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Documents for the Family History of Giovanni VALENTE (1887-1969) and Nunziata DiRENZO (1897-1983), spouses of Gambatesa, Italy, and Camden, New Jersey, and their Ancestors back to 1690

Table of Contents

From Italian government Archives

From the Family's Archives

From Our Correspondent in Geneva (Angelo Abiuso)

Historical Background


Lists of the Family's 86 [90] Known Surnames:

The Village Origins of the Family's Surnames

Note: the following three links are all to the same page. In these lists the surnames are linked to transcriptions of the Valente and DiRenzo family's Italian Civil Register records.

The Names in Alphabetical Order

The 42 [43] Names With Lines of Ascent

The 44 [47] Names Without Lines of Ascent

Family Tree Charts:

The Family Tree of Giovanni VALENTE

The Family Tree of Nunziata DiRENZO

Note: the lists of Surnames and the Family Tree Charts lead to the same information in the Italian Civil Register records. (The Valente and DiRenzo family tree charts in the old format still exist.)

Italian Civil Register Records from d'ALESSANDRO to VALENTE:

The records are arranged alphabetically by Family Name, and within families arranged from Oldest to Youngest, for the most part translated into English.

Women are listed under, what in English would be called, their maiden names (Note that an Italian woman kept her father's surname all her life). Marriage records will be found under the surname of the husband. An asterisk (*) in front of a name indicates direct-line of descent.










These records were mostly drawn from microfilm copies of the Stato Civile ("Civil Registration records") from 1809-1910 of Gambatesa (which include copies of related church documents from circa 1750-1808) stored in the Archivo di Stato ("State Archives") of the Province of Campobasso, Italy.

Travel Companion to this Valente and DiRenzo Family History

With a map of central southern Italy showing the places named in this history.

Italian to English Vocabulary

This glossary is intended to help with reading Italian Civil Register records.

List of the Family's Given (or First) Names

There were 39 [42] unique men's names, and 46 [49] unique women's names in the Valente and DiRenzo families combined (Direct lines of descent only). The most common names were for men, Giuseppe (13), Francesco (9) and Domenico (8); and for women, Maria (8), Angela (7) and Vittoria (5).

Gambatesa on the map of Italy, 2 KB
Gambatesa is a village in central southern Italy between Naples and Rome.

Village History Background:

Gambatesa: Fragments of History and of Art by Salvatore Abiuso, with the collaboration of Palmiro Di Maria, an English language translation with photographs and sketch maps. (There are also links to several older photographs of Gambatesa and to several newer photographs of Gambatesa below.)

Gambatesa is a comune (that is, a township or borough or municipality) in the Province of Campobasso, Region of Molise, Italy; a comune is both a village and its agricultural territory, a paese (native land).

Maps showing the location of Gambatesa within Italy, and within the Province of Campobasso as that province has been since 1970 | Road map showing Gambatesa and some neighboring villages | Street map of the village center of Gambatesa based on maps from 1927 and 1939.

[The Gambatesa mine in the Region of Liguria in northern Italy is not the subject of this page.]

• An Italian schoolbook's notes about the village of Gambatesa, circa 1920s, with photographs (Panorama and Traglie). And from the same book: A Description of the Fortore River, with a photograph of the Bridge of the 13 Arches near Gambatesa. (These pages are in both English and Italian.)

Map showing the part of the Diocese of Benevento that includes the parishes of Gambatesa and San Marco dei Cavoti, as well as the parishes of Santa Croce del Sannio ("Santa Croce presso Morcone"), Jelsi and Riccia; from 1951.

Two Civil Registry Seals used in Gambatesa during the 19th Century, the first from the reign of Ferdinando II, King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the second from the reign of Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Italy.

The Sheep Migration Trails of Molise, a summary translation of an Italian Web page that tells the story of Molise's "sheep tracks" (tratturi, sing. tratturo), the wide grassy paths shepherds once used to herd sheep and cattle between the highlands of Abruzzo and the plain of Puglia, ancient paths that shaped the history of the region.

Summary Outline of the History of Molise, showing the years for Spanish rule, Austrian rule, Bourbon rule, and for the "French decade" of Napoleonic rule over southern Italy.

