Sicily and Aeolian Island as a perfect setting for Love and Passion movies

Edda Ciano and the Communist
Lipari, as well as the entire island of Sicily, has always been a perfect setting for novels and motion pictures. Now we’d like to present the most recent movies filmed and set in the Aeolian Islands.
“Edda Ciano and the Communist”, based on the book, written by the Italian journalist Marcello Sorgi:  “Mr. Leonida Bongiorno”, published by Rizzoli Editore in 2009.
Sorgi tells the story of the secret passion of the duce’s daughter, broadcast on TV in March 2011 creating interest and curiosity surrounding the love story between Edda Mussolini, Benito’s rebel daughter, and Leonida Buongiorno, who was already a communist militant and a partisan of the Corps of the Alps.
When Fascism ended, her father and wife, Clara Petacci  were both executed in Milan (28 April 1945) so Edda was exiled to Lipari for two years. The passion between the two lovers grew here. Sorgi, the author, wrote another book that is a love story born out of his love of the Aeolian Islands. In “Volcano Lovers”, Sorgi highlights the love triangle among the director Roberto Rossellini, with the fabulous actor Anna Magnani , the main character and his girlfriend at that time, and the young and beautiful Ingrid Bergman, whom the director fell in love with while filming the movie “Stromboli.”  When Magnani and Rossellini broke up, Roberto, soon after
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The Aeolian Islands -The seven wonders islands embedded in an enchanting sea

According to ancient mythology, “Seven are the Wonders of the World” as well as the seven Aeolian Islands:

Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Stromboli, Alicudi, Filicudi and Panarea.

Lipari is the largest of the group. It is the ideal base for your daily trips to the volcanic Aeolian archipelago. Catamarans and ferry boats make frequent daily connections allowing easy travel to this island of charming Mediterranean style.
Lipari was recently the set for a movie based on the book, written by the Italian journalist Marcello Sorgi: “Mr. Leonida Bongiorno”, published by Rizzoli Editore in 2009, “Edda Ciano and the Communist”. The secret passion of the duce’s daughter, was screened on TV in March 2011. Interest and curiosity grew about the love story between Edda, Mussolini, Benito’s rebel daughter, and Leonida Buongiorno, who was already a communist militant and a partisan of the Corps of the Alps.
Read more about  The story….

The Aeolian Islands, with their fires of passion have alot to offer to a very demanding tourist. With its very welcoming places to stay, like its luxurious hotels and its cozy family owned Bed and Breakfasts. You will find all kinds of charming little shops and grocery stores, especially in Lipari. And last but not least, let’s not forget to mention the fine Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh fish and seafood, coming right from the fishermen boats, and cozy wine bars to experience!
Nature and Excursions
Immerse yourself in the luxurious and vibrant nature of these 7 Wonders Islands by the many excursions offered to its guest. Marine excursions accompanied by real fishermen guiding you throughout the seven island rocks and beaches. Trekking tours and archeological tours are available through the millenary historical sites. The best time of year for visiting the Islands is between March and September.
Typical production on the Islands includes the cappers, and the delicious sweet tasting “Malvasia” one of the D.O.C. of  SicilyWine. 

from #4, and edited by Vanvakys

Pollara Beach and “The Postman” – A tender love story in poetry

Unique for its beauty and its popularity, Pollara Beach is located along the lovely coastline on the island of Salina.

With her breathtaking scenery, Salina is the greenest of the Aeolian Islands. There you can enjoy long walks through the Mediterranean vegetation. One can marvel at the many large vineyards, which produce Malvasia wine. You will certainly be enticed by the wonderfully fruity aromas while enjoying a wine and food tasting. When you’re ready to go, be sure to take a bottle home with you to enjoy later on!

Its natural amphitheatre has been the wonderful backdrop for the internationally award-winning movie Il Postino (1994), (The Postman) masterfully directed by Michael Radford starring Massimo Troisi.. The great Troisi is a legendary Neapolitan actor who died after finishing the filming of this movie with Philippe Noiret and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. The actor’s legacy has been immortalized by his unforgettable performances of an impressive career.

