Sunday, 1 November 2009

George Clooney in Castel del Monte - Update

We set off round the mountains to get to Castel del Monte, one of the most beautiful villages in Abruzzo. There was a slight hidden agenda on my part. My quest to meet George Clooney in person. However, I had forgotten that in Italy this weekend is a long bank holiday due to All Souls' Day.

We got to an eerily quiet Castel del Monte 50 minutes after setting off from home. Only 10 miles away as the crow flies, but you have to drive up and down and over mountains and encounter a lot of perilous hairpin bends. Why was the village so quiet? Where was everybody? Where was George? The evidence that a film was being shot in the village was all over the place. Lorry after lorry of cinema/tv production sets were parked up in the centre. Where was the buzz of the international film crew?

Lots of notices everywhere informing the villagers that 200 camera crew plus 500 extras would be invading the small mountain village from 15th October to end of November. The whole village to be transformed into a film set. Ok, so where were the villagers and the 700 extra American and international crew? K and I seemed to be the only people wandering through the bitterly cold streets......

A prominant notice made my heart sink. The filming of "The American" would recommence on Monday 2nd November. I grabbed a local and asked" Do you know if Mr Clooney is here? "Oh no, my dear. He left yesterday and he'll be back tomorrow". End of dream.

A bit of Local Gossip
Not one to be disheartened so easily, I accepted this and hit a local bar and B&B called "Osteria del Lupo", where I drowned my sorrows with 2 lovely glasses of Abruzzo wine and 2 lots of absolutely delicious homemade bread drizzled in fresh olive oil. I spoke to Stefano, the barman and son of the owner and asked him about his feelings on the effect of the film on the village as a whole. He told me it was a fantastic thing and it was doing wonders for the local economy. He told me Mr Clooney had integrated with the locals and that he was very friendly and amenable. Two weeks had already passed and everyone had accepted the temporary disruption to their daily life with great patience and understanding. A lot of the locals had been cast as extras. It was interesting chatting to Stefano and the bar was very lively and atmospheric. Tomorrow evening, scenes of the film will be shot right in front of the bar so I guess the bar will become very famous! Thank you Stefano for making us feel so welcome!

Halloween: "Miss Strega" Contest
Having viewed the information on the Internet about the yearly "Miss Strga" (Miss Witch") pageant held in the centre of the village, we left the cosy bar in search of the venue. We were informed that due to the sudden very cold weather, the event would now be held in the local sports hall. When we arrived, we found all the local villagers waiting for the children to do a "Halloween" parade. A jury would be present, to vote for the best costume. The hall was beautifully and spookily decked out and children all dressed up in wonderful costumes. We stayed for a while and then decided to make our way home after a most interesting evening.


Vivian said...

Janet, I've just found your blog, and have been enjoying reading about your new life in Italy, and how you've been keeping up with the love of teaching you share in your postings.

It's nice to hear of other people following dreams...I left a cozy job teaching English in Chicago to follow hubby to The Netherlands (our second time living here), where I'm having a break from teaching and enjoying traveling and trying to learn a new language. I'd love to hear more about if you've found a way to use your knowledge of online teaching while in Abruzzo.

Take care,


Here I was hoping to read about how you met George! ;-) but actually the real, real reason I popped by today was because yesterday in the supermarket I saw a bottle of wine from Abruzzo and bought it.

So, am sipping on my glass of red and saying hey ya, Janet!


LLJB said...

Hi Vivian

Nice to meet you! We seem to have a lot in common. Like you, I have been taking time out to do other things such as studying and travelling around the local area.

I have spent 2009 in gaining valuable e-technology knowledge to help me for the future. I hope to fully implement this knowledge in 2010. I'll have to see what happens next.

Take care


LLJB said...

Hi Karenne

Yes, it's a big shame about not seeing George Clooney on Saturday. I think the film is going to be absolutely fantastic with the beautiful backdrop of Castel del Monte.

I am thrilled you tried out a bottle of Abruzzo wine. As yet, Abruzzo wine is still relatively unknown in the UK, for example. Was it Trebbiano or Montepulciano or another type? Hope you enjoyed it!

J x

Anonymous said...

Hi Janet, very interesting your story, some news of gossip about Clooney Canalis? :)

Janet said...

I'm sorry. No goss on Clooney/Canalis! Maybe next time..

Jade said...

this is a very interesting story. did you have lots of fun at the village. even though you did miss meeting Mr. Clooney. it sounded like a wonderful way to spend your weekend.

LLJB said...

Hi Jade

Yes, I did have a lot of fun in the village. It's absolutely beautiful, high up in the mountains. The fashion parade of witches was really cool, too. How did you celebrate Halloween? I'll pop in to your blog soon. Janet x