La Mia Strada - a feature film from Michael DiLauro
“And they go down the ancient traturro to the plain. Almost down a silent grassy river following the footprints of ancient fathers…” Gabriele D’Annunzio
In the words of the director, Michael DiLauro (biography):
“This feature-length documentary explores the fragile bonds that connect a family from generation to generation, from country to country, it is a filmmaker’s personal journey along the iconic trails that Italian shepherds have used since ancient times. The focal point of La Mia Strada is the shepherd’s trail—the “ancient traturro” referred to by D’Annunzio. It has its origins in the Bronze Age (1800-700 BC), when during seasonal migrations in search of better grazing, shepherds led their flocks along the trail, often through narrow and treacherous terrain. This network of trails, covering more than 250 kilometers, starts in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, extends to Molise and Puglia, and down into the Province of Foggia—the paese of my grandparents.“
With family members and friends on both sides of the Atlantic, DiLauro seeks to make a connection between these ancient trails and the one that led to a new world. La Mia Strada is a search for identity; both the filmmaker and those connected by common threads of ethnicity. It explores the experiences and traditions associated with the trattura— the hardships and simple pleasures of the shepherds, the natural beauty of the landscape, the food, the folk art, the music, and the culture of the regions through which the trails pass. During their long months away from home, the shepherds left their cultural mark; creating poems, etchings and songs depicting their harsh and lonely way of life. On the other side of the Atlantic, the shepherd’s stories have little relevance for modern Italian-Americans, yet they speak of a simple, uncomplicated life that so many yearn for. The filmmaker’s journey is a quest to find the bond between yesterday and today, between the ancient and modern.
Over a period of years, DiLauro has conducted dozens of interviews, explored historical sites, sifted through archaeological artefacts, dug through family photographs, and immersed himself in the music, poetry, and oral histories of the Abruzzi, Molise and Puglia regions. His journey has also taken him to many Little Italy’s of The America’s. The film is a link between the ancient and contemporary histories of families divided by an ocean, yet united by an indelible genetic bond.