Rus Articles Journal

Mediterranean triangle. Began part 2

Attempt to learn the truth about mafia at “insiders“ we made in one city of “a mafia triangle“ - Menfi.

There there live Alik and Nina Dlugi about whom we were told by friends. The programmer and the oncologist from Russia to 1970 - e emigrated to New - York where they succeeded. But a few years ago, having a rest in Palermo, incidentally got acquainted at restaurant with the person similar to the actor Robert Mitchum. Nina who also the quite good artist, outlined a pencil portrait of Giuseppe Calcagno and that invited a couple to himself in Menfi. There was a full change of destiny further. Giuseppe whom friends call Pippo, persuaded - York inhabitants to move the nu which attracted to him to Sicily. He entered them into local society, helped to build the house on the seashore and even convinced the authorities to carry out the road to a new building.

that Pippo of Menfi can convince anyone and of anything we were assured by

. For example, to persuade the peasants who are growing up grapes of which do the well-known Sicilian Planet wine, to hand over a harvest only on the winery belonging to it with partners. Or to convince owners of the prestigious building at a city square to sell it to Pippo under a collection of wines with the eloquent name “Wine Press“. Sitting with it at a little table, we got acquainted with all city.

“I was born

in Menfi - here me all and know, - is proud the owner told. - Here both my great-grandfather, and my grandfather, and my father, and my godfather were born...“

of Journalists from Moscow, arrived to Pippo, is sent to greet both the mayor present, and the mayor former. The first was the huge big fellow with a gold chain on a neck, and the second - the intellectual - the architect. The captain of carabineers in a beautiful uniform took leave with us also. Continually approached “to render respect“ some people. There was a full feeling that the center of city life is in “A wine press“. Having seized minute when we remained alone, I asked Pippo a question of mafia.

- Inventions, - he answered and tasty dragged on a cigar, - can, in Palermo and is, and at us is not present.

- Really and “pizza“ nobody pays to any more racketeers?

- Is not present


- Well, and bribes to officials, a sanepidemstantion...

- I do not pay: I am businessman and did not get used to throw away money, - the owner of “A wine press“ smiled broadly.

I to the businessman did not ask More silly questions to


Searches of traces of mafia we continued

on the advice of Pippo in Palermo. “If about cosa nostra we are not told frankly by the sister of the dead prosecutor Falcone, Maria Falcone, then to address there is nobody more“, - I thought while we went to it on a meeting. Went by the monument to the victims of mafia established near a staff - the apartment of carabineers. In the neighboring building the Institute on studying of behavior of deaf-mutes was located. “Interestingly, there try to open the omerta nature?“

After death of the brother Maria Falcone created Fund of his memory. The judge Giovanni Falcone became history the fact that struck the most sore point of mafia - to cash flows, first of all on money laundering, received from drug traffic. The native of Corleone, he managed to convince many witnesses - fellow countrymen to break an omerta. Falcone was seated on a dock about five hundred mafioso, but also by him, and his successor and the friend Borsellino were killed in 1992 - m, when began to dig under the Roman ministers connected with mafia.

“But even the death of my brother served as

to his business. Giovanni`s funeral became a turning point in psychological fight with cosa nostra. People who considered earlier that mafia at all the odium nevertheless keeps order where powerlessly the state began to consider it as the evil, - Maria Falcone`s voice rattled, as at the present a tribune which got used to address thousands of people. - Mafia is not only special form of the extra state executive power or power economic. The most dangerous in it the fact that the special mentality is peculiar to it. Mafia imposed to Sicilians the distorted idea of a family, friendship, respect for seniors“.

