This is a much delayed thank you to you, your father Umberto and of course Rocco for making the first trip to Italia special, as if my relatives drove me from Roma to Pompeii to Napoli, then from Naples to Castelcivita to Ottati and back to Napoli, then from Napoli back to Roma during late September and early October.
The reservation for the eight of us was made by Lauraine Segna and her husband John. This trip was a celebration of our heritages, our marriages (two couples celebrated 25th anniversaries) and friendship. Giovanni, I feel I know you even though only Laurie spoke to you and e-mailed you. As far as Umberto and Rocco, well, they are now part of family history. Or as an Italian-American co-worker I have who saw some of the still pictures of the trip, "They are part of your family now."
Rocco drove us from Roma to Pompeii and then to Napoli. Rocco was the one who suggested that we go to the National Archaeological Museum instead of a trip to the volcano after our trip to Pompeii. It was also Rocco who endured our questions about current Italian culture and cuisine and our bad jokes. But more importantly when the (so-called) Renaissance Hotel refused our reservation and I asked him if he could stay a few minutes just in case we couldn't check in (we couldn't) he said, "I won't leave you. Take care of the hotel. I'm here." As I said before, like family. Like the neighborhood in Brooklyn I grew up in, an Italian-American neighborhood. I'm half Italian. (Umberto knows more about that story than he cares to admit now.)
As for Umberto, well I guess you are blessed with a wonderful father. What a grand gentleman! What a perfect person to drive us, and as my wife said, "became your personal interpreter" as we traveled to Castelcivita where my Mother was born (where she was born on a "vacation" with her parents) and to Ottati, where my grandfather was born and where streets were named after him and my great- great-grandfather. We, as a group, decided that he looks like an Italian version of Kirk Douglas. (The ladies on the trip said that is a great compliment.) My Mom's remaining sister who is 86 saw the video and the pictures and said we were blessed to have a person like Umberto with us.
I am going on and on, but again, he was like family. My Mother died two years ago but she must have had some hand in picking your company and your Father to drive us to that special place.
You should be getting a lot of business from this group by the way. Marion and I will be back to Italia. So will Joe and Debbie Vessa. And their other family members, and maybe mine too.
My wife and I, along with Joe and Debbie Vessa and his sister Sophia, had never been to Italia before. It was our first trip. Your company, and especially Umberto and Rocco, made us feel welcome, comfortable and safe. In times like this, we thank you and hope for your continued prosperity.
Until we meet again may you all have good health, safety and many lucrative tourists!
All the best,
Steve and Marion