Joe Giudice will be deported to Italy after he’s released from prison, an immigration court ruled on Wednesday, but will life in the Italian countryside be an upgrade from Montville, N.J.?
The ancestral home of both Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, 46, and her husband, is Sala Consilina, a town of over 12,000 residents, located in the province of Salerno in the southwest of Italy. Set amid scenic rolling hills, it’s the largest town in the region’s valley known as Vallo di Diano, which is a National Park and World Heritage Site. Joe was born there and Teresa’s mother was pregnant with her when they left the town behind.
In an episode of RHONJ that aired in 2010, the couple and their daughters Milania and Audriana traveled to the area, visiting Joe’s “Nona” and cousins and Teresa’s father, who still owns a home in the area. “It’s my dream to be able to fix it up for him one day,” Teresa wrote of the house at the time in a Bravo blog post. “I just love the area. It’s so beautiful,” she said, adding “You guys need to take a trip to Sala Consilina, especially if you want to meet hot Italian women or great looking guys!”
While the rugged natural beauty of southern Italy arguably has a leg up on the landscape of his current home of Montville Township, New Jersey, Joe, 46, may find live there a little isolated. It lays just under two hours south of its nearest city of Naples, and four from Rome. Montville, by comparison, is about an hour’s drive from New York City. The northern New Jersey town’s population is also nearly double Sala Consilina’s at 21,000 as of the 2010 census.
The couple may not have to compete with a bevy of other Bravo stars to earn the title of town celebrity in Sala Consilina. The area’s other biggest star may have been Giovanni Martini, who emigrated to the U.S., changed his name to John Martin and was the lone surviving member of the army of General George A. Custer at Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, in 1876. Morris County, where Montville is located, has been home to celebs like Whitney Houston, Peter Dinklage, Jane Krakowski, James Gandolfini, Kevin Jonas and Babe Ruth.
Montville’s main attraction is the relatively quiet community and well-heeled residents. The median household income from 2012 to 2016 was $128,000, according to the U.S. census. It’s also a popular place to raise a family. Nearly 24% of the population was under 18 in 2010. As for activities in the area, Montville is known for hiking, pristine parks and historical monuments like the Henry Doremus House, which dates to the 18th century.
Sala Consilina’s biggest tourist attractions are mainly churches, including the Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo, the Battistero Paleocristiano San Giovanni in Fonte, a baptism site built on a natural spring in nearby Padula, and some ancient ruins. The ruins of the Castello Normanno di Sala Consilina, a former fortress that, according to several sources, was built by the Norman Duke Roberto il Guidscardo, likely date back to the year 1000.
Joe is currently serving out a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016. He is set to be released in 2019. His wife Teresa, 46, served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes and was released on Dec. 23, 2015. The couple share daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9.
An immigration court ruled on Wednesday that Joe, who emigrated to America as a child, but never obtained citizenship, will be deported to his home country of Italy upon his release.
According to U.S. law, immigrants can be deported from the United States if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.”
Joe has 30 days to appeal the court’s decision, though it remains unclear whether he will do so. When reached by PEOPLE, his immigration attorneys did not yet have comment. James J. Leonard Jr., the Giudice family attorney, also declined to comment on Wednesday’s news, as did Bravo.