Pietro A. Bonamico BARRE — Pietro Alessandro Bonamico, 89, died on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, at his home. He was comfortable and communicative with the family at his side during the final days. Pietro "Piero" was born on July 8, 1929, in Genoa, Italy, and moved permanently to the United States in 1971. He became a naturalized citizen in 1976. In the first half of his life, he experienced the atrocities of war, a trek across Europe, a globe-spanning career on the high seas, and ultimately, the love story that brought him to settle in Barre and become a stay-at-home dad, gardener, pizza chef and member of the Presbyterian Church Choir. During his adolescence, Genoa was a frequent target of Allied bombings. Food was scarce, his family was displaced, and he learned the value of food not only as sustenance, but as social currency. In war-ravaged Italy, vegetables smuggled from the countryside could be traded for shelter, and a bottle of wine could facilitate passage through a checkpoint. His willingness to find these essentials caught the eye of young Fascists who indoctrinated him into their crew. This difficult period of Piero's life was documented in "Il Resolto" by Italian filmmaker Giovanni Donfrancesco. After the war, Piero made his way to France, learned the language, and began working in kitchens in Strasbourg. From there, he moved on to London and learned the intricacies of first-class service at the Savoy Hotel. There, he saw the opportunities on the grand ocean liners of the day and returned to Genoa's docks to secure a job with the Italian Line. It was on one of these voyages that he met Lee Aura Sanguinetti and fell in love. The dashing, multilingual, man-in-perpetual-motion followed her to small-town Vermont. Once again, it was food that opened doors for Piero. His enormous hands and boisterous personality, along with pizzas, lasagnas, veal "birds" and pesto, brought people together. From his kitchen table to Waitsfield's Beef and Bottle in the '70s, Angelino's Pizza in the '90s, Presbyterian Church banquets, Spaulding High School Music Department fundraisers, Polenta festivals and private parties, Piero thrived. The final expression came when Miche Poirier built a beautiful granite pizza oven for his garden. Here, he perfected his recipe for the dough cooked in the 750˚ oven and hosted dozens of parties for friends, neighbors and community groups, including the Aldrich Public Library and the Mad River Chorale. He was at his zenith when children were involved, singing with them as he taught them to make their pizzas. The boy who starved on the streets of Genoa became a man surrounded by children, slinging pizzas one after another into an outdoor oven on beautiful summer days. Ultimately, the people with whom he foraged mushrooms on damp autumnal mornings in Peacham or those summoned to his studio, where the desk was covered with note-filled pads and books stacked five tall, knew him best and learned from the wisdom of his words. These, along with his cooking and singing, will be missed. He is survived by his wife, Lee Aura; sons Marco (Bologna, Italy), Piero (Arlington, Virginia) and Nicholas (Berkley, California); niece Sirena (Brooklyn, New York); and granddaughter Elena (Milan, Italy). He was predeceased by his six Italian siblings: sisters Emma, Pia, Thelma, Elsa and Tulia; and brother Pino. In keeping with Piero's spirit, the family has chosen to hold a memorial service in the late Spring and have set up a website at www.pierobonamico.com to collect stories for, and share information about, this event. Please visit and leave your email, and you will be informed when plans are finalized. The family wants to extend its gratitude to all the people who have supported us over the past two years. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Aldrich Public Library, 6 Washington St., Barre, VT 05641. The Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St., Barre, is in charge of the arrangements. For a memorial guestbook, visit www.hookerwhitcomb.com.