Tufara, its Historical Origins, a summary English translation. Because Tufara is the comune in the Province of Campobasso that lies directly south of Gambatesa, Tufara's earliest history suggests a similar historical origin for Gambatesa.

Tufara was the village of origin of Felicia BOCCAMAZZO who came to Gambatesa in 1833 following her marriage to Bartolomeo CONTENTO; these were ancestors of Giovanni Valente.

[The subject of this page is not the frazione of Tufara in the Province of Benevento or the frazione of Tufara in the Province of Avellino.]

Life of Blessed Giovanni the Eremite of Tufara, 1084-1170, translated from the Italian, with notes about the religious holidays, traditions and holy places of Tufara.

The Capture of Gambatesa by the Canadian Army. In October 1943 the Carleton and York Regiment ended the German Army's occupation of the valley of the upper Fortore River below the village of Gambatesa. Here is an excerpt from G.W.L. Nicholson's The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945, quoted here for its description of the geography of the area.

Roccabascerana, its Early History, and Chestnuts, a summary translation of a brief Italian history of the village of Roccabascerana, Italy, with a brief description of the territory's treatment of the chestnuts that grow there.

Roccabascerana is a comune in the Province of Avellino, in the Region of Campania. Height above sea level of the Casa comunale: 1,368 feet. Population: 3,130 (1961 Census), 2,308 (1999 Census). Diocese: Benevento. In the Civil Register of 1809-1811 Roccabascerana is the Università di Bascerana, Provincia di (Principato) Ulteriore.

Roccabascerana was the village of origin of Filippo PORCARO and his wife Carmina TOSA, the parents of Giovanni PORCARO (1700-1756), ancestors of Nunziata DiRenzo.

Il Molise dalle origini ai nostri giorni ["Molise - From its Origins to Our Own Day"] by Giambattista Masciotta, Volume II (Napoli, 1915), selected chapters: Gildone, Gambatesa, Pietracatella, Tufara, Riccia, Jelsi, and Uno Sguardo generale al Circondario di Campobasso ("Overview of the District of Campobasso", with lists of village patron saints and festival days). The texts are in Italian only.

History Outline - Italy and America

The outline is mostly focused on the Province of Molise, Italy, and the City of Camden, New Jersey, noting family name arrivals in Gambatesa when known.

Italy and Camden History Maps:

These maps are meant to supplement the above Historical Outline, although they might also stand on their own.

The Orbis Terrarum of Rome: "the Whole World", based on the ancient Greek representation of the earth as a disk floating in a sea.

Map of the Roman Republic and Southern Italy in 264 B.C., showing the region of Samnium (where modern Molise lies), with various notes about ancient Rome and the origins of feudalism in southern Italy.

Map of the 6th-8th Century A.D. Lombard Kindom of Italy, before its conquest by Charlemagne, with a brief chronology for Italy before, after, and during its conquest by the Lombards.

Map of the 11th Century Norman Conquest of Southern Italy, and a map showing the Italian parts of the Holy Roman Empire circa 1100 A.D., with a chronology for southern Italy before, after, and during its conquest by the Normans.

Map of the 19th Century Piemontese Conquest of the Italian Peninsula and Sicily, also known as the Unification of Italy, showing the route taken by Garibaldi's army, with a chronology.

Maps showing the Province Boundaries of the Kingdom of Naples, or, Central Southern Italy, at the time of Napoleon and in the 20th Century, with an account of the 20th Century more-or-less equivalents to the 19th Century provinces.

Map showing the Principal Mountain Ranges of Italy. Note: the ranges are not labeled, although the locations of the cities of Naples, Rome, Termoli, Foggia, and Milan are indicated.

Map showing the twenty Regions of the Republic of Italy.

Map of the City of Camden, New Jersey, as it was in 1935, with an early chronology of the city.

Family Photographs

The photographs are divided into six groups:

Gambatesa, circa 1960

The Village of Gambatesa, circa 1960; a postcard photograph which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Victory in Gambatesa, circa 1960; a postcard photograph which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

Largo Fontana, Gambatesa, circa 1960; a postcard photograph which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

Interior of the Church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, Gambatesa, circa 1960, with a small statue of Our Lady of Victory; a postcard and image from a prayer-card both of which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo. (With a color photograph from August 2001).

