An email was dispatched in which she explained about the family trip and how Teramo was her grandfather's birthplace. Much to her delight she received a reply the same day providing more information about the accommodation and with this decided that their stay in Abruzzo had to be at La Grande Quercia.
So with flights booked, a further email was sent to La Grande Quercia to finalise the arrangements. Mary expressed her excitement of going to the region of her roots and possibly finding the town where Nicola was born and spent his childhood, although Nicola's handwritten passport she had was barely legible in parts and she wasn't even sure of the actual town where he was born.
Little did she know that Russ & Sergio, the owner's of "The Big Oak"(as she had fondly come to refer to this bed & breakfast), would take a keen interest in her search for Nicola and they offered to do a little research and asked if they could see a copy of the passport. A copy was hurriedly sent, along with some wonderful photographs, although Mary didn't have high hopes of finding out much more.
Within a few days, "ping" another email from The Big Oak & to Mary's amazement they said that they'd deciphered his passport, which even gave details of his facial features & whether he had a beard or moustache! He was only 16 for goodness sake, but this was the way of passports in 1913. Russ & Sergio confirmed that Tortoreto (Alta) was indeed his birthplace & they would visit the comune (local council offices) where they held all the historical records of residents to see what else they could discover.