News and history for people named Tortorello, Tortoriello, Turturiello, and other variations.

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Above: The church has a sculpture called Santa Maria Incoronata. Family members say an exact replica is at the church Santa Maria Incoronata on Alexander Street in what is now Chicago's Chinatown. Below: Jo-Ann (left) and her cousin.


A visit to Ricigliano in October 1999

By Jo-Ann Pryor (, Descendant of Francesco

We had much success in locating my father's people in Oliveto Citra and several days after visiting them we drove to Ricigliano.

Ricigliano is far up a mountain and quite difficult to find. It was an adventure getting there but we finally made it.

Upon parking near the town plaza we saw a store with the name Serritella which is the name of my grandmother. Many of the women in Italy keep their family names after marrying. A man was exiting the store and I asked him if he spoke English. He shook his head but pointed to a woman sitting in the piazza who came over to us. She spoke some English and turned out to be a 4th cousin. We ended up spending much of the day with her while she showed us the town and tried to locate people who might be related. She has a son named John Parilla in the Chicago area.

Sorry to say that we did not find any Tortorellos there. She tried to talk to many of the very elderly inhabitants, but no one seemed to know my side and in fact we found no one with the Tortorello name.

Ricigliano is a very charming town which is now quite modern because it has been almost entirely rebuilt since the major earthquake in the 80's. There was just a bit of the Greek ruins left and a few of the Roman ruins. It sits very high up on the mountain with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys.

Sadly, there were not many young people living in this village which leads me to believe that it will eventually fade away unless they get the younger people to stay. My cousin said that many of the people still farm in the mountains and down the valley. Other than farming there is no industry that we saw. It is very beautiful country and we would love to go back again.

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