Forza D’Agro

20 Jul

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.


One Response to “Forza D’Agro”

  1. raffa53 August 29, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    Hello Jon, First of all I read your short comments on Forza d’Agrò in Sicily. If any bombs fell on Forza during WW2, they gladly fell on the Nazi troops who occupied the town. the local people left this town and hid in the hills behind the village. They lived in caves and were for the most part better off. At one time Forza was a prosperous village but due to hard economic times in Sicily many left to find work in the north of Italy, Germany, France…At one time there was a population of 2.000 now less than 500 remain. But in recent years people like myself (foreigners) who have homes in Forza and renovated the old homes find it a most peaceful and simple place to live. Obviously your tour guide wasn’t well informed about your visit and how much could they know if they only spent 20 minutes in the village.
    The cemetery inside the castle shows a thousand years of history and we don’t find it a negative thing that Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films were filmed here we are very proud of this.

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