My journey to Colleferro is unique, but far more common than you may think.
My passion for discovering my Italian heritage began when I was a child, after listening to tales that my grandfather, Louis Manciocchi, told me about Italy and his father’s journey to America. His father, Umberto Manciocchi, was an economic migrant that left Italy in the early-1900s to discover new opportunities in New York.
Unlike today, his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean was a rather long and difficult one that took weeks. However, once he arrived, he diligently sought new opportunities to grow his income and network, while always remembering where he came from.
As I grew older, I had the opportunity to travel more during university and the early years of my career.
I was amazed when I visited Italy for the first time as an adult because it felt like both a homecoming and an opportunity to walk in the shoes of my forefathers. However, my first visit to Italy was not to Colleferro.
Rather, like many tourists, my first Italian experience began in Venice and Milan. I did many of the typical tourist things during these visits, while observing and admiring the rich history of the architecture, cuisine and Italian people.
However, I still sought a more personal connection to my roots.
Trip to Italy ... Capri ..
It was not until the advent of social media and, specifically, Facebook that I was able to connect more with Manciocchi del Mondo. Approximately eight years ago, I began regularly searching for people on Facebook with the surname ‘Manciocchi’ and started writing messages to them. The majority of the people that responded to me were found living in Colleferro and Velletri.
Soon, I started regularly corresponding with one particular family in Colleferro: my cousin, Alessandro ‘Sandro’ Manciocchi and his wife, Alessandra. We are approximately the same age and have similar interests.
Then, one day, Alessandra informed me that her close friend in Colleferro, Emanuele Girolami, would be visiting the city that I live in San Francisco, California. She asked me to meet him and his family in San Francisco to show them around. We had a wonderful day touring different sites throughout the city. I tried my best to help give them an authentic experience in San Francisco.
Then, in 2022, I had the pleasure of returning to Italy to visit Rome and Colleferro. My cousin, Sandro, and his family welcomed my family and I with open arms. He took us all around Lazio, so we could have a more authentic Italian experience.
I have very fond memories of touring Rome and Lazio with him and my other cousin, Simone Manciocchi. We ate authentic fresh-prepared carbonarra, viewed historic sites that were off the beaten path, had a great family dinner in the hills of Segni, and enjoyed digestivi until late in the evening at Sandro’s home in Colleferro.
The experience that my family and I had in Colleferro is one that I will never forget. After spending time with my cousins, Emanuele, and other Colleferro residents, I feel a special connection to this comune.
Although 10,000 kilometers and an ocean may separate me from my family in Colleferro, I will be sure to visit them again and look forward to the day when the Manciocchis di Colleferro visit me in San Francisco.