A Song for Bellafortuna is an inspirational Italian Historical Fiction novel concerning a young man’s desire to free his Sicilian village from the domination of one family’s long reign. For years, the beautiful, yet secluded, hilltop village of Bellafortuna, Sicily, was a great producer of wine and olive oil. The entire village prospered. However, after the arrival of the Vasaio family, production dwindles and the villagers soon find themselves in crushing debt to the Vasaios. Only one family in the village remains outside the control of the Vasaios, but the reason haunts Antonio Sanguinetti every day of his life. Antonio is determined to erase this legacy by offering financial and emotional support to his fellow villagers. He introduces them to the choral song from Verdi’s opera, Nabucco, which becomes the rallying cry for the villagers and offers them hope for a better life.
Santo looked mortified at his father’s words. Giuseppe had heard enough. He stood up from his chair and replied, “It is you who are nothing, you, Signor. You are probably correct. Without your family, the wine store would not be as successful as it is. However, if it were not for my grandfather coming to his senses and walking away from your family, then his soul would not have been saved. He rectified his life. He tried to make it up to his fellow villagers. They accepted him back. You say my father is a nothing. At least when he dies, people will show their love for him at his funeral.”
Vittelio’s eyes flashed with anger as he said, “You little bastard! How dare you speak to me that way!”
Santo stood up from his seat and put his hands out in front of him and shook them, while he said, “Aspetta, Papa. I was the one who asked Giuseppe here. I arranged this meeting. I thought you wanted to hear their proposal. I thought you would be receptive to the idea. This is my doing. Do not take it out on Giuseppe.” One could feel the tension in the room subside as the gentle voice of Santo echoed off the walls.
Vittelio walked back to his chair. “Mi scusi. Sedete, Giuseppe.”
“Aspetto,” Giuseppe said antagonistically. Santo stood next to him.
“Fine. Let us speak to each other as friends. You come to me with a proposal. I have listened. Because of the lack of respect for my family by the villagers, I have given you the reasons why the proposal is preposterous. Yet, I know my son disagrees with me and thinks I should give in. He thinks the time has come to change. Because of him I will agree with this proposal with a condition.”
Giuseppe, surprised, asked, “What is that?”
“I will let you know my reasons up front for this condition. You had the gall to come here and approach me with this ridiculous proposal. The reason you could do this is because of your feeling that somehow I cannot touch your family and that I have no control over you. There was once a family who lived here who felt the same way with my ancestors.”
Vittelio turned toward the window and looked at the statue of Enzo Boccale. He turned back to Giuseppe, saying, “They were wrong.”
“What are you saying, Signor Vasaio?”
“It’s time your family gets put in its place. I will agree to the proposal but it will be wholly conditioned on one thing and only one thing. If you can pull it off, you will be a hero in the village. Fail, and you and your father will be the reason why the proposal failed.”
“What is the condition?”
Vittelio said, “As I’m sure you are aware, since you and your father supposedly know him so well, Enrico Caruso is coming to Palermo the last weekend in July to receive an honor. Every July 28th, the Festival Boccale is held out in the Piazza in Bellafortuna in remembrance of Enzo Boccale. Every year, there is a concert. If you can get Enrico Caruso to come sing one aria on the concert stage, I will agree to the proposal.”
Santo said, “Papa, that’s not realistic. You’re just trying to embarrass them.”
As Santo continued to speak on Giuseppe’s behalf, young Sanguinetti stood with his head bowed. His mind was racing. He thought back to the night he met Caruso in Milan so many years ago and the words Caruso had told him: “If you ever need me, please feel free to call me.” Maybe, just maybe, Giuseppe could pull it off. He could write to Caruso and get him to come; after all, the great tenor would be in nearby Palermo. He would just have to start writing letters to him early. During the summer, Caruso always returned to Italy. He could write to him in the early part of the summer in Italy and ask him to come to Bellafortuna while in Palermo. He could even write to him now in New York and let Caruso know about it early on. He would remind Caruso of that meeting many years ago. What did Giuseppe have to lose? His fellow villagers would be no worse off if he failed. Vittelio didn’t understand these people. They wouldn’t blame Giuseppe. They would thank him for trying.
With Santo still speaking, Giuseppe, realizing he had much to gain and little to lose, picked his head up and said, “Signor Vittelio, Caruso will come. You have a deal.”
Santo said, “Giuseppe, you…”
Giuseppe cut him off, “Santo. It’s fine. He will come and the village will find glory once again.”