Sunday, July 20, 2008

Forza D'Agro

Another short vignette from my Sicily collection, this story is about the small hill top town of Forza D'Agro, which was destroyed in World War II and hasn't really been fixed up since. Some scenes of The Godfather were shot there, making the church a popular destination for fans of the films. Enjoy.

Imagine sitting out on your balcony one night, and in the distance you can hear dull humming slowly getting louder. Then, before you know it, B-52’s are above you dropping their payloads, and the lights go out. This was the first time we destroyed this town. Sixty years after the invasion of Sicily during World War II, and the ancient stronghold at Forza D’Agro is still in ruins. It was amazing to be walking through a preserved battlefield. This place is literally a ghost town—most of the 500 villagers are now old and dying off.

It wasn’t always like this. Kristi and I walked through the cemetery on the mountaintop, overlooking the ruins, overlooking the town below. Death, upon dying, upon rebirth. This town may never flourish again. Like soil that’s been trampled on so many times, nothing new can grow. Somewhere up there all the Salvatore’s and Vito’s are crying in the wind. They want us out. The second time we humiliated this town was when we filmed The Godfather here. Any Italian stereotype you can think of probably has roots to this place. Now yuppies like to visit in the summer and snap photos.

As Kristi and I walked through the town we made a wrong turn, and an enormous German Shepherd started barking with fury. His message: back off. Even the animals made it clear that the wounds went deep and we weren’t wanted here.

Before we left we had one last order of business. Some local had parked his car right next to our tour bus, and we couldn’t maneuver around it. Some of the guys started to bounce it, meaning we just knocked and pushed the car until it was out of the way. Some locals looked on disapprovingly. The alarm went off, disrupting the tranquility. Once again, we’d bothered the people of this town.


Carter Corriston said...

You may be intersted to know that when I visited Forza D'Agro in early July the my wife's family, who have a summer home there, told me they were rebuilding the monastery into either a hotel or condominium. I could not understand which one. Also the Osteria in town was incredible the best seafood we had in the two weeks we were in town.

Carter Corriston said...

Sorry I meant best seafood in Italy