My visit to Valledolmo, Sicily
Ciao! I have always been fascinated by my family’s ancestry, particularly the roots that extend into the heart of Sicily. According to 23andMe, my DNA carries the unmistakable imprint of Sicilian heritage, a fact further substantiated by my cousin CJ’s meticulous research.
My maternal grandfather’s great grandfather may have been named Antonio La Duca and he came from a place called Valledolmo, a quaint town nestled amidst Sicily’s rolling hills, about 45 minutes southeast of Palermo. Wikitree also shows a vast network of La Ducas hailing from Valledolmo.
After reading Dave Vacanti’s post about visiting Valledolmo, I was excited to email the local government officials to let them know I was coming.
I got a response immediately from Dottoressa Rossella Anna Battaglia, the Vicepresidente del consiglio of Valledolmo, letting me know that she would not me in town that day, but that the town administrator, Mr. Orazio Pizzolanti, would be there to greet me.
I was instructed to visit the Municipo, aka the town hall, which was a bit challenging to navigate to with the tight, winding streets and hills in the town.
Upon our arrival, the Mr. Pizzolanti and his staff extended a warm welcome to my wife and I, offering a plate of snacks along with a refreshing local cocktail infused with fruit juice.
We spent some time chatting about various topics, ranging from life in the US to renewable energy to the White Lotus effect. Despite my attempts to communicate in Italian, my language skills faltered occasionally, leading to a few amusing mix-ups, such as confusing the words “cook” and “coconut.”
Following our meeting with the local officials, we eagerly sought out the custodians of the town’s ancestral records. However, our timing was unfortunate; we arrived just as they were preparing to close their doors for the daily riposo, a rejuvenating 2-3 hour interlude where shops and restaurants close up shop, allowing the townsfolk to pause and catch their breath.
We took this opporunity to walk around and visit a few of the churches in the town.
One thing that stood out to me was the amazing ceramics (shoutout to Ceramiche Zammito) around the town, including these signs that have inspirational quotes on them.
Check out the exquisitely detailed ceramic risers on the steps leading up to one of the churches:
I forgot to mention that we were given a nice bottle of local spumante as a parting gift.
I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to visit Valledolmo and meet with the locals. I wish we had more time, and I definitely plan to visit again next time I’m in Sicily. Many thanks for Dott.ssa Battaglia and Mr. Pizzolanti for showing us around and making us feel welcome here.
Link to the full album here.