Rudolph Valentino’s Hometown

DATELINE: Past is Prologue

Of all the horrid discoveries one can make on any of those DNA-test sites, and we have had more than a few shocks, here is a bizarre and amusing detail we can share with only a tad of embarrassment.

It is always difficult to realize that your ability to trace ancestors has its limits: after all, most people were illiterate hundreds of years ago—and if the local church did not keep records, you had to be some kind of royal figure with historical clerks at the ready.

On mother’s side of the family, going back to Scotland, the Livingston clan is easily traced back to the 1300s, with some kind of baronage and hermitage at their beck and call.

The paternal side proved more elusive. However, we recently found that one direct ancestor goes back to his birth in 1738 in Castellaneta, Italy. Where the hell is that?

Thank heavens for Wikipedia, where all secrets are revealed (thanks to the Wiki police who make sure you scam artists and fraudsters don’t pollute the Internet).

It seems this city is on the arch of the boot of Italy.

It seemed appropriate that our ancestor came from the heel of geography, likely being a man with a sole, if not a complete sandal in his flip-flop past.

No, the big draw of Castellaneta is its hometown hero: Rudolph Valentino. It seems here, around the time that grand-dad (going back 3 generations) was born, so was Rudy. Not in the same place, not even remotely related to the family.

However, if there is a lady in black still dropping rose petals at Rudy’s Beverly Hills mausoleum, we now discover there is a city offering a flower to his memory: a museum, complete with costumes, posters, and a recreation of his Sheik tent.

We do not have plans to fly out there to visit either the mauso or the museo,not in a black dress, not in kicks. We were, however, greatly amused at the connection.