Giuseppe, and Memories of Monica Bellucci

August 2, 2011

It’s 7am and already hot in Siracusa. A scirocco is blowing.

I find Giuseppe sitting on his motorino. The way he waves me over makes me think he’s a little bit crazy.

He’s not surprised when I ask if I can take his photo.  He seems to have been waiting for someone like me.

“I was in a film with Monica Belluci,” he says.

A crazy jokester, this guy.

“No, no, veramente!” he says. “You know Malèna?”

“The Tornatore film?”

“Yes, that one. I was in a group of men that yelled Ciao Bella as she walked by. And then, let’s see, there was a scene I played with Mussolini, and we all yelled Il Duce !”

“So you were an actor!”

“Well, I also worked on botta here in the port.”

“What’s botta?”

“Botta, ship.” He’s suddenly trying to speak English.

“What did you do?”

Here Giuseppe loses me, saying something about working inside the boat.

“Did you repair the boat?” I ask.

No, no.

“Did you clean? Cook?”

No, no.

He points to a lamp post and says “material like that.”

Maybe he was a welder?

But we don’t pursue the topic because Giuseppe isn’t interested. He wants to talk movies. He was in other films, too, with other actresses. What were their names? He’s forgotten, but the light in his eyes tells me that those were the days.


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Congratulations to Janie, who has just won the cookbook raffle. Janie is passionate about two things: cooking and Italy. Take a look at her super-scrumptious blog, Panini Girl.

20 comments to Giuseppe, and Memories of Monica Bellucci

  • I love how you bring us right in there to your beautiful life in Sicily–Giuseppe is a Gem!

  • Fun post with Giuseppe, especially since my husband and I were there when they filmed the movie. My husband and I walked into the piazza where the actors were resting and having coffee outdoors at a cafe – all in period costume. We ordered coffee and chatted with them and just when my cannolo was delivered, Tornatore ordered all the public off the set and the actors back to work. I couldn’t leave without finishing my cannolo and coffee though, could I? So we snuck into the cafe and watched the action from inside – with Monica Bellucci strutting down the piazza over and over again. You brought back some really wonderful memories.

    • Jann

      What a wonderful comment, Linda! That must have been late 90s?
      By the way, those stuffed peaches on your website are awe-inspiring!

  • Jann, I love your portrayal of Giuseppe! By all accounts, a worthy character in any movie! Your candid shots are stunning and serve to better cultivate his charming personality. I am so enjoying these character portraits!

  • Charlie

    Great photos. Equally great story.

  • When I meet someone like that, I want to sit and go through their photo albums and listen to their stories. Their weathered, expressive faces say so much.

  • Rita Price

    My father and uncle played altar boys as extras in Ragusa in the American version of “Cavalleria Rusticana”, released in 1953 under the name “Fatal Desire” starring Anthony Quinn, but I am yet to see it.

    • Jann

      Rita, I’m going to look this one up! I didn’t know they made an American version! And I’ll keep a special eye out for those altar boys.

  • Ah, jannina, you made his day. And mine, too. Nothing like remembering our glory days with someone to witness the light in our eyes.

  • What a world you and Giuseppe have given us. Worthy of Lina Wertmuller.

  • I remember that movie. I’ll have to watch it again and look for the charming Giuseppe. I can’t wait to devour the book and will let you know what I make. Grazie!

  • Love your last picture and your last line. Another wonderful word – picture portrait.

  • Lovely portrait you’ve painted of Giuseppe 🙂

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