Last summer while Massimo and his family were visiting the UNESCO listed baroque hill towns of south-east Sicily, they were told a story which really appealed to them. It was the story of Italo, a stray dog, which was adopted by the citizens of Scicli and his story has now been made into a film.
The beautiful town of Scicli has become better known in recent years as it is the main town where the detective series, Inspector Montalbano is filmed, otherwise known as ‘Vigata’.
The story goes that around 8 years ago, a scruffy crossbreed similar to a Labrador appeared in town. He would usually be found in the main town square. A sociable character, he started going to mass every week and never missed a wedding or funeral. He also joined in with parades and festivals. He was such a gentle natured dog and a constant presence that the locals started feeding him and eventually made him a town mascot.
Italo proved himself to be a loyal friend and local hero, accompanying children home from school and taking tourists around town. After chasing off an aggressor one evening, Italo would always escort a waitress home after finishing her late shift. He even lay for days by the coffin of a man who he used to meet every day, until the day of the funeral.
The Mayor of Scicli eventually gave Italo a kennel in the square next to the town hall and Italo was made an honorary citizen of Scicli.
Italo sadly passed away a few years ago but he was buried in Scicli’s cemetery and you can still visit Italo’s favourite bar “Italo Barocco” to read all about him. There you will find newspaper articles and photos of Italo, immortalised as Scicli’s loyal friend forever.