The Corso Roma, Gambatesa, circa 1960; a postcard photograph which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

Ponte dei 13 Archi (Bridge of the 13 Arches) near Gambatesa, circa 1960; a postcard photograph which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

The Countryside of Gambatesa, and a Boy Watching over his Family's Sheep, September 1960; with the population and altitude figures for Gambatesa and some of its neighbors. The countryside of Gambatesa is highlands, as is most of the Region of Molise.

Women at the Village Fountain, Largo Fontana, Gambatesa, September 1960.

Note: there are links to several newer photographs of Gambatesa below.

Family Snaps, before 1940

Nicola Valente (1853-1939), agricoltore of Gambatesa, the father of Giovanni Valente.

Photograph taken of Giovanni Valente (1887-1969) for his Wedding to Nunziata DiRenzo (1897-1983) of 23 September 1914.

Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo in 1920.

Giuseppe DiRenzo (1876-1943) at 336 Beckett Street, Camden.

Vittoria Valente and her godfather Albert Mungioli at 336 Beckett Street, Camden, about 1929.

Family photograph at the house of Giuseppe DiRenzo (1876-1943) at 336 Beckett Street, Camden, about 1929.

The Children of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo, with photographs of the deceased children, and with the Second World War military service records of Joseph Anthony Valente (1943-1946). Note: only names and years of birth are given for living children.

Berkley Street, Camden, New Jersey, in the 1930s, showing the house at 337 Berkley Street, and Nunziata DiRenzo at 4th and Berkley Streets.

Italian Cowboys from Gambatesa in the City of Camden, circa 1927-1928, showing Giuseppantonio Iacovelli, Donato Mastrobuono, and perhaps Giovanni Valente's brother Salvadore, with birth and marriage records for Donato Mastrobuono (1889-1968).

Vittoria Donata and Angelina Serafina Valente at 337 Berkley Street, Camden, circa 1929; a photograph for their Uncle Salvadore Valente in Gambatesa.

Maria Vittoria d'Alessandro (1874-1955) and her husband Giuseppe DiRenzo (1876-1943) with their grandson Luigi Giorgi (1928-1993) in Camden, New Jersey, 1939. Luigi Giorgi was the son of Maria Rosaria DiRenzo (1908-1985) and her husband Emidio Giorgi (1903-1961).

Joseph (Giuseppe Antonio) and Victoria (Vittoria Donata) Valente. Confirmation photograph from Spring 1938. In the backyard of the Valente house at 337 Berkley Street, Camden.

Family Snaps, Camden,
1940s and 1950s

Maria Vittoria d'Alessandro and her daughter Nunziata DiRenzo in the 1940s, standing in front of the house of Maria Vittoria's daughter Pasqualina at 311 Royden Street, Camden, New Jersey.

Vittoria Valente, her cousin Filomena Iacovelli, and their friend Millie Barnabie on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, about 1940. The bridge, which connects Camden, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, was opened in 1926, the year after the two cousins were born.

Nunziata DiRenzo, Annie-the-Coffee-Lady and Grace Fanelli in the kitchen at 520 Mickle Street, Camden, New Jersey, in the 1950s.

Giovanni Valente and his oldest son's daughter in the backyard of 520 Mickle Street, Camden, New Jersey, in the late 1950s. Giovanni Valente and his wife Nunziata DiRenzo had twenty-two grandchildren, of which this little girl was the second oldest.

Giovanni Valente in the 1950s in Camden, New Jersey.

• The World War II draft registration card for Giovanni Valente, from 1942. This registration was for men 45-65 years old.

Family Snaps, Gambatesa, 1960s

Michele Valente (1883-1964), the oldest brother of Giovanni Valente, with his wife Anna Maria DiMaria in Gambatesa. On the back of the photograph is written Questo a Zio Giovanni ("This is for Uncle Giovanni").

