Nervousness, anticipation, happiness and the hope of finding out more, filled Mary's heart and her head. A warm welcome awaited Mary at the offices of the Tortoreto comune and the family were introduced to Giuliano, the man who had been helping Russ & Sergio find out more about Nicola.
As Sergio translated, Mary could hardly contain herself as she was told about Nicola's brothers and sisters, of whom she had no idea existed. A hand written family tree was presented, with one branch ending with Nicola which could now be filled with the generations that followed in America. Giuliano went into the back office and returned clutching some papers. What could these be? Mary took the papers, hand shaking, not believing what was she was being given - an official copy of Nicola's birth record and a copy of the marriage certificate of her great grand parents, Silvestro & Crocetta di Paolo.
Giuliano explained that the church that could be seen across the square was in all likelihood where Nicola was baptised and Silvestro & Crocetta married. Whilst not normally open during the week, Giuliano had contacts and he had arranged to have the church opened specially for Mary. She could not believe it. With tears in her eyes, she hugged Giuliano and thanked him for taking so much trouble. The huge doors of the church swung open to reveal an amazingly restored 17th Century interior, with walls adorned with fantastic paintings. The alter lay ahead, bathed in a ray of sunshine. Mary was speechless and could almost feel the presence of her ancestors past, who had been at this very spot.
Mary pondered as to why Nicola had left this beautiful place, but with little work and the dream of a better life in the America, he and many millions of other Italians left their small towns and villages to start a new life and new generation.