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"I remember this," says Roberto. "This, maybe 200, 300 years old." He wraps his arm around an ancient wine press. Roberto, who lived on this hillside as a boy long after my father had gone to America, knows the houses' secrets. Here, he says, standing in Michele Napoli's house, is where he and his brothers searched for treasure. "Look," he says, lifting up a flat stone near where the pressed wine drained. "My brother and I, we search for treasure here, under the stones. It was because of Uncle Alberto."

Alberto was my Grandma Catherine's brother, the eccentric family uncle about whom many tales are told. "Tzio Alberto -- 'Luberto' we called him-- dreamed it one time," Roberto says. He dreamed of treasure hidden in the house, maybe Alberico's treasure, and told the boys. "Me and my brother, Mario, started moving all the stones, looking for it." Uncle Alberto looked, too, punching holes in the wall with a mallet. Until he was told he'd better knock it off.

 

 

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