De Blasio's Vacation Thrust Small Italian Town Into Spotlight
SANT'AGATA DE' GOTI, ITALY - The rallying point for the recent visit by Mayor Bill de Blasio has turned back into an ordinary parking lot. Things are getting as back to normal as possible for a village that was suddenly thrust into the global spotlight.
"It's a little bit strange for us Sant'Agataese, people who live here, to see American journalists come here and interview us," says Matteo Androcci, a Sant'Agata resident.
Vestiges of the mayor's vacation are still visible, like a photo gallery sprouting up just steps from the home where de Blasio's maternal grandfather reportedly lived before he left in the early 1900s.
Surrounded by medieval walls that are supported by volcanic rock, Sant'Agata is filled with churches dating back to the 10th century.
Narrow stone passageways, lined with muted frescoes and ancient piazzas, paint a portrait of Italy that is putting the Campania region, about 20 miles northeast of Naples, squarely on the tourist map.
"There are a lot of Americans on holiday in Italy, and Europe and a lot of people from Naples coming to see the town," Artulo Mongillo, de Blasio's cousin, says through an interpreter.
Take it from a local.
"Down here, there is the river, a little river that's called the Martorano, and all these houses, their windows see the river, and it's really deep," Androcci says.
As deep as the feelings go for a famous New Yorker that this town can call their paisan.