Today we struck out into the “hinterlands” – what they call the country here. And on the public bus! We felt very proud to have graduated from the Hop-On bus. Our aim was to find a little town somewhere off the beaten path and have lunch – avventura! (Adventure!)
Our options were limited by the bus schedule, so we settled on Forza D’Agro, which we really knew nothing about except it was in the mountains. I looked it up on TripAdvisor for some restaurant recommendations, and off we went.
We drove along the sea and then turned inward, corkscrewing up switchback after switchback to the tippity-top. What a view!
The bus dropped us in a little square with about a half-dozen tourists lingering – definitely off the beaten path. It was beautiful with a fountain, cafe, and cathedral looking down it.
Then – imagine our surprise when we took a closer look at the shop and discovered that this is where “The Godfather” was filmed. There was a picture of Al Pacino at that very fountain. A wedding scene took place at the church. Cool!
We set off to explore the flower-filled streets– very peaceful. At noon, instead of bells, a loudspeaker played Ave Maria. Frank and I just stopped – all alone in a narrow alleyway and held hands – it was like God was singing to us. Truly a moment in time.
An Epic Lunch at Il Padrino
We were hungry by this time, so headed to the place I had found on TripAdvisor – Il Padrino (The Godfather).
It had a stunning view over the sea. We could see the Straits of Messina across to Calabria in Southern Italy.
And it was full of local families – we were the only non-Italians there. They had pictures lining the wall of the “Godfather cast eating there – Diane Keaton, Al Pacino – even Francis Ford Coppola.
The staff spoke “un poco” English, and we spoke “un poco” Italiano, so we learned that they only had fish and had a fixed menu – all inclusive. They set a jug of wine down on our table and said they would bring out fish dishes until we said stop.
We had at least a dozen appetizers before declaring “basta” (finished), opted out of the pasta course, and requested a half-portion of the main course of pesce mista alla griglia (mixed grilled fish). All of this with unlimited wine. Finally, we said no more, and they brought out dolci (desserts) and three bottles filled with limoncello, amaro, and grappa and left on the table to help ourselves to as much as we wanted. Then espresso. All for 25 Euro each. Amazing.
One of our best meals in Italy ever.
And – we made it back to the bus and back home – very full, weary, and with a wee headache. Life in Sicilia.