Both my grandfathers worked with their hands and their backs. My father's father mainly worked the land while my mother's father worked construction. You may have noticed that I have not described them as a "farmer" and a "contractor". They were most accurately laborers but still they worked proudly.
There is a square in Campobello di Licata called Piazza Tien An Men e Togliatti. It presents several sculptures which celebrate unskilled labor. One is a casting of two great bronze hands and the other bronze is a series of " tools from the job". I didn't understand what I was looking at while I was there and it has only been since researching these Virtual Tourist pages that I have begun to appreciate how appropriate these memorials are for my ancestors home.
A side note to this is seems to be the linguistic oddity associated with the name of the square. Piazza Tien An Men seems so phonetically identical to it's more famous namesake in China, Tiananmen Square, that it seems difficult to believe that it is only happenstance.
My visit to Campobello di Licata was in 1994 and while that doesn't seem that long ago in terms of the internet it was ages ago. Research about this little Sicilian town was pretty tough back then and ultimately I decided that I would just have to "wing it". I was looking for the church that would have the birth records for my grandparents. Pulling into town you eventually end up in a very large square, the Piazza XX Settembre. At one end of the square was a very handsome baroque church adorned with the strangest decorations. This was the Mother Church, San Giovanni Battista. If you enlarge the photo you will see the unbelievable electric lights which had been attached in preparation for the annual festival of the town's patron saint, St. John the Baptist. The good news was I had found the right church.
9 Reviews and Opinions
Contrada Mollarella, Licata s.s. 115 - Km.226, Licata, Sicily, 92027, Italy
Good for: Business
I actually went to Campobella De Licata with the goal of finding some family roots and to my amazement did so with some ease. The town is a pretty sleepy place but it still manages to have 5 churches. Not knowing where to start I picked the obvious. The big church on the square in the center of town...San Giovanni Battista.
Despite waking the pastor from his afternoon nap, he agreeably took us up to the rectory office.I didn't speak Italian and he spoke no English but I had equipped myself with a family tree. By manner of pointing and gesturing I was able to indicate my grandfathers who were originally from Campobella De Licata. I knew their birth dates and probable years of birth from various U.S. paperwork. Without much reaction he rotated in his chair to the bookcase behind him containing rows of ledger books measuring about 4 inches wide and 12 inches high (the actual book can be seen in the photo with red binding). In a matter of about 2 or 3 minutes he had found handwritten baptismal records for both grandfathers...one in 1883 and the other in 1885.
I was astonished but the congenial pastor presented the results with a shoulder shrug and smile as if to say. "What else would you expect? I've been waiting for you."