We went to visit Corleone, the famous mafia nest in the mountains of Sicilia.
It is known as the birthplace of several Mafia bosses, the real ones (Tommy Gagliano, Jack Dragna, Giuseppe Morello, Michele Navarra, Luciano Leggio, Leoluca Bagarella, Salvatore Riina and Bernando Provenzano) and the fictional ( Vito (Andolini) Corleone).
The rest of the Italians make fun of the Sicilians about how they never really answer any question, they just produce a vague sound with their mouth. It's not a yes, it's not a no. It's just a “click”, take it as you want.
Considering who their fellow citizens were, it shouldn't wonder though: any given information increased the possibility to pay with their head.
We were having coffee and I asked the waiter if there is a restaurant we could go to.
He muttered through his teeth, “Hmmm… si… La Famiglia….”
The family… Oooook.
“Is it good?”
No answer, “Click”.
I thought I missed the answer.
“Is it? Good?”
Ahaa, that's it, the “click”! But I don't surrender easily.
“Would YOU go there?”
Not even a “click”. His mouth moved in the “click” motion, but it didn't come out.
A. was looking at me, surprised about my stupidity, warning me with his look to shut up, like, what the hell do you want him to answer?! Let the man alone, maybe he can't…
I ignored A., I wasn't doing anything wrong, we were … having a conversation! Right?
I was still waiting for the response.
When the waiter finally looked at me, I made the same “click” sound with a question in my eyes.
He was surprised and then he saw I was starting to giggle. He smiled back, he lifted his eyebrows, he nodded his head a few times, … but he never said anything else.
The three of us were silently laughing (Gucci wasn't, his Italian is not very good, I suppose).
Ok, no more questions about The Family's restaurant.
What I learned in Sicily:
Is that a new dress?
Was it expensive? How much?
The shoes also? You didn’t have those before?
Did you spend the whole salary? Have you lost your mind?
Click. Click. Click. Click.
The Italian Coffee and Food
Actually, there's no point in asking if a restaurant or a bar is good in Italy, especially if it's outside of the tourist towns. They ARE!
La mamma cooks for her family and she will cook for you. And La mamma knows! Her sons also know she knows. That's why you'll never win La Mamma… La Mamma will destroy your bikini figure in 2 days. La Mamma will destroy 9 months of Crossfit in 1 week of your Italian trip.
Back home, in Croatia, we have a solid “coffee culture" and I still can't except the horrifying brownish liquid, so-called “coffee" served in small glasses in Spain.
Whenever we ask the bar owner what brand of coffee he buys , he tells us without hesitating the name of a cheap brand, because “are the famous coffee brands crazy to ask double the price I'm paying for 1 kilogram of coffee?!”
Hmmm, no, they are not crazy, that's why your coffee tastes like… (you're lucky I'm a lady and I never say “shit").
So we know exactly which bars belong to Italians and we go strictly there. Sometimes we get disappointed, the coffee tastes like crap (You see? A lady.) again and we ask the waiter if …Massimo… still owns the place.
”No, Paco bought it.”
Aha, Paco, that's what we thought.
In Italy, you don't have to worry about who owns the place. Even in the worst pigpen, the coffee tastes divine and the food is delicious.
Even if you don't have time to go to a restaurant, even if you just stop on a gas station to go to the toilet, the colorful and tastefully exposed sandwiches, focaccias, tramezzini,… oh, they just scream your name!
And the coffee… strong, short, best-branded coffee that would raise a dead from a grave…