The actor’s legacy has been immortalized by his unforgettable performances of an impressive career. Massimo sei grande!!

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from #4, and edited by Vanvakys

I am Tony Scott.

The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist

Tony Scott “The story of greatest Jazz clarinet proudly Sicilian forgotten by his own people”
Famus quotes: “I decided a long time ago I would rather be a jazz musician than rich and famous. “I never regretted that decision.” “Jazz is Black, why? What is spaghetti?
Anthony Joseph Sciacca, June 17, 1921 – March 28, 2007, was a jazz clarinetist known for an interest in folk music around the world. Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Scott’s parents emigrated from Salemi, Sicily at the turn of the century. His mother played violin, his father guitar, and by age 12, Scott began studying clarinet, influenced by the sounds of Clarence Hutchenrider, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Scott attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942, receiving instruction in clarinet, piano, and composition, and building a strong background in classical music. Drafted into the United States Army in 1942, he was stationed at Governor’s Island in New York harbor and spent his spare time immersed in the jazz scene on 52nd Street.

In the 1950s he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday.
Billie and Tony had a long relationship, so intimate sometimes that everybody gossiped to be lovers, “She never did anything bad to me“. He also had a young Bill Evans as a side-man, bringing him from the Classical Music to the Jazz world . In the late 1950s, he won the Down Beat Critics poll for clarinetist in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

Over the past 50 years, he arranged the hit “Day-O” for Harry Belafonte, “de, isede, isede, isedoo! It’s my idea but I wasn’t interested on royalties or else: you know how much money I waould have made with this?. Tony “studied traditional music in Japan, , recorded the first New Age album, and lived in three different countries
His most musically transforming event occurred in 1943 when he saw Charlie “Bird” Parker play for the first time. “My mouth dropped,” Scott told Matthew Landan of the Herald Tribune. “He played so many notes that it sounded like … Chinese music from the moon.” Scott and Parker later became friends, being so talented“, Tony was the only “non African-American allowed to be on the stage with him “. Parker and Scott opened and played together in a Jazz club on 52nd Street for one year.

Scott played and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and Charlie Parker in the late 1940s, and by 1954, led his own quartet in a successful run at Minton’s Playhouse, the location that gave birth to be-bop. “By the early 1950s he had developed a far more confident approach,” wrote Jim Burns in Jazz on Record, “and his soloing became more intense and swinging.” In 1953, Scott won the Down Beat critics’ poll as “New Star” on the clarinet.

In 1957, Scott began an extensive tour of Europe that included a side trip to South Africa. “He ‘sat in’ all over the world,” wrote John S. Wilson in the New York Times. He began the tour in Sweden, performing with the Harry Arnold Orchestra, and forming his own quartet to record “Swingin’ in Sweden” and other pieces.While in Yugoslavia, he spontaneously performed the instrumental “Blues for Charlie Parker” dedicated to his friend’s memory. It would become Scott’s most requested composition. “It was a spur of the moment thing,” Scott told Wilson. “The audience gave me a five-minute standing ovation. Musically, it was the high point of my life.” Scott also traveled to South Africa, a country still gripped by apartheid, where he was allowed to play to multi-racial audiences, just inviting the “Whites” to attend the concert in college for “Blacks”: “There no such law that can stop this!, He said. He received a letter of commendation from Vice President Richard Nixon when he returned, thanking him for his goodwill musical tour.

Scott returned to New York in the later part of 1957, but he would only remain for two years. He played at the Show Boat Club in Greenwich Village in New York City, appeared on a number of episodes of the television show, The Subject Is Jazz, and received good reviews for his performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. In 1959, he recorded Sung Heroes with Bill Evans, Scott La Faro, and Paul Motiam. Despite these successes, Scott once again decided to travel, this time to the Far East. By this time, many of the friends who had most inspired him–Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, and Lester Young–had died. Going to the Far East, Scott believed, would help to revitalize his sagging spirits.

In the 1960s he toured South, East, and Southeast Asia. This led to his playing in a Hindu temple, spending time in Japan, and releasing Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 for Verve Records. In 1960 a Down Beat poll for Japan saw readers named him best clarinetist. In 1968 he visited Salemi and Gibellina, the village where his parents were born, sombody saw him crieing, was shoked, everything was completly destroied by a tremendus heartquake.

