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SOFIA’S WEDDING: Sofia Coppola is due to wed French rock star Thomas Mars on Aug. 27 and she’s paying tribute to her Italian roots by choosing Bernalda, Italy, as the location. The small village, about 25 miles from Matera, is famous as the setting of Mel Gibson’s 2004 drama “The Passion of the Christ,” and is the hometown of Coppola’s great-grandparents. The civil ceremony will be celebrated in the garden of Palazzo Margherita, a historical building on the city’s main street that Francis Ford Coppola bought a few years ago and restored. The American film director assigned the conservative reconstruction project to architect Bartolomeo Conterio and French designer Jacques Grange, who counted Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé among his clients. “The ceremony will mark the end of renovations at the palace, which will soon be inaugurated as a resort, open to the public,” said Coppola’s great-nephew Gaetano Russo who, on the day of the wedding, plans to screen scenes from both the father’s and the daughter’s movies on the facades of about 10 buildings in the village.
As expected, the event is generating a lot of buzz on Bernalda. Francesco Montemurro, the owner of Giardino Giamperduto, a chic country house hotel nearby, said, “We’re already fully booked and four of our 11 rooms have been reserved by people linked to the wedding.” The general mood among the townspeople runs high, said Gianni Lacanfora, who manages Al Vecchio Frantoio, a traditional restaurant a few steps from Palazzo Margherita. “Even if Francis Ford Coppola and his daughter are superstars, they still remain our ‘paesani’ [compatriots] and we are proud of them,” he said.