Vita Italian Tours Founder and director Mario Vitellone shares his story of immigration and the lasting image that Sicily and in particularly Mt Etna left on a young man leaving his home for a new life with his family.
Many years ago, as a young boy of ten I migrated to Australia with my mother and siblings from the port of Naples on the Oceania: one of the many migrant ships bringing Italians to Australia in search of exciting new beginning. Like many other families my father Francesco had gone ahead to find work and my mother and four other siblings were now following after.
What an adventure for a 10 year old! Exotic lands, a myriad of new colours and unknown cultures. The voyage to Australia lasted 28 days and I still can recollect most of it.
However, there is one image which I remember very clearly, and, in a way, it still haunts me to this very day. It was the imposing sight of the snow-capped Mt Etna. As the ship cruised away from the Port of Messina, the lingering image of Mt Etna was still evident even when there was no more sign of the coastline. Most of the passengers remained on deck clinging to the last fading glimpse of Italy. It was a powerful image: saddened faces and many with tears knowing full well that Etna represented a place where they left family and friends perhaps never to return.
I was fortunate to return to Italy several times in my 20’s. Every time my wife Viny and I made a point of travelling to Sicily. For me it was like a pilgrimage. In fact, every time I visit Sicily, I make a special trip to pay my respect to Mt Etna.
When we started our travel business, it has always been in our plans to take a group to experience Sicily and visit Mt Etna.
We are so glad that Sicily has become a popular choice for travellers. Sicily offers marvellous archaeological sites, rich complex history, and an intriguing culture different to the rest of Italy. I suppose you can attribute the same to every region in Italy. We are delighted to offer a fully guided boutique tour of this magnificent island.
I hope that by visiting Mt Etna it recalls you to return again and again to experience the rich heritage of the first multicultural society full of cultural treasures, ancient traditions and incredible scenery.
Mario Vitellone – Vita Italian Tours Founder/Director