About our home


200 year old home built by family

Around 200 years ago, Domenico and Vincenzo Fanelli built themselves connected homes made of local stone, divided by a common wall, here in Pieve di Compito. One hundred years later in 1904, their grandson, Armando, was born and raised in the house.

In 1938, he followed the promise of success to the United States and transplanted himself to Chicago, Illinois where he married his hometown sweetheart, Luigina Scatena. They had 5 children, one of whom is Joseph Fanelli. Joseph married Janice Parks and they brought eight children into the world.

When Janice was pregnant with their fifth child (me), they took the family to Italy for the first time. When in Lucca, the nearest city to the family’s small country town, they visited the church of St. Gemma Galgani, after whom I was named.

I fell madly in love

Fifteen years later, our whole family of 10 returned to Italy and stayed in that very same stone house. I fell madly in love with my heritage and the place where my ancestors lived during this visit. The accommodations were rustic, simple and virtually untouched by the present. We spent our days visiting and eating with relatives, playing bocce at the campo sportivo, hiking Monte Sera, gorging ourselves on cherries and figs from the old fruit trees, frequenting gelaterias and lounging by the seaside in Viareggio.

Nights were spent talking for hours with my little sister, Marina. We spoke of our future plans and dreams to return to this place. This shared passion created a connection and bond that we nurture to this day.

Now is the time

After many visits and renovations, Joseph, Marina and Gemma will finally be able to share our special place with you starting in the summer of 2016!

Your future host,
Gemma Fanelli