Maria Falcone concentrated the efforts on discrediting of mafia romanticism among youth. She acts at universities and schools, brings together supporters around the world. Its fund publishes books about cosa nostra, first of all Giovanni Falcone, one of which (in Russian) it presented also to us. On a question, mafia is how strong today, Falcone answered that on Sicily she is still living, though lost that power which she possessed in 1990 - e years.“ The most dangerous criminal organization now not here, and in Calabria - “Ndrangeta“ (the distorted Greek andreia kai agathiau - “courage and valor“). As soon as one group weakens, its place is taken right there by another. So nobody can relax. Including to you, Russians. Still Giovanni warned that criminals and from Russia stepped on the world stage. But nevertheless it is easier to fight with all others, than with cosa nostra: they do not corrupt to a shower of the people“.

that mafia is live, and an omerta not an empty phrase we were convinced by

on the same day. At last, from the third calling Assisi where in 1969 cosa nostra, revenging for a failure of one of the operations with stolen art, stole Caravaggio`s picture was succeeded to be included in San Lorenzo`s oratorio at San Francesco`s church d“. Even in former attempts to come into the oratorio we noticed that on the square where there is a church, carabineers with automatic machines constantly are on duty.

- Really stand since 1969 that did not steal the rest? - I asked the priest.

- Is not present

, - the padre sadly answered, - protect the next candy store which owner broke an omerta.

In a candy store of “the Antique of Fokachcheria“ - not a soul, though in the next cafe there`s not an inch of room. The scared sellers pressed the heads in shoulders, once I got into a bag behind the camera. The carabineer approached and severely asked not to remove here. Neither he, nor sellers answered my questions nor words.

Collision with “mafia humdrum of life“ became the last impression of Palermo before our trip on the opposite end of the island. It is good that before taxiing on the highway conducting on the East we dropped into the town of Montreal which became now practically the suburb of the capital. The local cathedral returned festive mood with which Sicily generally pleases. It turned out that with the Byzantine art the island was lucky at all not less, than with antique temples: the Montreal mosaics are the best that remained on the earth from art of the artists creating the creations from pieces of multi-colored glass - smalt. You will not meet such safety, such unity of ensemble and such amazing maturity of skill neither in Constantinople, nor in Venice, nor in Kiev. We are obliged by all this to the Norman king of Sicily Wilhelm II who invited here masters from Tsargrad.

Flashback 5. Impudence

This brilliant knightly adventure began

in 1045 when the team in only three tens soldiers sailed to look for from coast of Northern France of happiness in the south of Italy. However the unrestrained giant Robert Gviscar, one costing to the whole army conducted it. To this descendant of Vikings it became close in Normandy captured by his ancestors, and he decided to win glory and lands in the Mediterranean. Gviscar possessed not only the legendary force and courage, but also wisdom of the great person. Smashing troops of the Pope, the Byzantine and German emperors, this sixth son of the mean baron turned soon into the duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily. Return under the power of a cross of Sicily fought by it off Arabs made Robert Gviscar who is once anathematized “for robbery“ both the Pope, and the Constantinople patriarch, the hero of all Christian world. In 1130 the nephew of the great soldier Roger II received already royal title from the father. At his grandson Wilhelm II Korolewstwo Sicily included not only the South of Italy and the island, but also modern Tunisia. Normans governed, showing toleration and having taken all the best from the western Catholics, orthodox Byzantines and Arabs - Muslims.

the Cathedral in Montreal was also thought of the king Wilhelm as a symbol of this synthesis of cultures. Therefore in the Catholic temple we see the Byzantine mosaics and lancet Arab arches. But even it it seemed to the Norman a little. Having emphasized the ambitions on revival of the Roman Empire, the king decorated a cathedral also magnificent antique columns.

Through an hour and a half when about the sea remained one reminiscence, we reached most mountain “regional center“ of the island. Enna is called by “a balcony of Sicily“, and, standing there, above a tower of Norman fortress, you understand why. Chains of the Blue Mountains casting an emerald of spring greens thaw on the horizon in blue of the sky. On the majestic rock opposite to Enna the last stronghold of Arabs - the fortified city of Kalashibetta is seen.


- Norman opposition remains behind, and our immersion in history continues. Having slipped picturesque published, and close rather dirty town of Pyazza - Armerina, we appear on an ancient Roman country house of Romano del Cazale. Circumstances of its find force to remember movies Indiana Jones. In the 18th century when plowing the cozy valley in five kilometers from Pyazz - Armerina peasants found gold coins. Numismatists defined that they treat the 3rd century, and several generations of archeologists tried to understand how they appeared in such remote place.

