30 Days on the Road in Italy…Day 19: Lenola

Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.

Lenola ItalyI can assure you that Lenola is on very few itineraries for Italy travelers.  But many of us in the Italian diaspora long to see our family village if we haven’t completely lost touch with our roots.  It’s the point of departure for nonno or nonna before they left to follow a dream in America or elsewhere.  It’s also the place they left their hearts behind, and when we go back we still find people who remember them.  That’s what Lenola is to us.

Grandpa Onorato left Lenola behind when he departed from Naples in 1909, eventually working in Pennsylvania and then in the marble mines of Colorado.  He was there when they extracted the white marble that became the Lincoln Memorial.  As he lived out his years in America, the people and the town of Lenola moved on.  We get to see the continuing story when we visit, which is nearly every year.

Lenola at Pranzo timeWe leave Tuscany very early because we don’t want to be late for the 1pm lunch hour in Lenola.  Because it’s Sunday, we’ll get to see everyone.  It’s a four hour journey, and nearly the entire trip is on the A1, which conveniently goes the direction we need to travel.  We bypass Rome, heading south and we leave the superstrada at the Ceprano exit in Latina. From here, it’s one winding mountain road after another until we reach our destination.  We are just in time and hungry for some great authentic Lazio cuisine!

Lenola Italy archwayPranzo (lunch) is a wild mix of Italian, English and the local dialect, all happening at once. Several generations are gathered at the table, including long time Lenola natives and close family who still live in New Jersey. As is the custom, they start with some traditional pasta with tomato sauce.  But don’t eat too much, as there is much more to come in the way of grilled meats, vegetable dishes and locally made bread…not to mention the local wines, liqueurs and grappas and the home made torta for dessert.

It would seem that we couldn’t move after a long drive and a meal like this, but we are anxious to get out and walk the village, as we always do.  We’ve been enchanted with the images we see on Lenola Daily Photo, and are amazed that this little village can be portrayed as an object of modern photographic art.

Santuario Maria Santissima del ColleWe find ourselves at the “church on the hill” known also as Santuario Maria Santissimi del Colle.  By the church, there is a sad memorial to the Lenolese who died after an American bomb hit a Sunday morning church service in January of 1944, killing many of the congregation. Leading down from the church, into the village, is the Walk of Peace, which includes beautiful mosaics from all over the world.

As darkness comes, we spend some time strolling through the winding streets of the village, looking at the ancient houses, many of which have been converted into comfortable apartments.  There is a section of town that dates back to the eleventh century, behind a fortified wall.  Today we walk freely between both sections.

Lenola ItalyAfter a bit, we find ourselves at the “church in the town”, Lenola’s other church.  It was recently remodeled, and features a modernist altar that is all the discussion of the town. Outside, great aunt Assunta asks if we are staying for Mass, which is just being announced by the tolling of the bells.  We stay through the service and afterward have a small dinner before we retire for the evening–in the very same room where Onorato was born in the 1880’s.

Tomorrow:  Castel Gandolfo

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7 Responses to 30 Days on the Road in Italy…Day 19: Lenola

  1. vincenzo guglietta says:

    I was born in Lenola and now live in NJ. Nice of you to post this story, it is a beautiful town with great people.

  2. David J Domenichini MD says:

    Interesting to see how far some people in Lenola moved into the US, glad you got to see this interesting town which such a rich heritage which has been exported to many parts of the world. I spent many summers there all unforgettable! Hope you get to back soon!

  3. lauriebeth91 says:

    This is such a lovely article! I’m actually setting a short story for my creative writing course in Lenola, because it intrigues me. Can you give me any ideas about what sort of trades are here and how people make their money? I want my character to be an authentic citizen in every way I can 🙂
    Thanks, Laurie

  4. manfredo says:

    My Grandmother and mother were from Lenola, I live in England but visit this small town every year. There are very few shops, a supermarket, a couple of hotels and a hand full of restaurants. every one knows everyone, My grandparents died years ago but if you mention their names everyone knew them, This little town is surrounded by mountains and there are many old houses scattered around all abandoned as the old folk have died and the younger generation have gone abroad, from La Madonna del Colle situated at the very top of the town you can see Fondi and the mediterraneo sea.

  5. Rossano Cammisola says:

    Hi all , Lenola these days is in a very up and coming area as people like to move there for the fresh Marine Air that passes through the mountains at 425m above sea level , its a small village of 8- 5000 people surprisingly its really busy in the summer and quiet in winter . Its a great tourist location as its not far from the beaches by car 20 min and offers more than some other towns further in land . Lenola is surrounded by bueatiful mountains , you can travel up to a Resturant near top of Mont Chiavino and get a fantastic view you need a good car to see all the surrounding countryside some small roads are just farmers dirt tracks . My relations have farms in the area but also have to find work where possible , they say we have Sun , Sea , Air , but cant eat the Rocks to pay the bills . Its a nice village for tourists or retired people work is hard to find .
    I love the Sea Breeze at night and the fantastic Panarama views and the countless stars in the skygreat for Astronomy night views . My Father emigrated in 1959 to GB and we go back to Lenola when possible every year to Valle Bernardo to see the Good, the Bad and the Ugly family relations . The Cammisola Familys used to occupy a quarter of the mountain side many years ago , times have changed , There are many sports cars ironicaly in the area but in bad weather or due to accidents the Tractor is king of the road in the mountains as its able to tow cars out of trouble , When driving in Italy you need 6 eyes they are so fast and cheeky compared to Driving in London gets worse when you drive to local big towns
    . In Medival times there were bandits in the area people always dream of finding buried treasure but have never found it yet , on occassions rusty damaged German Helmets from world war 2 found on mountain tops instead,
    Ciao Ciao Rossano from london

  6. Joseph Ford says:

    Zachary Quinto, the American film star perhaps best known for his portrayal of the young Mr. Spock in the 2009 *Star Trek* prequel, has ancestral roots in Lenola. His paternal grandfather Michele Quinto and Aunt Nora Quinto Griffiths were both born there.


  7. louise dubay says:

    hello,my father was born in lenola,,he was a speranza. his mother was a quinto.
    i find this so very interesting.

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