THE STORY OF MARIA BARONE, THE TEACHER TO THE FARMERS’ CHILDREN
Maria Carmela Rosa Caterina Barone was Carmine but for every one she was simply “Teacher Barone”. She was not born in Gratteri but she was loved and appreciated by those humble people as if she was. During the first part of 1900, she was in fact one of the youngest teachers sent to work in Gratteri, to go around the countryside and teach how to read and how to write to the children of poor farmers that worked there from dusk until dawn. On December 20 she eventually married Stefano Lanza, gratterese, of noble origins, son of Mr. Rosario and Mrs. Giuseppa Lanza. Stefano’s father owned in fact some large ex feuds around Gratteri and lived with his family in the side street that from Via Castellana (nowadays Via Ruggieri) leads to Via Pozzarello – eventually renamed Via Lanza/Salita Orto – right from the name of the Lanza’s garden.
Don Rosario was also Gratteri’s chairman until 1890 and had five children that carried on the family’s honor: Salvatore (1872), Antonio (1881), Lucrezia (1882), Rosalia (1884) e Stefano (1886). After the wedding, Maria Barone taught in Gratteri’s the elementary schools located at the time in Piazza Monumento and lived there until 1944. After the sorrowful death of her husband, she moved out to Cefalù with her children: Rosario (1922), Silvano (1924, still lives in Philadelphia), Giuseppa (1926), Vittorio (1932, still lives in Milan).
Still nowadays the oldest grandmas of Gratteri remember Teacher Barone with respect and great appreciation. In the picture Lanza Antonio and his wife. Stefano Lanza and Maria Barone in 1919; Rosario Lanza in 1925; female school class of Gratteri; birth certificate of Stefano Lanza.
Reconstruction of M.Fragale, Pictures of Maria Lanza’s nephew #TimeToReturn