Home > biographical, Italia, landscapes > Atena Lucana a little hill town near Salerno

Atena Lucana a little hill town near Salerno

About the painting; “Sitting in the morning sun” This is a 15″ x 22″ watercolor on Arches paper. It is for sale. It is from a photo that I took early in the morning, while on a stroll through this small hill town. It was extremely peaceful, and this woman had probably just finished her morning chores. If you like a little history, you can read about why I was here in the first place below, or you can go here to read about how I actually got there that day.
One of the reasons I’ve gone to Italy as much as I have was that I wanted to understand what it was that my grandparents left, what they gave up. I have four Italian grandparents, each from a different place. Ok, if we’re going to be technical, my grandfather “from” Atena Lucana was born in Manhattan, but his whole family was from Atena, and that’s where he spent some of his formative years.
My grandfather is the boy on the far left of this photo, which was taken about the time that they went back to Italy
My grandfather is the boy on the far left of this photo, which was taken about the time that they went back to Italy, his father stands next to him, and his mother sits beside him.

This particular grandfather, Vincenzo (AKA Jim) Fressola, always resented the fact that instead of growing up to be an all-American guy his parents decided to move back to Italy and take him with them. It was at the most crucial part of his development, when he was a pre-teen. That would have been before 1914, and my very unlucky grandfather ended up fighting in World War I, for the Italian Army. If he had fought for the USA in that war, he would have been a hero with a good pension, and other veteran’s benefits. He always felt cheated because the Italian government never gave him any benefits at all.
As a teenager in Italy, he was probably teased because he was an American, and then of course, discriminated against when he came back to the USA because he was Italian, but America he preferred, and as soon as the war was over, he ended his undistinguished career as a soldier and returned to the USA on the first boat possible (which landed in Boston). On the ship’s passenger list, in a long list of Italian immigrants, his name stands out proudly “US CITIZEN.” He had no good memories of Italy, but he told the rest of us that he had left vast orchards of Olives behind. That was certainly something that seized all of our imaginations. I always wanted to go there to see what exactly it was that he left behind.
So in 2008 I took a bus to Atena (one of my most amazing adventures, you can read about it here), and stayed with a nice lady who lives there, Concetta Mango. It seems that members of her family worked for the Fressola family many years ago. The Fressolas were landowners, not peasants, and I did see their land. I found the town of Atena Lucana to be very picturesque and this painting is a representation of one of the photos I took there. The town is very clean and well cared for. It might have been impoverished 100 years ago, but in 2008 it seemed comfortable and peaceful.

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  1. mike fressola
    April 14th, 2011 at 07:13 | #1

    Dear Mimi,
    What a beautiful watercolor.This scene looks exactly like the entrance to my Grandparents house. I took a picture of us talking to an old couple while we were standing in front of their house looking at the damage that had been done by an earthquake.

    Mike Fressola

  2. Donald
    March 21st, 2011 at 19:22 | #2

    I love your paintings of Italy more than anything else you do. Your love of the country, your understanding of the structure, how you capture the entire feel of the scene just captivates me.

  3. March 19th, 2011 at 07:17 | #3

    What a sweet history you have! Very inviting painting; I just want to pull up a chair and set a spell. Of course it is snowing again here, so it makes your painting look even more inviting.

  4. Tricia
    March 18th, 2011 at 13:31 | #4

    Lovely painting and thanks for the family history!

  5. March 17th, 2011 at 08:07 | #5

    Beautiful watercolour Mimi. Your love for Italy really shows through.

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