Carmina Valente carrying water from the village fountain in Gambatesa in 1960. Carmina (b. 1908) was the second of the eight children of Giovanni Valente's brother Michele. The water-pot on her head is called a "conca" in Abruzzo, a "tina" in Gambatesa.

Giovanni Valente at his brother Michele's house in Gambatesa, with some of Michele's Children, September 1960.

Esther Valente at Michele Valente's Farm in Gambatesa, September 1960.

Giovanni Valente with his brother Michele's son Salvatore Valente, Gambatesa, 1960; Pasqualina Mucci in Gambatesa, 1971.

Giovanni Valente with his wife, his sister and three of his brother Michele's daughters, August-September 1967. People in Gambatesa (as well as in Camden) called Nunziata DiRenzo "zia Nunziella".

Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo in Gambatesa in 1967.

Giovanni Valente with his nephew Antonio Valente, Gambatesa 1960 and 1967, with Antonio's wife Giuseppina Aitella, and Giovanni's sister Maria Vittoria and her husband Giovanni Leonardi. Antonio Valente was Giovanni's brother Michele's son.

Carmelina Valente of Gambatesa, the daughter of Salvadore Valente and Concetta Scocca, with her oldest children Giovannina and Pasqualina.

Family Snaps, New Jersey, 1960s

Donato Valente (1885-1965), Giovanni Valente's older brother in America, at Donato's house in Riverside, New Jersey, in the early 1960s.

Giovanni Valente and his oldest son Nicholas in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, about 1965; and two photographs of Nicholas Valente when he served in the U.S. Coast Guard, the first a portrait from about 1942, the other from Ketchikan, Alaska.

Giovanni Valente in 1967. Passport photograph.

Giovanni Valente on the Boardwalk at Ocean City, New Jersey, 1965.

Joseph Valente in the basement kitchen of 162 Wesley Avenue, Erlton, March 1960, at a party his sister Carmina ("Millie") must have thrown.

Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo, April 1960, in the living room of the house at 162 Wesley Avenue, Erlton.

Family Snaps, Gambatesa and New Jersey,
1970s and 1995

Giovanni Valente's sister Maria Vittoria (b. 1896), who lived all her life in Gambatesa. Photographs from 1967 and 1971, the first showing Maria Vittoria with her brother Giovanni and his wife Nunziata DiRenzo; the second is of Maria Vittoria, her husband Giovanni Salvatore Leonardi (b. 1891), and Nunziata DiRenzo.

Nunziata DiRenzo and Giuseppina Canfora (1893-1983) in Gambatesa, Italy, in August 1971. Giuseppina Canfora was the mother of Nunziata DiRenzo's son-in-law Gennarino Macchiarola.

Nicola Valente of Gambatesa with his wife and son; Nicola was the older son of Giovanni Valente's brother Salvatore; from August 1971.

Nunziata DiRenzo with her youngest grandchild in 1970.

Filomena Valente and Donata Valente of Gambatesa in 1995, two daughters of Giovanni Valente's brother Michele Valente, with an account of the origin of these photographs from St. Joseph's Day.

Nunziata DiRenzo's childhood house in Gambatesa; snap from 19 March 1995.

From Our Correspondent in Geneva
(Angelo Abiuso)

Gambatesa - History and Traditions

Luca Valente (1894-1955) and his son Francesco Valente (1917-1980) of Gambatesa; Luca and Giovanni Valente were first cousins.

How and Where Giovanni Valente's Cousin Serafina became a Nun, with two photographs of Sister Serafina.

The Ship Passenger Arrival Record and the Declaration of Intention for Luca Valente (1894-1955). Luca arrived at New York on 8 July 1922 aboard the SS Europa; the ship sailed from Naples on 24 June 1922.

The Christmas Zampognaro, a traditional Italian Nativity scene figure. With memories about the visits of the mountain shepherds to Gambatesa and of who the zampognari  ("bagpipe-players") were.

Easter in Gambatesa, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Monday.

• Notes from Monsignor Donato Venditti's books about the origins of Gambatesa and the origins of its families. Don Donato was born in Gambatesa and was its parish priest for more than 20 years.

