or ‘Egidio Mondo’ which was his nickname, and my cousins, Gabriella, Adriana and Jonny. They lived at 318 Findon Rd Kidman Park before their family returned to Italy in 1966, settling in Riese Pio X then later moving to Caselle. On the land where their house and family business once stood in Riese, there is now a supermarket and other retail shops.

Carniello house, Caselle di Altivole, 1985.

It wasn’t until 1985 that I saw them all again. In that year I was there for 5 months studying and travelling so during this time, I was able to build relationships with my extended family as an adult.

On our recent trip my husband and I spent a week visiting my cousins who now live in Moriago della Battaglia which is about 22km NE of Caselle. I understand that the town has this name because of a battle which took place there in WW1 along the Piave River.

When we were picked up at Cornuda train station by my cousins, it was as if I saw them all the time when in fact, I had last seen them in 2014. We had lots to catch up on. A bonus was that my husband who has been learning Italian for the past 3 years was able to get involved in our conversations and he was even able to talk about politics and current affairs with them. Given that they were about to vote for a new government, this was a good skill to have because the Italians talk politics all the time.

Giuliano Berdusco, Adriana Antonini, Gabriella Antonini, Anna Baronian nee Carniello, Irene Zampin, Caselle di Altivole, September 2022.

I used this occasion to meet my godmother Irene Zampin (who is the sister of Terry Mazzarolo who lives in Adelaide) and her husband Giuliano who live in Caselle. I came to know about Terry and her sister Irene, thanks to my godfather Elio Bin whose family is from San Vito. The last time she saw me, I was a baby! This was a special gathering and we shared laughter, stories and a lovely meal together which my cousin had prepared. We even got to try Giuliano’s must which I learnt is a young wine made from freshly pressed grapes and seeds. In fact, the must was still fermenting in the bottle so during our meal, the top kept popping off.

In addition to this, we were lucky to be in Moriago for my cousin’s granddaughter’s first birthday. This celebration was another opportunity to share joy and build family connections.

My Zio Egidio died in 2019 but my Zia Bertilla is a resident at the San Gregorio nursing home in Valdobbiadene and during our visit we were able to have lunch together at the nursing home on the terrace. It was emotional saying goodbye to my zia.

The capitello, Caselle di Altivole.

During our week we visited towns such as Asolo, Montebelluna and Valdobbiadene and got to meet friends of my cousins.

We had a day trip to Caselle to revisit experiences like walking along Via della Fiera past my grandparents’ home, past the campi and up to the capitello.

Anna’s grandparents’ house, Caselle di Altivole.

Lots of development has occurred along this road including the installation of solar panels on houses but the water channel along the side of the road is still there. We also visited the church and the cemetery.

The channel alongside the road, Caselle di Altivole.

Being able to spend time with my cousins and their families bonded us further and in addition to this, a new relationship was established between them and my husband. We had so many wonderful chats, laughs and moments of reminiscing and through this, we were able to learn about each other’s lives in more intimate detail.

Thanks to technology, our ties will continue to strengthen and we will be able to stay connected in real time.


Anna Baronian nee Carniello. Photos provided by Anna.
20 November, 2022.

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