Friday, September 27, 2019

Walking in the Footsteps of Italian Ancestors: Return to Potenza

Perhaps you noticed that I was offline for about a month. It was for good reason. I was on vacation! 

Unfortunately, Family Sleuther was on hiatus during this time. 

Although I wasn't blogging family history, I was certainly living it.

In 2015, I traveled for the first time to Potenza, Italy - the ancestral home town of my second great-grandparents Giuseppe and Maria (La Rocca) Ruoti and generations before them. Unfortunately, during that trip, I only had a few quick hours to visit due to tight train schedules. I vowed that I would return and spend the night to get a better sense for the town.

Potenza street scene. Photo by author.

I took a train south from Rome to Salerno, and then a bus through hills that grew to mountains before arriving in Potenza. The old town is perched atop a large hill and is surrounded by beautiful valleys and hills (so reminiscent of Colorado, where the Ruotis settled after they immigrated to the United States).

To help document the visit, I made a short film. Roll the footage!


  1. It must have been such a lovely trip. The video is wonderful. Did they know each other from Potenza or did they meet in Denver?

    1. I don't know if they did know each other or not. Maria immigrated later than Giuseppe. Perhaps their families knew each other?

  2. Great video! Terrific way to document both your trip and your ancestors. Why did they leave that beautiful town for America?

    1. It's my understanding that many Italian emigrants left because of economic hardship. The government under-funded/ under-invested in the south and so many folks ended up seeking new opportunities overseas.