• The chapter titled The Parishioners of Gambatesa from Mons. Donato Venditti's booklet "The Parish of St. Bartholomew in Gambatesa", which lists the oldest surnames in Gambatesa and gives the village of origin for the surnames that arrived 1688-1880; in Italian with English translation.

Notes about Gambatesa's traditions and special days: La Madonna delle Traglie (July Wheat Festival); La Madonna del Rosario (October Grape Festival); the musical night of the Maitunate; the Bridge of the 13 Arches (brigands and war); the legends about the Medieval Castle; the legend of "The Old Man and the Stone"; and Saint Lucy's Fair.

Notes about the way people used to live everyday in Gambatesa in the last century: When wheat was like gold, Daily meals for farmers (with a recipe for "Milk soup"), Electricity in Gambatesa, Civilian deaths in Gambatesa during the Second World War, the tufo ("sandstone") on which the village stands.

• Photograph of Luca Valente's brother Donato Valente of Gambatesa and Rochester, New York. Donato was Giovanni Valente's first cousin.

Dialect Sayings from Gambatesa, also restated in Italian, with an English language version, and some sayings from Gambatesans who used to live in Camden, New Jersey.

• Color photograph of a Girl Wearing the Traditional Costume of Gambatesa, postcard from circa 1979 or 1980.

• A short account of When the Shepherds of Abruzzo Came to Rome at Christmas, from an illustrated French magazine of December 1911.

The Wheat grown in Gambatesa, a photograph of Gambatesa's winter wheat.

The Biscotti con le uova of Gambatesa, big egg biscuits made at home in a similar way to taralli; finished photographs with recipe from February 2006. Step-by-step (passo passo) photographs of how Biscotti con le uova are made by Angelo's mother Maria.

How to make the Biscuits called Cantucci of Gambatesa, which are hard almond biscotti called Maletagliate in the dialect of Gambatesa; step-by-step photographs with a recipe from March 2006.

Macaroni from Gambatesa, a brief description of how they used to be made by hand (both in Gambatesa and in Camden) and a photograph of modern pasta made in Gambatesa.

A Cat's life in Gambatesa, a photograph. Vipers can be quite dangerous on the farm. In the past people were killed by vipers. "Where there are cats there are no snakes, and that is maybe why cats were so important in Gambatesa."

Vicolo del Orologio ("Clock Lane"), the old location of Gambatesa'a Municipio. Two photographs showing repairs underway to the (slight) damage caused by the earthquake of 31 October 2002.

Historical Photographs of Gambatesa

Threshing Wheat in Gambatesa, from 1947, with a description of the ancient and primitive processes of wheat harvesting that were still in use in Gambatesa in the early 1950s.

School Prize Winner in Gambatesa, a recitation by Luca Valente's grandson Luca, from around 1965, with stories about Gambatesa's legendary parish priest Don Giacomo Venditti.

Photographs of Gambatesa,

• The Valente Casa Paterna, August 2002. This is the present (and it will be the last) paternal home of the descendents of Nicola Valente and Carmina Iacovelli in Gambatesa.

The Beginning of Gambatesa's Via San Nicola, the old southeastern entrance to the village, the location of the Church of San Nicola.

The old Valente house in Via San Nicola, two photographs from August 2002; there is an old gun port in the rear of the Church of San Nicola.

The Church of Saint Nicholas and the old house of Luca Valente's brother Donato, photographs showing the facade of the Chiesa di San Nicola and the beginning of Vicolo di San Nicola. Gambatesa, August 2002.

The Water Trough at Largo Fontana called i brevelatur'  in Gambatesa's dialect (l'abbeveratoio in Italian), August 2002.

The Masseria Valente ("Valente Farm"), the farm that belonged to the ancestors of Giovanni Valente and his cousin Luca in the agricultural land of Gambatesa. History, photographs (August 2001 and 2002), and maps (1957) showing the location of the masseria and the village of Gambatesa.

Colle della Putina, a reforested hill in Gambatesa that used to be part of the Masseria Valente; August 2003.

Documents about the Masseria Valente in Gambatesa; folded legal manuscripts (not the texts themselves) from the 19th Century.

