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Monks Turn Infamous Drug Lord's Prison Palace Into A Place Of Healing


MEDELLIN - The luxurious "prison" that infamous Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar built for himself and lived in for a year starting in the summer of 1991 is now going to become a home for the poor elderly, EFE reports.

The palatial "prison," called La Catedral, boasted splendid rooms, a gym and even a natural waterfall and a soccer field. The place also had doors wide open to any family, friends or business partners Escobar wanted to visit. From inside its walls, he continued to run his drug business, including ordering assassinations. Escobar also held wild parties with alcohol, drugs and plenty of women.

After Escobar's escape in 1992, the building fell to ruins. People from the area took down the walls, searching for the treasure popularly believed to be hiding somewhere in the building -- but never found anything. Then, in 2007, a group of monks moved into the building, hoping to create a religious center, in a place that had been overflowing with sin, El Colombiano reports.

The monks have already built a chapel, a cafeteria and an 800-book library for poor children, as well as a small memorial to those who were killed by Escobar and his henchmen, El Colombiano reports. Now the monks are planning to open La Catedral to the elderly and disabled without financial resources, who will be able to live and get basic care completely free of charge, EFE reports.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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