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Connellsville family opens home to Italian guests

| Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, 6:09 p.m.
Mark Hofmann | Trib Total Media
Evan and Judy Nardone of Connellsville welcomed members of Evan Nardone's family from Italy, who came to the area to visit relatives and see local sights including Fallingwater. From left are Marco Petrone, Daniela Petrone, Evan and Judy Nardone and Giuliano De Martino.

A trio of visitors from Italy united with family in the States, including Connellsville.

When Evan Nardone visited Italy in 1987 and 1993, he had an eye-opening experience when he met family members and even learned of a cousin he never knew existed who was killed fighting Allied forces in North Africa in World War II.

“We were fighting on opposite sides,” said Nardone, a World War II veteran. “So many new things opened up.”

Nardone's uncle's great-grandchildren, Daniela Petrone and Marco Petrone, and Daniela's fiancé, Giuliano De Martino, come from the village of Fragneto L'abate in the Province of Benevento, which Nardone said means “good wind” in reference to the wind coming in over the Mediterranean Sea.

The trio arrived July 27 in New York City, where they spent four days and experienced a taste of big-city life and culture.

Daniela Petrone said she knew New York City was a big city with tall buildings, but wasn't expecting it to be as bright and busy in comparison to a city as Rome.

“There were so many lights, it seemed like day — everything was busy,” she said.

Their first trip to America, which took the three visitors six months to plan, consisted of visiting sites like Niagara Falls and Pittsburgh, kayaking in the Ohio River and going to a major league baseball game. They also spent a couple of days in Fayette County, visiting Ohiopyle and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, which was especially exciting for Daniela Petrone, an architect.

“The materials, the structure and the nature — everything,” she said of what she was most looking forward to about Fallingwater.

Marco Petrone is a rugby player with Benevento Rugby and sells furniture in his offseason. De Martino is a secondary school biology teacher.

Even though the three world travelers are enjoying many things to do in the United States, there was one thing to which they were looking forward.

“The most important thing was meeting a huge part of our family,” Daniela Petrone said as they stayed at Evan and Judy Nardone's Connellsville home.

They're expected to return to Italy later in August.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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