The Casa comunale or Municipio (Town Hall) of Gambatesa, the Ufficio dello stato civile (Civil Registry Office) of Gambatesa; two photographs from August 2001.

Street Map showing the Village Center of Gambatesa, based on Italian real estate tax maps from 1927 and 1939.

Gambatesa from the Southwest, looking across the Contrada Carestia (Famine District) toward the Castle and Church of San Bartolomeo, August 2001.

Largo del Castello, the small square in front of Gambatesa's Church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, across from the Medieval Castle, August 2001; with an image of the Lamb and Cross panel from the church's bell tower.

Via Municipio and Corso Roma from the Southeastern Corner of Largo Fontana, August 2001.

Via Appulo-Sannitica in Gambatesa, the old road (maybe from Roman times) that connected the cities of Campobasso and Foggia, August 2002.

Largo della Madonna, the large square in Viale Vittorio Veneto near the southwest entrance to Gambatesa, August 2001.

Houses facing the Southwestern Side of Largo Fontana, Gambatesa, August 2001.

Gambatesa - looking Northward toward the Castle and the Lago di Occhito, August 2001.

Looking Northwest from the Village of Gambatesa, August 2001.

An old doorway in Gambatesa with a flower decoration, a door for the cat, and a rusty old plowshare; August 2003.

Photographs of Gambatesa,

A crossroad northwest of Gambatesa, showing some reforested countryside and a roadside oratory.

The house of Donato Luciano Abiuso (1906-1998); this was the Abiuso grandfather of Angelo Abiuso (Geneva).

The street where Angelo Abiuso lives in Gambatesa; this is Angelo Abiuso (Gambatesa), the great-uncle of Angelo Abiuso (Geneva).

Ancient Gambatesa, the view from Via Serrone, which is high above Salandra, Vipera and Piana delle Noci.

The Pass between Molise and Puglia: the Fondo Valle, Lago d'Occhito, and (faintly) a village in Puglia; this was the path of the tratturo ("sheep trail") long before there was a road in the valley bottom or a lake created by damming the Fortore River.

Toppo della Vipera and the Masseria Venditti with Toppo della Salandra, showing the land between the village of Gambatesa and Piana delle Noci.

La Piana delle Noci and Torrente Succida ("The Plain of Walnuts" and "Succida River"). The former is something very rare in Gambatesa: flat farmland; and the bed of the latter is shown after it destroyed its banks when it flooded the winter before.

Via Serrone in Gambatesa; the village lies on the ridge of a hill, so there are many levels on which walkways, houses and stables were built.

A poor, small house in Via Serrone such as used to be referred to as a catapechie, pejorative dialect for a small house (maybe "stone hovel" would be equivalent).

Painted houses in Via Serrone, one showing the stone arch of a wealthier family, the other showing the pattern of rooms for the family constructed over stables for the animals.

Altitude - Via Serrone; the distance from the top of Via Serrone (1,500 feet) to the valley bottom below (675 feet) results in a real feeling of height.

The northwestern (lower) end of Via Serrone. Here were living the poorest families, and here begins the old path down to Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

Two views of Via Serrone from the house of Nunziata DiRenzo's childhood in Gambatesa (1897-1913).

Two tomoli, Roman unit-measurers made of stone and wood, that were used in Gambatesa until the end of the 1950s. The tomolo was used to measure oil and wheat and other commodities, which were often used by the poor of Gambatesa in place of money.

Gourds of the type once used in Gambatesa to store salt; from the Masseria Biagietti.

Model traglia or "wheat sled", like the sleds used for the wheat festival of La Madonna delle Traglie in Gambatesa.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2005

Four kinds of biscotti made in Gambatesa; store-made, not home-made, biscuits, although people also make these at home.

The wheat originally grown in Gambatesa, a stalk from July 2005.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2006

The Beginning of Via della Madonna; Via della Madonna ("Our Lady's Way") begins at a height of 422 meters and plunges almost 200 meters down into the valley below; the end of Via Serrone is where Via della Madonna begins.

Via della Madonna, Gambatesa, the ancient tufo path down from the village to the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory in the valley below; with a small map.

