Destinations

Where Francis Ford Coppola Buys His Copper Pots

The film director on the Italian town of Bernalda, his favorite gifts, and the store he wants to take home.

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What’s the best neighborhood to wander around?

There are many. To start with: Bernalda, a small hilltop town in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. It’s divided into two interesting walking areas, su e giù, meaning “up and down,” or “new and old,” being the ancient city where my grandfather was born, and the newer one developed in the nineteenth century. The old city giù is fascinating, with little streets and an old church and a castle — it’s a real adventure of what life was like. And the upper part, with more of a central boulevard and the tradition of the passeggiata, where a few times a day all the neighbors walk and greet each other and the children have free rein everywhere.


What’s the best gift you’ve ever brought back for someone?

Maybe big, bottled jars of lampascioni, the unique food not even known everywhere in Italy, except in Puglia and Basilicata. Lampascioni are the bulbs of wild tassel hyacinths. Known since the times of ancient Greeks in Puglia, Basilicata, and the Ionian south coast of Italy, these delicious bulbs are harvested in late winter and devoured as a delicacy. They are present in many traditional Lucanian dishes [cuisine of Basilicata]. There are also many other foods and fabulous cheeses, mostly food items or handmade ceramics of local artisans that are good gifts.


What’s a store anywhere in the world you wish you could take home with you?

Hmm, anywhere in the world? I’d say in Paris in that great area where Les Halles used to be. The greatest shop for kitchen supplies is there: E. DEHILLERIN. Though the kitchen at Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda has a representative display of copper pots too! And the shirts, suits, and shoes acquired from our local artisans — ability and traditions kept from generations that we are happy to support.

Header image: Photography by Sofia Coppola

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