Good luck smiled to the engineer Luigi Pappalardo. In 1881 he came across part of a magnificent floor mosaic. It became clear that the house of the Roman times underground disappears. But then on half a century of work in Pyazz - to Armerina were interrupted. Only in 1930 - e years of Mussolini, seeking to find traces of the Roman greatness everywhere, organized the real excavation. 3500 square meters shaking on the beauty and safety of mosaics of the III-V centuries were opened. whether

Should be surprised to

that Sicily was lucky again also anything there is no similar in the world?

of the Mosaic were decorated by floors grandiose by the sizes and richness of the Roman country house. After invasion it is ready and vandals she was abandoned, and then in general is buried under a mountain landslide.

Scientists proclaimed

the owner of a country house of a sopravitel of Diokletian of the emperor Maksimian, and she received the magnificent name Imperial. But the last finds indicate that, most likely, largest “producer“ of ancient Roman “show business“ Valery Populony was an owner. He arranged gladiatorial fights and animal persecution by request of the emperor Konstantin. Not incidentally scenes in circus, and also catching of animals meet most often. But also other plots are enough - not without reason Cazale`s country house is considered richest “reference book“ on ancient Roman life. Mussolini, for example, was delirious with delight when it was found out that the clothes of legionaries were decorated by swastika signs. And here in bikini then nobody paid attention to the Roman ladies. Only after the similar bathing suit was newly invented by the French fashion designers in 1940 - e years, “dancers in bikini from Cazale“ became popular. The Taym magazine even decorated with their image the cover.

Already in 1960 - e years over mosaics built a glass roof and threw a metal planked footway on which the public can walk. Two scenes interested us especially:“ Fight of gods with giants “and“ Odissey and Polyphemus“. And not because at Polyphemus`s Cyclops not one eye, but for some reason two normal and one more in a forehead. Interested - because reminded of a volcano Etna where we gathered next day. Greeks believed that Athena pressed down this mountain of the strongest of giants - Enkelada. When he tries to get out outside, eruption begins. And according to Homer and Virgil, on slopes of Etna there were caves of a Cyclops, in one of which Odysseys blinded Polyphemus.

I here we at the biggest volcano of Europe. The farther from the last housing in the town Nikolozi, the feeling is stronger that you got to space of the ancient myth. Magnificent greens remain below, and languages rare first of the cooled-down lava soon are already visible everywhere. Earth when our world, such, perhaps was born was such, it will be when he dies. At the height of 1900 meters we get into the elevator, and from a cabin the view of craters of former eruptions opens. Etna every time pours out the lava from a new opening in terrestrial go on.

On a mark of 2550 meters we change in buses - SUVs and on the black desert from volcanic dust where snow in places lies, we roll up almost to 3000. Further us the guide Luigi on foot conducts. The first that he speaks: if eruption begins, then we will manage to escape - we will have at least 20 minutes. The mountain is watched by experts all the time, and, above all - new attempt of the titan Enkelad to get out will be given by color of a smoke. Usually grayish, it at first becomes dairy - white, then red and, at last, blue. Then eruption begins. At us everything was silent. Etna was peacefully smoked by a grayish smoke, we walked in file on a slope and admired a stunning view of Catania lying below. Even it was visible continental Italy behind a green smooth surface of the Strait of Messina. Externally disappointed, but secretly pleased with tranquility of a volcano, we went down, and Etna next day - on May 10 jerked. Luigi did not deceive - the victims were not. We did not see eruption as we were already in Sirakuzakh, but heard - explosion thundered powerful.


during eruption we sat in the Greek theater under the open sky in Sirakuzakh and watched Eskhil`s tragedy “Agamemnon“. In spite of the fact that to both theater, and the tragedy two and a half millennia, also did not smell of antiquity on a scene. Musicians played accordions, actors went with microphones and without any masks and buskins, and choristers in general defiantly smoked, starting up a smoke ringlets. All this modernism is clear: the troupe and the director self-express, they want to show that theater in Sirakuzakh - business live, but not a tourist attraction. But Eskhil who, by the way, died not in native Athens, and during “tours“ on Sicily would hardly be delighted. It is all the same as though in the Bolshoi Theatre the prince Igor sang under balalaikas, and Cumans beat off a tap dance. Caps which it is universal finished us all men on a scene carried. I did not keep and asked neighbors that it means. “Coppola - a symbol of mafia“. What does it have to do with the director of “Godfather“ Francis Coppola, we from the first did not understand.“ Coppola on - Sicilian is called the traditional country cap which became a symbol of rural mafiosi. Eskhil`s tragedy is read through a prism of a problem of mafia“, - explained to us.

