7 Memories From Visiting Italian Grandparents

My grandfather immigrated from Calabria and moved into this home in Berwyn Illinois. This is where he started a family and eventually where I would go visit during my childhood.
My family recently had to sell the home and it brought back a lot of memories for me. Let me know if you can relate to the memories I had when I would visit my Italian grandparents.

1. The Garden / Yard

My nonno was so proud of his garden. I remember there always being fresh tomatoes when I went over. He loved to smoke cigars. I remember him always feeding the birds by the alley in the back. He seemed to really love relaxing outside and being in the sun.

2. The Broken English

My grandparents primarily spoke Italian in the house. They would only speak English when talking to us. I always remember overhearing their conversations and going, what the heck are they saying.

3. The Toys

They had a closet full of toys in the house just for my sister and me. My grandma knew I liked video games, so she let me hook up a PlayStation to their TV. They didn’t care about wasted space in the home for our stuff.

4. Leaving With Money

It was always exciting to visit. This was because I knew I would always get handed $20 for “ice cream.” I would feel like I was rich.

5. Feeling Welcomed

My parents never hired a babysitter. We would always go spend the night by my grandparents instead. We could stay over or visit at any time. They were always happy to have us there. We were never a burden.

6. Family Pictures

There were tons of family pictures in every single room. Wedding photos, baby photos, and photos of our cousins were everywhere.

7. The Food

Pasta for days. We always ate well. I remember my grandma knew I liked bread and butter, so I had like 50 pieces of bread and butter every time I went over.

I really miss the days of being a kid and going to visit. You really don’t know you’re in the good times until those moments are gone. Please everyone, if your grandparents are still alive, cherish every moment you have with them ❤🙏
What are some memories you have from visiting your grandparents? Would love to hear your stories in the comments.


  1. Mike I had the same memories when we sold our Mom and Dad’s house, and yes the St. Joseph statue does work.

  2. The mini stories really had me tear up 🥲

    My father also immigrated here from Palermo my maiden name Sapienza . The family ended up in Michigan.
    I myself only lived there for a year before my parents moved to California.

    My grandfather lived to 104 1/2 he made his own fresh bread every other day …
    he refused store-bought …He did this till the very end 🙂
    Warm out of oven .. with olive oil & ricotta buns 🙂
    In Michigan my grandfather had a barbershop downstairs & lived above.. he decided to move to California.. we followed:)

    When my children would visit my parents house my daughter had the bread and butter like you mentioned 🙂 as much as she wanted she is still like that today;).
    She now makes rosemary bread every Christmas. she has a little bit of her great grandfather in her:)

    I really love this site and now even more with hopefully more stories to come:)
    Continued success we love the items we purchased:) hope u sold your home ✝️

  3. 1. My grandparents always had unannounced visitors stopping by because they just happened to be in the area.
    2. Table wine…always.
    3. Fresh biscotti, and walnut crackers on the table.
    4. The telephone ringing and my grandmother speaking Italian to her friends on the phone.
    5. After dinner debates at the kitchen table. Lots of yelling and hands smacking the table but no one ever left the house angry.
    6. You gave each person a full goodbye (cheek kisses and a hug).

  4. My nani came from Calabria and my papa from Bari. They bought a two flat in Cicero. 14th and 61st Ct.Next street over from Berwyn. Last name Ladisa.

  5. Our grandparents lived in our street and Nonna took care of us when our parents worked. The table was always laid out with a a tablecloth and all manner of foods would be ready. Different foods for different grandchildren according to our preferences.Nothing was too
    Much trouble. I remember her house smelling of honey as she baked her early morning honey biscuits.my grandfather’s vegetable garden was legendary . Many celebrations were had , many card games were played , much love was given to all of us . So much so that each grandchild thought they were the ‘favourite’Our grandparents were of different stock – so courageous and strong but soft and accomodating to us – the money handshake, the stories , the kindness and incredible sage wisdom. I miss them everyday!

  6. Love this! I have similar memories with my family. Going to Nonna and Nonno every Sunday. You were never invited but expected. I grew up in Lyons, not from Berwyn.
    My mom owned Michael’s Pizza on Ogden Ave.

  7. Michael, your grandparents were the best. They were such hardworking people and always kind to everyone in the neighborhood. We had a great block. Ask your Mom.

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