It was a small Italian town, where an affectionate stray dog wandered up, eventually becoming so conspicuous that he attended all town events — weddings, funerals, pizza night at the local pizzeria. Ultimately, he became a guide for visitors and a beloved member of the community.
Though it sounds like a fairy tale, it's actually a true story that's been adapted for the big screen. The dog, who came to be known as Italo Barocco, arrived in the Sicilian town of Scicli in 2006, and his story was documented by journalist Peppe Savà for Ragusa News.
It's not the first time a dog has attended public meetings on his own. Nor is it the first time a dog was beloved by a town — like Bosco, the mayor of Sunol, California. But it would be fair to say the movie is unique, documenting the town's crusade against stray dogs, which were banned there entirely after a young girl was killed and a tourist was viciously mauled. When Italo came along, the mayor decided to protect him, microchipping him and adopting him on behalf of the town's citizens.
The movie is the first feature film for director Alessia Scarso, and the town has praised her for returning their memories of Italo to them. Sadly, he disappeared on Jan 31., 2011, "so as not to burden the town with sorrow," as one news report put it. It is believed that he may have been ill and went off to die alone.
Photo: Italo film via Facebook