Having realized all depth and versatility of communications of italoamerikanets of Coppola with a subject of mafia, we left hospitable, but Archimedes`s homeland which is too “licked“ and hammered with tourists - Syracuse. The last of ours pass - travel on Sicily there was a film travel to the world of “Godfather“.

All main Sicilian scenes from the movie, except for an ending “The godfather - 3“, developed in Palermo Theatre of Massimo, Coppola removed in the east of the island, near the resort town of Taormina. In Taormina it is possible to make only an advertizing tourist roller about infinite hotels and hordes of vacationers.

the Image of the homeland of Don of Corleone the director created

in the mountain small villages lying in depth from the coast. For example, in an episode where the bodyguard speaks to Michael (Al Pacino): “Michele, here Corleone“, - and to us the picturesque houses and church stuck at mountain top show, - the village of Motta - Kamastra was removed. By the way, at all participants of this scene on the cap heads - Coppola.

But the majority of those episodes where business allegedly happens in Corleone, were played in the village of Savoka. It still, despite emergence of ugly modern houses, the real Sicilian mountain nest. Having parked the car at legendary bar of Vitelli where Michael asked her hands and hearts from the beloved Appoloniya`s father, you have a strange feeling. It seems as it is advisable to smile indulgently, having heard flowing from the loudspeakerov a melody from “Godfather“ and having seen the Englishwomen who are photographed at an entrance. But here you sit down precisely where Al Pacino, the old woman Maria who manages half a century here sat, brings you coffee - and the delight of personal participation in a film legend begins to get into soul. The same feeling is covered also in local church by Santa Lyuchiya where Michael and Appoloniya got married. I advise to visit also church of the Mother of God in the neighboring village of Fortsa - d “Agro: it from its steps of the murderer - mafiosi shout to inhabitants that they gave little Vito.

But the legendariest place of shootings of “Godfather“ on Sicily is a country house of Kastello of a dea of Skyavi on the suburb of the town of Fyyumifreddo, kilometers in fifty from Taormina. This paradise place surrounded with orange gardens belongs to Franco Platana. Our visit there not really successfully began: from - for a blind fence was distributed fierce bark of dogs. But hardly the owner learned that we are the Russian journalists, before us all doors were opened. Sentencing: “All for the mother of Russia“, he led us on the possession which “play“ in all three “Godfathers“ a role of the estate of the Sicilian friend of the family Corleone of Don of Tommazino. Here disappeared after flight from New - York Michael (Al Pacino), distributed gifts to relatives young Don Corleone (Robert de Niro) here, Tommazino Vincent (Andy Garcia) conferred with the old man Don here.

We cost

at ancient gate where the car with Appoloniya exploded:“ Here the same as to you, I showed the country house for the first time to Coppola, and he made me the proposal which I could not refuse“, - Franco laughs. The offer it loaded with money the owner: Skyavi began to spend couple of days to Kastello of a dea by cinema, fashionable at rich fans. For quite some time now also large corporations chose this place for negotiations and - la mafia. Already indoors, with its unique atmosphere of the real Sicilian clan nest, we learned the reason of love of the owner to Russians. One week prior to our arrival Gazprom chiefs invited here “to posekretnichat“ people from “Rurgaz“. The moment when Franco put a chair on that place in the yard where Michael dies became deification of our visit, and I kartinno fell from it, playing a final scene from “Godfather“.

we Departed from Sicily from Katanyi, and all passengers stuck to windows, seeing off eyes a huge triangle of the island with a bulk of Etna. Not without reason Greeks named him Trinikriya - “triangle“ - and represented in the form of the head with three legs. From each of the parties Sicily is washed by the sea: Ionic, Tirrensky and Mediterranean. Weather was ideal, and visibility as pilots speak, - “one million on one million“. Otherwise when parting with this island also could not be.