The Godfather, Part IV / by Mario Mirabile

Leaving Palermo for our next stop, the coastal town of Cefalu, we decided to swing inland via the town of Corleone. Corleone is, of course, the surname of the fictional Godfather of book and movie fame, and was given to him on his arrival in America by an immigration who mistook the name of his home town for his surname. The area around Palermo is apparently a hotbed of Sicilian Mafia activity, and Corleone one of the main centres. However we saw nothing untoward as we made our way through the countryside, up the steep and narrow winding roads. Corleone seemed a town like any other, although perhaps the colour of the houses and roofs seemed a little more drab. There is even a sign as you enter town which proclaims "CORLEONE: World Capital of Legality - Do Nothing Illegal".

Sicily was considered the granary of the Roman empire. The soil is fertile, but the terrain is steep and rocky, and it can't be easy to extract a living from it. For years, Sicily was characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty, and perhaps this is reflected in the more subdued color of the houses in these hill towns. Nevertheless, there is a rugged beauty in it all, and at times the towns and houses seem an almost natural part of the landscape.