Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being named “Casale” in Italy

18 January 2009
by Joe Casale

Being named “Casale” in Italy is interesting. First of all, Casale in Italy is about as common as “Smith” or “Jones” in the United States. There are towns over here named Casale, if you open the phone book there is an entire page of Casales… but that’s not the best part. The best part is I can tell an Italian that my name is Casale and they spell it right the first time every time. And, they never, ever try to use the letter “K” to write my name.

It seems that whenever an Italian finds out that my name is Casale, they want to talk about if I have family in Italy, which, I do, but haven’t met yet. The old Italian family is located in the town of Santi Cosma and Damiano, which is between Roma and Napoli and is very close to Gaeta. Probably no further than 10 km inland from Gaeta. Our inter-cultural relations instructor Guiseppie was fascinated by our quest to go visit my distant relatives. He gave us a map and directions to go find the town. Whenever he had a chance during class or during our excursions out in town he pulled me aside to talk about the best way to track down the old Casale family. Melissa and I haven’t made the effort yet, but I assure you that we will, and we will keep all of you, and Guiseppie posted.

Finally, I don’t know if you heard, but…. The Mafia is from Italy. No kidding, I thought that HBO just made that up. Apparently the largest Mafia family in the Naples area is named Casale. Great, so I got that going for me…. The Casale Mafia is so large that there is a town outside Naples called Casal d’ Principa that is off limits to the military to rent in the area. Now, the official position on this is that the soil is polluted and the water is poisonous in the area, but I have heard speculation that because that area is Mafia run, the Navy doesn’t want sailors living out in that area. It is all very shady. And while we were house hunting we went by the residence that HBO rented in Monte di Procodia to film the episodes of the Sopranos in Italy. Now, I’m not sure if any of the above information is actually true, or it is just speculation by the Italians that I have spoken with… but I can say that it is all very interesting.

So, that’s all I have for on that topic. Melissa and I are taking our first snowboarding trip in Italy tomorrow and we will let you know how it is. Yesterday we took a tour of a vineyard at the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius. The food, wine, and views were amazing. We look forward to taking any of our visitors on a wine tour.

Until next time. Ciao. Joe

1 comment:

  1. Melissa & Joe,
    I'm totally fascinated (mainly envious) of your adventures thus far in Italy. Your family's Mafia connection is both interesting and, I must say, not surprising! ahahaha!!! Every time you mention the food, my mouth waters a little bit:-) You guys have fun on your snowboarding adventure. So, are you really working or just having fun??!! I'm glad you started a blog, keep it coming!