25 April 2007

Venti Cinque Aprile

The 25th of April is a bank holiday here in Italy which commemorates the liberation of Italy by the allied forces during WWII. I have been struck whilst living in Europe, repeatedly, by the fact that the wars of Europe are never very far from the surface of the collective European memory of the suffering and hardship that war brings to the innocent. It's always a humbling and reflective moment for me who has been privileged enough to live free. I just want to give thanks to so many who have sacrificed their lives so that I am able to enjoy another beautiful spring day in our Italian alps. So, I've been thinking about another liberation day that was celebrated here in Italy this year and wondering how to put it into my blog. This celebration took place 12 April 2007 in Corleone, Italy. It was a town celebrating their liberation from the shadow of mafia violence and intimidation with the arrest of Mafia Don Bernardo Provenzano, who had eluded capture for 43 years. "Some 150 local students staged a “freedom run” from the centre of the Sicilian hilltown - made famous by the Godfather movies - down to the broken-down farmhouse where the Mafia chief was caught on April 11, 2006 after 43 years on the run."
Read the rest of the article in the online UK magazine "Italy".

It's been a fascinating story that broke last year upon his arrest. I was struck by how modest his life on the run was, as they showed the "farm house" where he had lived for many years which wasn't really much more than a shed. Far from the images conjured up by the movies of a comfortable, luxurious lifestyle. Hardly! They showed how he made his own cheeses and tried to make most of his own food to keep from being poisoned. He never used phones, only messages sent by messengers. His identity wasn't well known as it emerged that he had had facial surgery to disguise his identity and then later killed the doctor who performed the surgery to keep his identity unknown a number of years ago. Ruthless man and system quite a relief for the locals indeed. Read more about his capture here.
So here's to freedom for all and a lovely spring day!


rowena said...

I didn't know all that other stuff about Provenzano! Finished off his plastic surgeon?!

We only learned today that our little town's patron saint is celebrated on 4/25th so that makes twice the celebration for us. There was a big procession with the priest and entire parish going up the road from the church, with some men hoisting an upright BIG statue all the way. I was just delighted of it all. Didn't realize at first that they were reciting the Hail Mary in italian, and smelling the incense certainly brought back memories of parochial school!

Pasticciera said...

Fascinating stuff huh? I'm sure there are a lot more stories about him over the years, unsubstantiated legends.....My first midnight mass in our little local church I couldn't figure out if it was latin or Italian. It was Italian....

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