Colle della Madonna, Gambatesa, the valley-pass between the village of Gambatesa and Toppo della Salandra, in which is located the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory.

• Gambatesa's Cemetery: its Location and Altitude; the Entrance and Chapel of the cemetery; the Oldest Part of the cemetery; a Newer Section of the cemetery; Above Ground Burials in the cemetery; Gambatesa's Ossuary, the modern trap-door to the bone-pit.

• The old DiRenzo house in July 2006, with the view of the landscape from the stairwell looking out across the border into Puglia.

• The door at the bottom of the stairwell, which has a door for the family cat, with a photograph of the back wall of the old DiRenzo house.

• How farmhouse roofs used to be made in Gambatesa, an ancient Roman method.

Woven wheat decorations for the July harvest dedicated to la Madonna delle Traglie.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2007

Gambatesa's Daily Bakery Bread, description and new photographs from July 2007.

How Gambatesa's bread is sliced at home, which is a special way requiring some skill. And half-slices of this bread served with cheese and sausages and wine.

The bread baker Nicola Concettini, an old street photograph with children of Gambatesa.

The Cheese of Gambatesa, il formaggio gambatesano, which the old people still dry and age in their bedrooms.

Salvadore Valente of Gambatesa, the younger brother of Giovanni Valente, from Gambatesa's cemetery.

Gambatesa's Old Jail: the vault-like door of the prison cell inside the old Carabinieri station; the outer street doorway and window of the old jail; and outside the old Carabinieri station in Via Sannicola.

• Behind the old Valente house in Via San Nicola: the backyard and the old well; the garden behind the house; and the opulent houses beyond the backyard.

• The Cellar carved out of the tufo of the old Valente house in Via San Nicola; and the house's old ceiling beams supporting a flat wooden roof.

• Two Street scenes from the City of Campobasso: the city hall and a woman carrying a parcel on her head.

Places made sacred by the memory of San Giovanni da Tufara: the stairs to his house and the source, in the neighboring village of Tufara.

School Class Photograph, Gambatesa, from before WW2.

Scale drawing and statistics for the Ponte dei 13 Archi, from which we learn that the 289 yard long bridge with thirteen arches was completed in 1871 by the De Resa Company.

Blue arrows pointing the way to German Army offices are still visible on the walls outside Palazzo Rotondo in Gambatesa.

Gambatesa - Via Serrone - Toppi, viewed from the east.

Gambatesa - Looking east toward Puglia from farmland to the east of the village, with notes about the burning of straw and stunted trees.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2009

A stone vat used to store olive oil in the tufo cellars of Gambatesa.

Bilancia romana: a Roman balance or scale of the type once used in Gambatesa.

Report from Gambatesa, 2009-2010

Bosco di Chiusano, one of Gambatesa's original human settlements. And living arrangements at the Masseria Valente; until the late 1960s, early 70s, different families owned different rooms at the farm, with entire families (father, mother, children) living in a single room and stable. Also: When Gambatesa's historical center was built and where the seven palazzi were (with maps of the village center).

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2009-2010

• Angelo Abiuso's Valente grandmother, Luigina Abiuso, in her kitchen. She is the widow of Angelo's grandfather, Francesco Valente.

A Cat's Lunch in Gambatesa. In the village cats eat spaghetti from nice bowls. They also forecast the weather.

The bidente, an agricultural tool used in Gambatesa for the hardest field work.

The piccola zappa ("small hoe") used in Gambatesa where it is called zappetele, and Samuele Conte in his garden near Bosco Chiusano.

• The vegetable plants that Mr. Conte is growing is his garden, peppers, egg plants, turnip tops, and sweet basil.

The quality of the soil where Mr. Conte grows the vegetables in his garden.

Beans drying in the sun: fagioli bianchi ("white beans") left outside on a porch to day in the air and sun.

Market Day in Largo della Madonna. An old lady in morning dress, and hand-made wooden goods for sale on market day in Gambatesa.

• The rafters and stone floor of what was once a rich family's house in Gambatesa. For some houses in the old days ceiling beams were cut and shaped by hand with an axe.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2012

A new, old postcard panorama, in color from the 1960s.

