Termini Imerese Stories

Marianne Weber - My Trip to Italy


Both of my parent's families were from Termini Imerese, Sicily. My dad, Joseph Cianciolo, was born in Termini in 1905 and came to the United States with his parents, Giovanni and Paola (Rini), and his siblings Vincenzo, Margherita, and Anna in 1921. His oldest brother, Dominic was already in Michigan.

The ship they came over on was the Canopic of the White Star Line. My Aunt Margherita (who just celebrated her 100th Birthday) said they were second class passengers and therefore allowed to mingle with the first class passengers. They had two cabins, one the men shared, the other cabin housed the women. She said she was sick the whole trip which fortunately took less than a week! They were suppose to land in New York but the ship was diverted to Boston because of a shipboard illness. They were afraid all of the passengers on the ship would be sent back to Italy. There is also a rumor that my grandfather had to payoff an official to let them leave the holding area. My grandfather had a sister, Agostina Cianciolo-Palmisano in the area who sent her daughter to pick them up at the dock.

My father never wanted to return to Sicily. Although he had fond memories of it as a boy, he felt Sicily was his past and that America was now his home. He and his brothers opened a meat market and grocery store on Kercheval and Coplin in Detroit, Michigan. He retired in the late 1960s.

I went to Italy and Sicily when I was in college. I loved it but was unable to return until 1997. I took my two sons with me, Jeremy and Chris Weber. It was exciting for all of us to walk the streets that my father had walked as a boy and a young man. We also visited the local churches and cemetery. My father's family lived on a street called LoBagno. Today, it is much as it was then, except for the cars and motor cycles! There were vendors in the street and the produce from the shops flowed into the narrow streets. The houses are attached, 2 to 3 story structures, some with balconies.

My grandmother, Anna Sansone, said that she was sitting on her aunt's balcony doing her needle work when a young man, Thomas Schiavo who was home from Canada visiting his mother, saw her and wanted to know who she was because he had never seen anyone so beautiful. She was sixteen then. They married when she was eighteen and took the train (its construction had just been completed) to Messina for their honeymoon before coming back to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to live.

We still have some "cousins" in Termini. My great grandfather Domenico Cianciolo married twice. When his first wife Margherita Mascari (my great grandmother) died leaving him with four young children, he married Margherita's sister, Girolama and had three more children. These children still have descendants in Sicily, as well as, Canada and the United States. Like here, they are lawyers, teachers, politicians, and one one still owns a prosperous fishing company that we visited.

Marianne Cianciolo-Weber

Below are 4 pictures Marianne submitted from her visit to Termini Imerese


Marianne with her two sons by road sign outside of Termini Imerese



Cemetery in Termini Imerese



Cemetery in Termini Imerese



View of Termini Imerese from Upper Square



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