He settled in Italy in the 1980s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D’Andrea and Romano Mussolini. He first lived in Sicily, always considering himself as a proud Sicilian, but nobody recogn his great carreer or his importance, was snobbed and treated very badly, not only for his attitude: ” Sai chi sono io? Tony Scott“, do you know who I am? Moved in Rome and Milan later, humilated by participations in stupid entertaiment TV programs in RAI (the national broadcasting channel). He soffered for that of severe depression and reduced himself in poverty: often playing for food or a place to sleep over.

In 1996, he recorded The Old Lion Roars for his seventy-fifth birthday. He also spent time writing his autobiography, Bird, Lady, and Me, covering his memories of 52nd Street.In later years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed. In 2010, Italian director Franco Maresco released his documentary about the life of Tony Scott, Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l’Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz “I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist” (with English subtitles).

Few jazz musicians can lay claim to having played with Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Ben Webster, Bill Evans, Charlie Parker, Clark Terry, and Sarah Vaughan. Tony played with the Duke Ellingtone Orchestra to be considered the best of all time “Tony Scott has emerged from his bop roots and his new-age experiments” wrote Shaun Dale in Cosmik Debris magazine online, “as the senior statesman of the clarinet.” His ability to play a number of jazz styles, combined with openness toward different cultures, has made his music diverse and distinctive. “I decided a long time ago I would rather be a jazz musician than rich and famous,” he told Landan. “I never regretted that decision.”

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Related links: – Citta’di

The Oriundi – Contributions to the evolution of Jazz by Giuseppe Milici

Imagination and a musical lexicon that’s all we will need to begin our journey through the progression of Jazz Music around the world. The importance of Sicilian musicians in this development, as well as those of Sicilian origin, is evident from the start.

Beginning our brief excursion through the History of Jazz in the 1920th the first name comes in mind maybe Nick La Rocca, founder and leader of one of the most famous jazz band of that time “The Original Dixieland Jazz Band”. Nick and his fellows recorded, New Orleans, Louisiana, reputed to be the first Jazz record ever produced, and were therefore instrumental to the unfolding of what became a popular mode of musical expression worlwide. After producing the “absolute first” jazz record, the group had lot of success on tour throughout the United States and Europe, as well, where Jazz was relatively unknown. Nick La Rocca was not the only member of Sicilian origin in the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band”; the group also included: Frank Signorelli on piano and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. Consequently, it is not far-fetched to claim that the first Jazz record was truly an effort “Made in Sicily”.

Continuing our imaginary trip through jazz in time,we should mention another important step of great importance for our fellow Sicilians: the “Be Bop” era. Many musicians of Sicilian origin wrote and performed this improvisional style of jazz music, born in New York during the WW2 era. Even though the terrible events of the war dominated this period of history in both Sicily and America, jazz musicians in New York continued to work and progress, and it was during time that this new genre emerged. Among the members of the first Be Bop band there was a musician named George Wallington (birth name Giacinto Figlia), who was born in Palermo. He was an integral part of the band, as he was not only the pianist, but also the composer, and played a note worthy role in developing this new style and, ultimately, steering the course of jazz music. It is imperative to mention the other members of the group which comprised of such famous musicians as: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Oscar Pettiford (contrabass), Max Roach (drums), Don Byas (saxophone). By the end of the 1940′s an exceptional talent had began to draw attention: His name was Tony Scott. Born in New Jersey as Tony Sciacca he hailed from a family of Sicilian immigrants with a passion for music (some of them were musicians). Tony was encouraged to study various instruments including clarinet, saxophone, piano. By 1953 Tony Scott grew into a giant of Jazz music, collaborating with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and arranging and performing for Sarah Vaughan and Billy Holiday. He also played several tours in Africa and Europe, performing with great musicians as Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Kenny Clarke, Benny Carter, accomplishing a high standard of “traditional jazz” while devoting the best of himself to the “modern style”. Many other names can be mentioned by a jazz lover and in a to up to date list we can name: Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Joe Pass, Chuck Mangione, Louie Bellson.