Photographs of Gambatesa, 2013-2014

• Addition: Woman dressed as a pacchiana for annual the grape festival, from 1956.

Pump for spraying grape vines, Piana delle Noci. The vines must be treated with various chemicals against fungi and insects, in this case with a solution of rame ("copper"). The vineyard worker carries this manual pump on his back.

• The tomolo in the village of Gruyère, an ancient grain measure in Switzerland to contrast with the smaller tomolo in Gambatesa.

• Abandoned farmhouse where two old people were living in the 1950s. There is one room with a fireplace, but now there is a hole in the roof. This is in the Piana delle Noci, and beside the door are painted the words "DDT" to indicate that after WW2 the house was treated with that chemical.

• An old farmhouse in the Piana delle Noci, but it is now collapsing.

Meat curing in the secondary kitchen of a farmhouse in the Piana delle Noci ("Plain of Walnuts").

Documents and Stories:

The Unusual Death in 1793 of Saverio FARINACCIO.

The Orphan Marianna BRICCA - Nunziata DiRenzo's Godmother, with a photograph of Marianna from 1958.

The Birth Records of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo from Gambatesa, Molise, Italy, 1887 and 1897.

Giovanni Valente's first return visit to Gambatesa, fifty years after leaving for America, August-September 1960, with photographs of Giovanni, his daughter Esther (1930-1994), niece Anna-v, and Frank d'Alessandro.

Photograph of the headquarters building for the Military District of Campobasso, August 2004. Giovanni Valente would have reported here in 1908 when he was twenty years old, to serve in the Italian Army as an infantryman.


World War I Selective Service Registration Card of Giovanni Valente, 5 June 1917, City of Camden, New Jersey; with a reproduction of the Registration Certificate card given to Giovanni when he registered for the draft.

The 1920, 1930, 1940 and 1950 U.S. Federal Census records for the family of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo (Mr. and Mrs. John Valente), residents of 212 Mickle Street and 337 Berkley Street, City of Camden, New Jersey.

Documents from the life of Pasquale Di Renzo of Gambatesa, Italy, and Camden, New Jersey. Pasquale was a parente ("relative") of Nunziata DiRenzo; he had a grocery store in Camden.

Map of Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, showing the locations of the graves of some of the family and friends of Giovanni Valente and Nunziata DiRenzo.

Obituary for Louis Valente, who died on 23 October 1950, in the Camden Courier Post.

Saint Joseph's Day in Camden. The Feast of St. Joseph the Husband of Mary (19 March) as commemorated by the Italians in the city, with notes about the fasting days of Lent and about St. Joseph's Day in Gambatesa.

The Victrola label from 'A Vucchella (A Little Posy) sung by Enrico Caruso; hear a short selection from the recording, as Giovanni Valente heard it. Streaming RealAudio, or Media Player (Wave File)

Nunziata DiRenzo's biscotti - a Recipe, with a photograph of Nunziata DiRenzo and Giovanni Valente, circa 1968.

Old, traditional water jug used by farm workers in the fields in Gambatesa, from August 1971.

Decorative jug from Gambatesa, which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo.

Ship Passenger Manifests

The Ship Passenger Arrival Record for Giovanni Valente, Philadelphia, 9 December 1911, SS Ancona.

The Ship Passenger Arrival Record for Nunziata DiRenzo, New York, 21 July 1913, SS Ancona.

The Ship Passenger Arrival Record for Giuseppe DiRenzo, Philadelphia 11 May 1910, SS Verona

• The Ship Passenger Arrival Record for Luigi DiRenzo (1895-1912), Philadelphia, 5 June 1912, SS Ancona.

• The Ship Passenger Arrival Record for Maria Vittoria d'Alessandro (1874-1955), Maria Rosaria DiRenzo (1908-1985), and Antonio DiRenzo (1910-1987), New York, 20 September 1922, SS Colombo.

A Short Postscript to these Family History Documents

Descriptions of what the lives of our ancestors were like, in the words of various writers.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/

Copyright © 1998 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo and others as noted.
Last revised: 5 January 2023 : 2023-01-05

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