Basélice, Province of Benevento, Region of Campania, Italia

All photographs were taken in April 2005.

Basélice is a remote town in the northeastern part of Benevento Province. The Leone branch of my family tree comes from here.

Note: If you are a Basélice descendant, please see my database of more than 15,000 residents in the late 1800s. I've documented all births, marriages and deaths in the town from 1809–1860. Also see my Basélice blog about my years of researching the ancestors in this town.

In August 2007 I discovered two Leone descendants in Italy, Paolo and Giampietro, who helped me identify my Basélice relatives.

Basélice street scene.

Baselice street scene

Basélice street scene.

Baselice street scene

Giovanni Leone.
When we took this photograph, we didn't know if Giovanni was my relative. Now I know he is my grandfather's first cousin; my first cousin twice removed.

Giovanni Leone

Detail of photograph of Giovanni Leone.
Giovanni Leone is pictured here with his wife, Maria Giuseppa Bianco. He greatly resembles my grandfather's brother, Noè Leone. She looks like Isabella Rossellini!

Giovanni Leone

Michelina Leone.
When my grandfather's sister Eva Leone died at the age of 49, Michelina (my second cousin once removed) stepped in to take care of Eva's sons, Giuseppe and Antonio.

Michelina Leone

Detail of photograph of Michelina Leone.

Michelina Leone

Alessio Leone.
Alessio was only 16 months old when he died in 1972. I have learned that he is my third cousin once removed.

Alessio Leone

Detail of photograph of Alessio Leone.

Alessio Leone

Leone Family tomb including Vincenzo Leone.
I don't know yet how Vincenzo fits into the family. The words on the left are about Maria Michela Bianco who died in 1902 and is remembered by her children, the Leone family.

Vincenzo Leone

Detail of photograph of Vincenzo Leone.

Vincenzo Leone

Wall of skulls.
There is a room in the Basélice cemetery that looks like a big dark closet. I peeked inside to see a wall of skulls! Afraid to go in, I sent my husband in to take this amazing photograph. I saw a program on the History Channel that makes me think this was not an unusual practice.

Wall of skulls