We made it!

In my first post I talked about my great grandfather Mansueto Chiaroni and his brother Ambrogio who followed their uncle, also Ambrogio, out to NZ in the late 1870’s.

My blog is inspired by Mansueto and Ambrogio. It’s about being brave. It’s about adventure. And it’s about home and family.

As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to come to Italy. It’s taken me a while but I got here! I always knew I would visit the childhood home of my great grandfather Mansueto Chiaroni. And together with my husband and son, we made it. I think my Grandad Ambrose, Mansueto’s son, would be smiling.


Germasino is a tiny village above Dongo on Lake Como. It is very beautiful, perched up high with stunning views over the lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

The cemetery was our first stop. It was very easy to find, sitting below the main road, and there were lots of Chiaroni’s there! The graves were so beautifully tended to – something we’ve noticed throughout Italy. In a short space of time, on the day we visited, we came across three people.


The word soon spread there were some foreigners looking at Chiaroni graves and we were whisked away to a Chiaroni family home. An English speaker was called upon to translate. We were treated to an amazing tour of the village ending up outside the home my great-grandfather was raised in.

My son Ambrose and I stood on the same steps he had so many years before with his Dad and brother. We’re not the first to visit of course. There’s been a steady stream of visitors over the years, most recently my brother Karl, my cousin Marie-Louise and now us.

Just like the old Chiaroni home, many homes in Germasino are uninhabited and in bad repair. I would love to see them brought back to life so the descendants of those that grew up here could come back and stay.

I would so love to be able to help make that happen.

Thanks so much to the Chiaroni family and Angela Borelli for helping make this such a special day.


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