Sunday, January 21, 2018


The Ghosts of Italy’s Adopt An Olive Tree
Symbol of Peace & Abundance

The Ghosts of Italy's #AdoptAnOliveTree initiative offers anyone; from book-readers of #GhostsofItaly, friends, and friends who are family, a special opportunity to share in and support an organic, wild-cultivated sustainable olive grove in Alta Irpinia, Campania, Southern Italy. It's a pay it forward story; tramandare is Italian for handing down something of the family. Here's a brief story about how it all came about with a teaser scene from book two! STILL LIFE WITH SAINTS

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It was October 2006. I had just started my blog L’Americana with this prescient post:

I was in the little paese on the hill for Christmas. For Italians the holiday is all about the presepe - and not about how many shopping days left. Thankfully. The weather was cold and wintry though sadly it did not snow on the hill once. I’m a big believer in snow at Christmas, even so my Calitri experience was all that I had hoped for, with fresh Christmas trees and little tiny lights throughout the town, wild mistletoe to hang over the door (collected together in the woods with my own wild man Peppino) the aroma of homemade breads and cakes in ovens nearby, and a surprise gift from zia Maria ~ the biggest rosary I have ever seen!

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Ten years of blogging and a published book later, at zia Maria’s family table for Christmas 2016, she spoke these words to me in Italian ~

‘You’re welcome to the olive trees in San Benedetto.’ The historic zona olivicola (olive-growing area) on Calitri’s legendary Centro Storico hillside, just below This Morning’s Balcony View.
Senza interessi.’
I sat silent at first, regarding her. Then she asked if I’d understood what she said. After several years living in the town, I’d learned a few of the deeper cultural sayings, and what they meant.
I nodded my head.
Moments later her daughter Anna reconfirmed if I had understood what her mother had just offered me. I turned to her then, as zia Maria’s words slowly sunk further in.
‘They’re the olive trees in the circle of land below my balcony,’ I said as much to myself as to Anna, zia Maria, and those still sitting around the table.
Tramandare. The word for handing down something of the family. Zia Maria, then, without having read the book, understood the very spirit of The Ghosts of Italy; its theme, its magic, and me.


There are 25 organic and wild-cultivated ‘Carnevale’ olive trees in the circle grove and a dozen more near the crest of the hill covered in yellow broom. Zia Maria and her husband Vincenzo hadn’t tended the trees for at least the last three seasons; they weren’t getting any younger, one year had been too lean, so they had let the harvest go. After a year of fielding resistance from urban parenti both near and far, some encouragement from local cittadini contadini, ‘Wait for the yield to return’, and Peppino, this year I partnered with a local, grassroots non-profit chapter of the greater Irpinia Associazione Olivicoltori ~ The Olive Guys ~ experts in the caring and pruning of millenial and younger olive groves and harvesting their oftimes abandoned trees. ‘Carnevale’ is a monovarietal fruit, awarded DOP status in Calitri, Alta Irpinia. This means, the trees in the historic San Benedetto zone, are a designated and protected varietal of olive exclusive to Calitri. Wild harvested and fresh pressed, the small black Carnevale produce a mild yet luxuriously rich and complex fruity oil.

Wouldn’t you love some on your table?

Adopt an Olive Tree from The Ghosts of Italy Initiative Spring 2018.

Grazie dal zia Maria

Friday, September 09, 2016


by Angela Paolantonio


Or find it @ Canio's Books, Sag Harbor, NY & other independent booksellers through 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Advance Praise

USA & Italia
 Summer 2016 

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Advance praise for The Ghosts of Italy

Angela Paolantonio's lyrical journey into the land of her ancestors evokes all that we love about Italy: the intimacy of its people, the beauty of its landscape, the soul-nourishing food and the embrace of family. Ghosts of Italy brings all this to the page in vivid detail sprinkled with serendipity.
Maryann Calendrille | Owner, (San) Canio's Books, Sag Harbor, N.Y.

"I found the read captivating....I could relate to the whole being single in Italy, as Italians in general simply don't understand about being a single, independent woman....I don't know that I have ever been somewhere where I felt I belonged and there were spirits from the past watching over me and guiding me. What an extraordinary experience."
Valerie Harrison | Travel & Food Writer / Blogger

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

La Tredicina di Sant'Antonio

La tredicina di Sant'Antonio is dedicated to Saint Anthony throughout Italy for the first thirteen days of June. 

Here in Calitri, Sant'Antonio's bell is rung by hand starting around 5 p.m. when the women of la cascina gather down to his little yellow church at the base of the hill to sing prayers for themselves and the town. Vespers. 

The tredicina is an extended novena in the number thirteen. Thirteen days to appeal to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. And a remarkable way to begin living in this little paese on the hill, I thought. Thirteen is a lucky number in Italy. 

I first heard the bell late one afternoon from over my balcony when I first came to live on via Fontana, way back in June 2006. The neighborhood then was fairly new to me and it came from somewhere just out of view. The ringing of the bell struck me as meditative, an almost melancholy sound.

Sant'Antonio come around, something lost must be found, please help me bring it round - is one of his more popular prayers. 

That was nine years ago. Little did I know what I had already found. Now every summer I look forward to the bell and the days leading up to Saint Antonio's feast day on the thirteenth of June - the luckiest day of an Italian's year. 

Auguri a tutti di Sant'Antonio