Clearly, these brief notes on the significance of Sicilian musicians to the evolution of Jazz in the world are only the beginning, and do not come close to covering the subject. However, they are useful in comprehending how, at a time not too long ago, some among us in the world contributed to the “creation” of something world-renowned and its melodies resound throughout the world and our ears to this day. Let’s hope they continue to do so for many more

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English version by VanVakys VRC consulting

FERDINANDO SCIANNA the Art of Photography

Ferdinando Scianna started taking photographs in the 1960s while studying
literature, philosophy and art history at the University of Palermo. It was then
that he began to photograph the Sicilian people systematically. Feste Religiose
in Sicilia (1965) included an essay by the Sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia, and
it was the first of many collaborations with famous writers.
In 2002 Scianna completed Quelli di Bagheria, a book on his home town in
Sicily, in which he tries to reconstruct the atmosphere of his youth through
writings and photographs of Bagheria and the people who live there.

“A photograph is not created by a photographer. What they does is just to open a little window and captureit. The world then writes itself on the film. The act of the photographer is closer to reading than it is to
writing. They are the readers of the world.” Ferdinando Scianna.


GUIA JELO studied at the School of the Stabile Theatre in Catania, and she
has immediately shown her uncommon acting qualities becoming one of the
most important actress in the national scene. With her activity, she has given
prestige to her Sicily. Thanks to her expressiveness and ability she has
played different roles in films (“Le Buttane” (Whores) by Aurelio Grimaldi for
which she was one of the nominees for best actress at the Cannes Festival in
1994), on television (she plays in different episodes of “Il Commissario
Montalbano” by Andrea Camilleri) and in theatre (“Liolà” by Pirandello). Her
CV is rich in roles of leading actress and supporting actress in many films,
TV series and theatre comedies. A pure artist, a versatile actress with an
expressive capacity of various aspects.

Vincent Schiavelli a Sicilian Character actor in Hollywood

vincent-schiavelli (3)Vincent Andrew Schiavelli (November 10, 1948 New York – December 26, 2005, Polizzi Generosa Sicily) was an American character actor noted for his work in movies, stage and television. He was often described as “the man with the sad eyes.“ Schiavelli was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Sicilian-American family. At a certain point of his life wanted to return to his “mother land”, he moved to Polizzi Generosa, Sicily, with his wife.

Madonie Sicily by Vanvakys copy“Vicenzu”, as he wanted to be called in  Sicilian,  was loved and esteemed by everyone in Sicily, friendly and very humble he prematurely died of cancer. Vincent spoke fluent Sicilian.  His grandfather, whom he grew up with, was a cook for an Italian baron (monsu’) before moving to the United States.



 After I get the permission of Roberto Alajmo, writer and journalist, good friend of Madonie 2  copy 3him, I’ll tell you the interesting story on how and why Vincent grandfather came to America . Vincent  was a truly talented artist :  he attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School as a teen and studied acting through the Theater Program at New York University. He began performing on stage in the 1960s.



Vincent_SchiavelliSelected in 1997 by Vanity Fair as one of the best character actors in America, had made over 120 film and television appearances.  Aside from his acting career, Vincent was the author of three cookbooks, and has written numerous articles on food for magazines and newspapers. In 2001, he received the James Beard Journalism Award.


He became world wide known after playing an important role as “Fredrickson” in:”

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975)  Won 5 Oscars. Another 30 wins & 12 nominations




Vincent most known appearances and important facts 

  • He was the “subway ghost” in Ghost with Patrick Swayze
  • His character Peter Panama on ”The Corner Bar” (1972) was the first sustained gay character on American network television.
  • Is the only actor besides Christopher Walken to have played both Batman and Bond villains. Both appeared in Batman Returns (1992); Walken as Max Shreck and Schiavelli as The Organ Grinder. Walken played Max Zorin in “A View to a Kill” (1985) with Roger Moore and Schiavelli played Dr. Kauffman in “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997) with Pierce Brosnan.
  • Vince got his role as a TV exec in Man on the Moon (1999) from his few appearances with Andy Kaufman on “Taxi” (1978).
  • In 2001 Vincent directed a theater piece in Sicily based on nine traditional fables. Six of the eight actors were Sicilian, and everything was authentic down to the local dialect. After the production, Vincent went out on stage with the actors and was met with a five-minute storm of wild flowers from the audience.
  • Made many guest appearances on local Sicilian TV talk shows. Made himself very popular with the “locals,” by speaking proper Sicilian during his interviews.

