Saturday, November 01, 2014

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NY1's Grace Rauh reports from Rome, where Mayor Bill de Blasio is vacationing with his family.

De Blasio Visits Grassano, Birthplace of His Grandmother

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It was a second homecoming in Italy for Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor returned to the village where his maternal grandmother is from. The festivities were more low key than than those in his grandfather's village the day before, making the visit a more intimate one. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

GRASSANO, ITALY—It's another day of vacation for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Another stop in a small village where residents packed the town square to see the mayor of New York City. Like his visit the day before to Sant'Agata de Goti, where his grandfather was from, this trip to his grandmother's hometown, Grassano, was also filled with emotion.

"For our family, this is an incredible moment to experience the love and support of our ancestral hometowns," de Blasio said.

A trip to de Blasio's grandmother's home seemed to be the high point of the visit. The family posed for photos outside.

"It is very different to tell stories and read about it, but to actually experience your heritage and see the place you are from so specifically is very, very powerful," de Blasio said.

With a population of 5,000 people, the town of Grassano is about half the size of Sant'Agata. It is also less wealthy.

A smaller crowd met him in Grassano, and those who came out had to contend with the heat. Many waited under a punishing sun for more than two hours to see the mayor.

"I think when you come back we will see you as president of the United States," said the mayor of Grassano, Francesco Sanseverino.

The day was not without its hiccups. The mayor and his family got caught in a sudden downpour. And the lights in the City Council chamber suddenly went out at the start of a press conference.

Nothing seemed to dampen the mayor's mood, though. He moved to a brighter location and fielded questions in English and Italian.

"This is a different kind of vacation. This gives me a lot of energy," the mayor said.

From Grassano, the mayor starts to make his way to Venice, where he will wind down his vacation. He flies back to New York on Sunday.

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