Rosa Marseglia – My Aunt aka Cousin and Neapolitan Poet

Rosa Marseglia the Award winning Neapolitan Poetress

written by Bianca Ghikas May 18, 2020


Rosa is the daughter of my maternal grandmothers first cousin and my mother’s godmother.  Rosas Great-grandmother  and my great-great-grandmother are the same person, in other words her grandmother and my great grandmother were sisters.

We met when we were all small children, my mom’s family was quite numerous, they had lots of children, and thereby we were of similar age aunt and nieces lol  a common occurence that i know off for at least 400 years, lol; Napoli was always a stop over for us either going to Greece or going to South America from Greece.

The family ancestry and many anecdotes form part of the book I am writing, i wonder when i will complete it lol, I feel like Penelopy’s knitting hehehehehe.

I remember the palazzo Marseglia, in Secondigliano, as if it was yesterday, I loved it there it felt just as amazing as going to my great grandma in Giugliano in Campania; zia Titina and zio Vincenzo were alwasy full of love for us, and off course with so many kids and such a huge house we had a ball…. and never got in trouble of course  ..heheheh  I must admit we were spoiled …lol.  A few years went by and I decided to go to Napoli in January of 1973, the reason for this trip is another upcoming book’s story, unknown to me Zio Vincenzo was in his death bed and said to the love of his life, zia Titina, “Bianca, Italia’s daughter is arriving today”  shortly thereafter he passed.  I landed in Napoli just about that time and my mom’s sister, My aunt Teresita, came to pick me up; while we were travelling to her house i noticed posters being put up announcing a death ( a common practice in Italy) , omg, it was zio vincenzo’s death.  Zia Teresita did not let me go to the funeral because i was young and impressionable (i was 22), so i had to wait a few days before visiting.  Of course i had my guitar with me and i took it over the the Marseglia’s household.  I figured i had to entertain them to make them forget their sorrow for a short while.   We had a great time, zia Tittina asked zia Chiarina to close the windows and shutters so that the neighbors would not gossip lol.

Rosa and I hit it big time and became besties, i had a relationship with all of them but with Rosa it was different, we seemed to have so manythings in common, including hair and eye colour, very uncommonn on my generation on my side of the family lol.  If i had to go to a party ( and I did often heheheh) i would go get ready at the Marseglia’s household and all the girls would help me get ready, we spent so many hours in the bathroom that zia Titina and zia Chiarina were calling and saying ” what are you guys doing to Bianca” hehehehehe when I was ready and dressed Rosa would march with me back to zia Teresita’s house and a bunch of “Scugnizzi” (street kids) following us hehehe and zio Genarino Di Nocera ( zia Titina’s brother) would go on the balconi and say loudly “Bianca Neve vengo anche io !”  (Snow white I am coming too!)

I was supposed to stay 3 weeks but overstayed , almost 3 months, I did not want to leave, but I had my little girl and my mom and siter in Canada and at the time I had no choice but leave. While i was taken to the airport in Rome by another cousin the radio was playing “Mio caro amore evanescente e puro” by Massimo Ranieri… oh my God tears galore … amazing memories !!

At the begining Rosa and I kept in touch but life takes over and the letters begin to eveporate in time……. it was until 1993 that i went back to Napoli with my mom and daughter that I met with Rosa again, and our friendship begun to flourish again.

She had married the love of her life, the handsome Salvatore Letillo and had two beautiful children, Alessandro and Paola. I had married and divorced again and now had a son as well. Even at that time i had no idea that Rosa was and award winning Poetress in Neapolitan.  It took another trip to meet again and by this time, Rosa and her family had moved away from Secondigliano, Napoli, and relocated to Parolise, Avellino, about 1 and half hour bus ride from Napoli Centrale. on my first visit there we had the time of our lives reminishing and exchanging old family photos and lo and behold I found out that she was writing poetry in Neapolitan, just like her father ( zio Vincenzo) used to do, I made her read me some and tears just flew , amazing talent.  I will be publishing her work here, for now i just have 3 written by Rosa and one by zio Vincenzo.

Thanks to the internet, we now keep in close contact, especialy with Paola.

I am so proud of Rosa Marseglia’s achievements “Bravo Rosa” ti voglio tanto bene ..riccorda pero sei mia zia hehehehehe !!!



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