Well, you’ve heard about the Godfather, haven’t you? Of course, yes. There is not a single person who doesn’t know and remember Don Vito Corleone portrayed as a youngster by amazing Robert De Niro and as a man in his 50s – by great Marlon Brando or Michael Corleone starring fantastic Al Pacino. We all know the plot of Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 movie telling about the life and destiny of a Don of a NY crime family. And, for sure, the mobile phones of some of you ring with the Godfather ringtone or many of you enjoy having parties under the rhythm of Luna Mezz’o Mare. 😉
But have you asked yourselves or have you heard who gave a birth to all these characters, the plot and screenplay? He was Mario Puzo who is nicknamed as the “Godfather of Mafia Fiction”. Yes, the Italian-American is the writer and screenwriter of the 1969 book “The Godfather” and the movie of the same name of the 70s. He was born in Hell’s Kitchen in NY City in a poor family of Italian immigrants from Campania and later he became a world famous journalist and author. Mario Puzo wasn’t related only to his Godfather but to another book as well – “The Family”. As a matter of fact, the work was started by him and he worked on it with interruptions for 20 years and after his death it was finished by his longtime girlfriend named Carol Gino.
If you have read both novels, for sure, you might draw some analogies between them but “The Family” is a little bit “old” in terms of the historic time which the House of Borgia lived in. The Borgias (or the Borja in Spanish) were a powerful family from Valencia who were true rivals of the House of Medici. They lived in the lands which we call now Italy and they were lucky enough to feel the spirit of the Renaissance. At that time there were 5 mighty political, economic and war forces – Venice, Milan, Florence, Naples and Rome (plus a great number of smaller independent city-states). Apart from this, France and Spain tried to invade new territories while the “barbarians – the Turks” (the last one is a quotation) made attempts to conquer the Pope’s lands.
And at that time the Pope was Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia, i.e. Pope Alexander VI. Dedicated to God, he remained a human being filled up with strong political ambitions for the unification of the Italian lands, man’s desires and feelings. He had a family of his own and his children (Cesare, Giovanni or Juan, beautiful Lucrezia and Gioffre) were the main weapons through which he bargained successful political unions, obtained lands and piled up gold and treasure. Their marriages and their unhappiness, respectively, were decided by their loving father and their lives were greatly controlled by him. By the way, there are plenty of other spicy facts (both known and unknown) which I won’t reveal here and now in order to leave you something you can get acquainted with, if you decide to read the book about this respected and provocative at the same time family. And one more thing. I advise you to mind the historic fiction in the novel ……. 🙂