'Mezzetti Street is well-known in Budrio as the location of one of our main supermarkets! Alberto Mezzetti's ocarinas are on display in the room we rent as a church on Sundays! So how exciting it was on our recent visit to the UK to meet a descendent of the Mezzetti family, Ed Mezzetti, attending one of our EMF supporting churches - York Evangelical Church!
Stefano had already been put in touch with Ed through an Italian student attending Edinburgh Theological Seminary and they had chatted on Zoom about the Mezzetti family link with Budrio, without realising that Ed and his family attended YEC. Then when we visited YEC in July and Ed told us he would be at the meeting, it came as such a special surprise! It was amazing to see how God had been at work and how a descendent of this well-known family from Budrio is going into the ministry in the UK. We now have plans for bringing Ed over to Budrio for a special outreach connected to the ocarina festival in our community here!'
Ed Mezzetti has given us permission to reprint (below) the story of his connection with Budrio. You can read more about Ed on his blog.
'Surnames are an important part of who we are. Our first names were generally chosen by our parents, but our surnames are handed down by successive generations. They tell us we are part of a family lineage that we may be able to trace back over hundreds of years. And even if we can’t draw up an elaborate family tree with a series of branches spreading back into history, our surnames still tell us something of where we have come from.
Before people meet me and have just seen my surname is Mezzetti, they often correctly assume it is Italian, but then expect me to be ‘more Italian’ than I am! Sure, I love pasta, pizza and football, but I am fairly English looking and certainly sounding. Indeed, I sometimes say that the most Italian thing about me is my name.
My Italian heritage has always been of interest to me, not least as a student of history, but it nonetheless feels fairly distant. It was thanks to my great, great grandfather Alberto, who settled in London towards the end of the 19th century, that the Mezzettis came to these shores. I was born around a century later, by which time my brother and I could only claim to be 1/16 Italian if such pronouncements meant anything.
Like many from his native Budrio, a small town near to Bologna in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Alberto Mezzetti was a keen ocarina player. This was and still is a smallish woodwind instrument with various finger holes that comes in different sizes to produce a variety of tones. Alberto and his brother Ercole were part of an ocarina ensemble called The Mountaineers of the Apennines, who travelled about Europe around the time of Italy’s unification. You can read a bit more about them in articles like this, or you could head here for more background.
Eventually, the Mezzetti brothers decided to emigrate permanently, with Ercole running an ocarina factory in Paris and Alberto a music shop and teaching business in London, even writing the Mezzetti Ocarina Tutor, which is still available on second-hand book sites.
All this seemed interesting, but fairly niche history. Budrio was part of my family’s history and a place which I knew still very much celebrated the ocarina today, but it was all quite distant.
However, while chatting with an Italian student at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, I discovered that he came from Bologna and knew the pastor of a new church that had recently started up in Budrio.
As someone training to be a Christian minister in the UK, it was exciting to hear of this new development in my family’s ‘home town’. I was able to meet Stefano Mariotti, who is the pastor of Chiesa La Piazza in Budrio, on Zoom and hear how God was at work in the town. When people faithfully proclaim the gospel, Jesus promises to build his church, and that is happening in Budrio, just as it is throughout the world.
Stefano and I had a good conversation that afternoon, but we hadn’t yet made another connection… the church Cat and I attend, York Evangelical Church (YEC), is one of many in the UK to support Chiesa La Piazza through the European Mission Fellowship. Indeed, earlier this month Stefano, his wife Jenny and Raffaela, another member of Chiesa La Piazza, visited YEC as part of a ‘UK tour’ to share news from Budrio and encourage us to pray for God’s work there.
It was fantastic to meet them in person and discover more about how this church is reaching out with the good news of Jesus in the town where my ancestors lived.
- In the video (from 2021) Jenny and Stefano tell of how the Lord is blessing the work in Budrio
All this has meant that Budrio no longer feels such a distant place that purely speaks of family history and the origin of my surname. I look forward to seeing and hearing how God will use Chiesa La Piazza for his glory in Budrio and now have a far greater reason to visit in the future. I am even told that there is a ‘Mezzetti Street’ in the town.
Chiesa La Piazza is small but growing and has forged many new links in Budrio. While the town is still renowned for its ocarinas and holds an annual festival, I pray that in years to come it will also be known as a place where people who don’t yet know Jesus come to follow him.
It is a quirk of history that there are not many Mezzettis in the UK, but as a Christian I am part of a huge worldwide family that spans geography and history. It was therefore particularly encouraging to make this link between my genealogical family and these brothers and sisters in Christ living in Budrio.'