excerpt from edited by


vincent-schiavelliSchiavelli youngSchiavelli *



Vince book 1 ”In the early 1950s, Bruculinu, as the Sicilian immigrants called their Brooklyn neighborhood, was a remarkable place. If the weather was fair, the streets would be teeming with life. Women would be haggling with pushcart vendors in Sicilian and broken English over pieces of fruits and vegetables. Other vendors in horse-drawn wagons would be chanting their wares amid the song of the ragman’s bell and the iceman’s bellow. Growing up in this place was like having one foot in mid-twentieth-century United States and the other in mid-eighteenth-century Sicily.” ” So begins Vincent Schiavelli’s captivating story of coming of age in the Italian section of Brooklyn. See also “pasta chi sardi a mari” (pasta with sardines at sea) one of his favorite recipe by clicking on this hyperlink >> 


schiavelli at Polizzi GenerosapHe was a great friend, a great chef and a great talker,” Salvatore  Glorioso, who has known Schiavelli for almost four years, said in a telephone interview. “With a smooth, witty conversation, he would make everything look more colorful. I’ve lost a brother”. Till sometime ago calling his cell phone you could hear his recorded message in a funny mix language, half in Sicilian ,and half English ” Vicenzu sugnu…leave a message and your number and I’ll call you back… Arrivederci”


Vincent Schiavelli’s tombstone states:

“When a great artist lives inside a great man, his soul is destined to remain eternal”  Thank you!

R.I.P. Riposa in pace Vicenzu nun ti scurdamu mai!



Vincent Schiavelli in tumbstone Polizzi Generosa Sicily


THE LEGEND OF DIONYSUS – The arrival of the vines in Sicily

As we well know, the ancient Greeks, and then the Romans, loved myths and legends – myths and legends that were recorded by the eminent poets and philosophers of their time, and who remain fundamental to western culture today, including Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, just to name a few.

Their narratives touched upon weakness and virtue, nobility and gods, and depicted women and men who confronted wars and adventures, whether for passion or simply in search of a better understanding of the mysteries of the world and this life.

According to some of these legends, it was jealousy that precipitated the arrival of grapevines in Sicily. Zeus, the father of the gods, and always on the lookout for new love interests, fell for Armonia, a beautiful young maiden. It was his wife Hera who, upon learning of this betrayal, went straight for the counterattack, transforming herself into the young maiden’s food, and convincing the young girl to ask Zeus to appear to her in all of his majestic splendor with which he ruled Olympus.

Armonia was already pregnant when, between claps of thunder, and flashes of lightning, Zeus appeared. The glorious sight was too much for her to bear, and the strength of her emotion caused her to give birth prematurely, shedding light on a most breathtakingly beautiful baby boy.

At that moment, Zeus recognized the foul play, and immediately sewed the infant to one of his legs, completing the gestation period much as an incubator would, and for this reason, the child was called “Dionysus,” that is, the son of Zeus, the god of fertility, joy, and well-being. Dionysus decided to leave the Ellade and escape to Sicily, bringing a grape vine with him. As he was undertaking a long sea voyage, and needed to protect the small plant from the elements, he first placed it inside the bone of a bird, and later inside that of a lion, and since it kept growing, he finally placed it in the bone of a donkey. Thus was born the first ancient rule of drinking, and which is still worth remembering today: “A good glass of wine makes you light as a bird, another drink and you are courageous as a lion, but when you exaggerate with wine, you end up an ass!.” Upon his arrival in Sicily, Dionysus planted the first vineyard at Naxos, just below Taormina, the first Greek colony.


Read More about the Arrival of Wines in Sicily