Roberto was born in Catania, Sicily, in
Italy in 1936.
After his father Antonios death,
Robertos mother moved them to stay with her sisters family in Messina, the city now
under American occupation which became increasingly welcomed as the months passed.
It was there from age 8-15 when Roberto began to identify closely with American vitality
and exuberance, his curiosity about the United States growing daily. Roberto picked
up english quickly while fraternizing with the Americans. Robertos aunt and
uncle were fairly well off Sicilians, his uncle an administrator of sorts for the city of
Messina and an important liaison to the American occupation.
Vec had taught Roberto everything about
wine from fermentation to wholesaling.
The only thing missing in his immigration success story was a woman. He had experienced much luck in 1950s West Los Angeles, often seeing aspiring actresses from month to month and young students from UCLA, instantly swept away by his natural charm and vitality. But up north, for nearly 15 years his attention was entirely to his business. Tourism boomed in northern and southern California in the 1960s and 70s, including wine tasting, and Palazzio Vineyards produced more than enough to enable Roberto to travel to England where, in 1974 he met Angela Barrie while taking photographs for recreation in Trafalgar Square. She found him irresistibly handsome and confidently made his acquaintance. When Angela asked how long he had been in London from Italy he apparently responded in his heavy accent, "I happen to be American, Im here from California, and have you ever by chance been to a place called Disneyland?"
Roberto and Angela were married six months later in Catania. I was honored to be her Maid of Honor, I am Francesca, Robertos younger sister and, aside from Angela, his only true confidant. Angela and Roberto bought a residence on Gordon St., London and enjoyed each others company every minute of every day, their comfort uninterrupted due to the continued success of the Palazzio Villa, which Roberto ran by telephone from Gordon St. In 1980 Angela passed due to breast cancer, leaving Roberto lonely, but fulfilled rather than empty.
Years later I realize that that is the essence of the mystique and wonder surrounding Roberto, that he was happy even after Angela passed, having "tasted the most premium of love available to a human being," as he used to put it. Much the same way he thought fine vine should be appreciated. Roberto never married again, he never needed to. He continued to live in London, although traveled to nearly every cosmopolitan city on the globe during the 1980s and 90s. A Labrador retriever became Robertos best company for his final years, traveling with him between England, Italy and America. Roberto Died in April 1999, of natural causes in a hotel in Milan Italy, on business. We, the remaining Palaccios, know Roberto passed while doing what he loved, making his fortune in this world.
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