Getting Personal: Lee's Italian Roots and Heritage
Lee DeMilo, the fifth of Antonio and Maria Rubbo's eleven children, was born and raised in San Lorenzello, a rural southern Italian town in the Province of Benevento, in the Region Campania.
This small "paese" (little town) that sits at the foothills of Monterbano and stretches along the banks of the River Titerno over the hills of vineyards and olive groves, is also home to poets, artists, ceramisti (potters) and craftsmen. It is renowned for its crunchy "taralli" (pretzels), homemade wine, its flavorful, tasty, gourmet-type cuisine and the annual "Mercantico" (antique market).
Although Lee has lived in the United States most of her adult life, she has always shared her love between the two cultures for her soul has never left her roots and her heart has never forgotten the precious memories of her childhood.
Le mie Radici. My Roots. San Lorenzello (BN)
Lee often speaks of her birthplace with nostalgia:
(Click the audio button to listen to the Italian version of the text written below)
"As I look back in time", she recalls, "it feels as if I can still smell the aroma of cooked meals flowing from the balconies into the old, narrow, stone-paved streets at lunch time, or afternoon espresso. I can still hear the vendors at the corner of my street shouting to attract crowds around their trucks filled with fresh produce and the fish caught that day.
As I walk by the secular churches, historic buildings and fountains leading to "il Viale della Rimembranza" (Memory Lane), I long for the tranquility of the peaceful sunset as the villagers gather for a paced walk and the reminiscence of their daily lives.
I feel fortunate to have lived such moments now so dear to me!"
Some of the images of my birthplace shown in this video have been kindly provided by my beloved childhood friends Anna Maria R., Giuseppina e Reziero L.