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Re: Trip to Calabria

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  • Michael Rolland
    Very exciting that you are able to make this trip. If you take any pictures, would you consider sharing some of them with the group? As far as your language
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 14, 2013
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      Very exciting that you are able to make this trip. If you take any pictures, would you consider sharing some of them with the group?

      As far as your language question, I think you should get a phrasebook and practice a few key phrases in Italian (and also practice understanding the usual responses). You probably won't find a lot of people who speak fluent English. I was there about six years ago (almost to the day), but I speak fluent Italian. My parents and sister, who were with me, do not. They were able to communicate basic needs in most places that provided public services (restaurants, hotels), but nothing beyond that, and since I did most of the talking, it's hard to say how it would be if no one in the group spoke Italian.

      Just as a guess, I would say it would be tough to have in-depth conversations without knowing Italian, but many people will know at least a few words of English. If you can remember a few words of Italian, the two put together should allow you to find your way around, ask for the bathroom, order food, etc. Hotel desk staff will speak at least basic English; just don't expect that everyone everywhere will, or that every restaurant will have English menus. When they do, they will probably be the product of Google translate (at best, laughable; at worst, unusable). If you have to ask someone a question, try asking the kids (college age and below). Many of them will speak English better than the adults will, as English instruction in schools has gotten continually better over the years.

      As a side note, we met an American-born priest at one of the churches in Rende. You did not mention any plans to visit this town, but it's just up the road from MM, and it's the largest town in the hills west of Cosenza (~35k people, compared to about 3k each in MM and MP). I don't remember with 100% certainty which church it was (we ran into him completely by chance), but I believe it was the "Chiesa Madre di Santa Maria Maggiore". I'm not finding it on Google Maps, which is strange since it's the most important church in the town (" Chiesa Madre"  means "Mother Church"). It's clearly visible on Google Maps Street View, but it's not labeled and doesn't show up in the search results. If you put the following address into Google Maps, you will find the approximate location: Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, 45, Rende, CS, Italy.

      The priest we met was born in the Chicago area and finished high school there, but his parents were from Calabria, and he decided to go to seminary in Italy after he finished high school. If he's still there, you might be able to connect with him; I bet he could be a very useful resource. I would be willing to try to track him down, and I can do some more digging if that's something you're interested in. The problem is, it might take some time, and your trip is not far away.

      I hope his helps. Let me know if you'd like me to try to get in touch with this priest or if I can provide any more information.

      Buon viaggio!

      - Michael Rolland
      (262) 412-0194
    • Michael Rolland
      Sorry, I only partially answered your question, as I didn t address the issue of English in Cosenza proper. We didn t spend a lot of time in Cosenza itself,
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 14, 2013
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        Sorry, I only partially answered your question, as I didn't address the issue of English in Cosenza proper. We didn't spend a lot of time in Cosenza itself, but you might fare a bit better there than you would in the small towns. All of the above applies; try to pick out younger people if you need to ask for directions, etc.

        Good luck!

        - Michael Rolland
        (262) 412-0194
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