The drive across the underside of the arch of the Italian boot was reminiscent of a drive through California's San Joaquin valley - if California was peppered with castles every now and again.
Once we crossed the border into Reggio Cosenza, the drive radically changed - we now were on narrow, one lane, switchbacks through a very rural landscape. Up and down steep hills, twisting between vineyards, Blood orange orchards, and fig trees. Other than the occasional intense sudden fear when some Italian came barreling down at us at 120kph it was a fantastic drive.
This was approaching Acri from the opposite direction that I did the last time I came in 1994 with my father - and this time we went through a series of small villages whose names I recognized from reading the civil records of Acri - birthplaces of spouses of people marrying into the Alessio clan. Places with names like "San Giorgio Albanese" and "Finnochio".
|Michelangelo and Isabella in front of the Church that their Great Grandfather Angelo Salvatore Alessio was baptized in|
one I took with my dad back in 1994