I was born in Roath, Cardiff in 1953 to Kenneth & Mary Veronica Coulson; my Mum being the daughter of Cristina Di Mascio & Sydney Joseph Price. (All were parishioners at St Peter’s, where I was also baptised)
My grandmother was born in Cardito, in the Comino Valley and came to Cardiff as a baby with her parents Filippo Di Mascio and Maria Giuseppa (nee Verrecchia) who ran an ice cream business and small shop, ending up in Plasnewydd Road (building now long gone!) I have been digging up the family trees for some years – but no need to bore you with it now – and have been back and for to the Comino Valley for several years.
As far as is known/rumoured in the family, none of the Di Mascio’s were involved in the internment camps or the Arandora Star tragedy, although they were targets for anti-Italian demonstrations and obviously were Registered Aliens: in fact Filippo and Maria were both buried in the 1940’s in Cathays Cemetery as was my nonna when she died in 1986.
As a result of all our visits though, my wife and I are just completing the purchase of an apartment in Picinisco so that we can spend more of our retirement time (& money!) in the area. We fly out again on Sunday 29th June – the same day as the St David’s Mass for the victims of the Arandora Star – and hopefully will remember them all during our stay in the Valley on the 2nd July.
For future (if of interest) note is that the DI Mascio families from Cardito were the great majority of victims in a massacre by Germans on 28th December 1943 when 42 locals were machine gunned for trying to walk over the mountains to safety further south. (26 out of the 42 were Di Mascio’s). I do not know how the victims were related, nor yet how they fit into my family history – but we have visited the memorial to the martiri di Collelungo many times and it is incredibly atmospheric.
When we get finally sorted I’ll let you know and we might be able to help with more pieces from the Comino Valley: Cardito to Cardiff and back