Episode #071: Uncovering family history in Northern Italy

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Listen to “Trip Report: Finding family in the Prosecco Hills” on Spreaker.


Exploring parts of Northern Italy, in the home of Prosecco and how a family history connected to it, lead to a diversion from the usual Italian itinerary and onto an unexpected journey of discovery!

Show notes
We talk to Keith and Celeste Dickey from Oregon in the United States. Motivated by a desire to learn more about Celeste’s heritage, on their first Italian adventure, they included a trip to the area where her father and grandfather were born, in the stunning Prosecco region into their itinerary. We learn the power of people and connections in Italy and hear how even in just a couple of days, some magical and life-changing discoveries can be made.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  1. There can be some interesting likenesses unearthed when you visit somewhere that your family originated. As Celeste and Keith found, from the architecture of the houses Celeste’s ancestors built, to the neat way in which they piled their logs
  2. On a personal level Celeste discovered that she had been named after her grandfather siblings and in an even more magical twist of fate, when they visited the local church, they found a huge rosebush in the grounds named ‘Celeste Rose’
  3. The food in the north of Italy has a lot of creamy and meaty dishes – and also includes what some would consider Austrian dishes too
  4. Treviso is knowns for its cycling and for its wine – so why not combine both? You can follow cycling wine routes in this area
  5. The regional differences in the 20 regions and even within each of the regions is so different, that as their Rome tour guide told Celeste and Keith, the only thing all Italians will agree on is the national soccer team
  6. When you’re headed to the smaller towns and villages, like in this area nearing the Dolomites, then you’re going to find you need a car
  7. One of the hardest thing about driving in Italy can be figuring out the system for tolls on highways (quick tip – they will not take American Express or Diners Club – make sure you have Visa or Mastercard)

About our guest – Keith and Celeste (Rossetto) Dickey

Keith and Celeste (Rossetto) Dickey live in Springfield, Oregon. They are both retired (Celeste from a career in Education and Keith in Business). They enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren. They also love to travel.  Celeste grew up in Dunsmuir, a small mountain town near Mt. Shasta in northern California. In the early 1900s, it was a destination for Italian immigrants because of the jobs in timber and the railroad. Her grandparents and extended family made their home there.

Celeste had some knowledge of her family’s history, however, it was limited due to the early deaths of her grandparents and father. Celeste researched family history and learned they were from the Cavaso del Tomba area. However, there were still many questions about her father’s side of the family. They traveled to Italy in May 2019, and are planning to return in 2022.

Keith & Celeste would love to hear from anyone who’s had a similar experience, tracing family roots in Italy and in particular in that local area around Cavaso. You can reach them by email at dckyfam@gmail.com


Food & Wine

  • Prossecco – the famous and wonderful sparkling wine is named after the region it’s from – the Prosecco Hills
  • Biscotti – a childhood favorite long almond cookie which comes in lots of different variations and is differently named around Italy

Places mentioned in the show

  • Cavaso Del Tomba – area in the province of Treviso, Veneto, north-eastern Italy
  • Castelcies – small village in Cavaso Del Tomba
  • Hotel Canova – Set in the quiet countryside around Cavaso Del Tomba
  • Locanda Alla Posta – charming restaurant in Cavaso del Tomba
  • Flavio’s Restaurant Bocca Della Serra – restaurant with local specialities in Cavaso del Tomba
  • Asolo Golf Club – golf club in Cavaso del Tomba
  • St Martino Church  – church in Castelcies, Treviso
  • Cycling area of Chiesa di San Martino di Castelcies – a big cycling area and there are a lot of articles online.  This one shows how the region is located in the foothills of the Dolomites.
  • Mount Grappa – a mountain in the Dolomites
  • Bassano del Grappa – city in Veneto region. Known for its wooden, 13th-century Ponte Vecchio bridge spanning the River Brenta
  • Prosecco Hills – a UNESCO world heritage site between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the province of Treviso
  • Mestre – train station just outside of Venice

Resources from Untold Italy

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