The village of Gonzorio stands undeservedly
a bad reputation for the alleged scanty intelligence of its inhabitants.
Perhaps the malicious rumours come from some misinterpreted episodes,
like when, at the passage from Lira to Euro the villagers burnt all the banknotes of the old currency,
thinking they were then useless.
However the small village deserves a visit, also because the inhabitants, once they have understood the slip made in the past, accept payments in Liras, at the rate of one Lira for one Euro.
In the Gonzorio area the remains of a hominid have been found, attributed to the Homo stolidus, which became prematurely extinct for his pretence to mate with cave bears and sabre-tooth tiger.
The foundation of Gonzorio is traditionally attributed to the Farlockians, an ancient nomadic population, whose distinguishing trait was easily loosing the sense of direction: once they reached the area in which now the village lies, the Farlockians would have begun to go round in circles for decades, pitching camp every night in the same place, not realizing it, becoming therefore sedentary, in an imperceptible way.
Gonzorio was then a Greek colony with the name of Idioteia, regularly visited by merchants, not only Greek, but also Etruscan, Phoenician, Carthaginians, and from every other people of the Mediterranean, which went there to sell off all the products they couldn't sell otherwhere. At Idioteia a daring architectonic test was tried, building temples with thin wooden columns and heavy marble architraves: during the inauguration the experiment failed, exterminating all the people attending the ceremony. Years after, while the village was besieged by the Romans, the inhabitants tried to defend themselves using the burning glasses, how they saw as done by Archimedes but, due to a laying error of the same mirror, they set fire to their own houses.
Under the Roman domination the village took the name of Castrum Stultorum and it was the one and only village in Italy which didn't obtain the right of Roman citizenship, even for the habit of its inhabitants to stumble in their toga.
At the fall of the Roman empire the village was raided by several invading barbaric peoples, but noone of them picked up the courage to sack it, or rather many barbarians, moved to pity, left donations.
At the age of the Crusades the Gonzorieses
left all together, thinking it was a puzzle solving contest; as
they got in the Holy Land they were all immediately captured and
reduced to slavery by the Saracens, that however, straight after
set them free and re-embarked them for Europe, with the promise
of not coming back anymore.
In the medieval age the village was under the rule of the Balenghis of Montefesso, and one of them, marquis Baggiano IV, ordered a castle to be built, the one and only in the world having a moat inside the walls and a not liftable drawbridge. The castle was seized in 1412, after a short siege, with an ingenious stratagem: the enemy knocked the gates on the pretext of delivering a telegram, and the Gonzorieses without delay opened the gates.
In the Renaissance the village was the birthplace of the scientist and artist Tardo delli Ottusi, emulator of Leonardo, who performed admirable botany studies about onions, performing excavations at a depth of several meters to try to find, in vain, the tree that yielded them. Moreover the scientist drew up an extensive treatise of human anatomy of ten volumes but, as soon as he finished it, he carelessly used it to light the fire, and for this reason no trace of it reached us. Tardo delli Ottusi had also a try at weapons design, like in the case of the ingenious double-edged halberd, in which also the handle was sharp and cutting, or the silk armour, whose quality was the great lightness. Tardo lost his life in the daring test of a flying machine he himself designed and constructed: a precursor of the helicopter, but entirely made of granite.
The village also was the birthplace of Testonio Semplicioni, a distinguished astronomer, which criticized Copernicus and Galileo, maintaining the sun and the earth both circle the moon, which in its turn stopped existing during the new moon phases.
At Gonzorio, in the age of the Risorgimento, a fervent patriotic movement developped, leading dozens of villagers to decide and join the Garibaldi's Thousand expedition: unfortunately, for a mere misunderstanding, they arrived to board at Quinto di Treviso instead of Quarto, and so they couldn't sail.
The plebiscite of 1860 for the annexation to the kingdom of Italy saw the 100% of blank ballot papers, since noone of the Gonzorieses understood the question, while, on the contrary, the plebiscite of 1946, to choose between monarchy and republic, saw the overwhelming victory of "stewed apples".
Starting from 1994 the village saw the 100% of the electors voting for Silvio Berlusconi and the freedom of the city was awarded to Maurizio Gasparri.
What to see
The cathedral of Gonzorio has an unusual shape, since the original plan of the church was mistaken by an error for that of a sugar refinery. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Pirlo of Monate, the only saint in history who martyred himself: seized by the pagans because he was suspected of being a Christian, he was then released since he was deemed as harmless, but, as he went out the jail, he stumbled and sank on an instrument of torture, still venerated in the cathedral's vault which, oddly, lies at the first floor.
In the village center the modern freight port can be visited; it was completed few years ago, just in time to realize that the sea is ninety kilometers (about fifty-five miles) away from Gonzorio, that has not even a river flowing through.
Another attraction of the village is the town skyscraper, that since its construction is unoccupied, as the inhabitants are scared to live or work in any building higher than one floor.
The traditional festivity of Gonzorio is the historical "chestnut pressing", taking place in autumn, during which barefoot villagers split chestnuts from their husks, letting odd shouts of exultation out.
For centuries in the village a fair is held, every first Sunday of the month, with the cryptic name of "fools' festival", during which hundreds of merchants, all foreign, display for the sale some very peculiar goods, like time machines, hats to become invisible, bracelets to walk on the water, perpetual motion machines, powders to fly and Silvio Berlusconi books.
The fields of Gonzorio are traditionally planted with cereals, grown to yield straw. Actually, always by tradition, the grains are instead regarded as a waste, and the Gonzorieses pay considerable amounts for its disposal, since they ignore milling and the deed that flour comes out from grains. Therefore milling firms from outside collect the cereals, and soon after sell, at a high price, the same flour to the Gonzorieses, which use them to make bread. Years ago a villager of Gonzorio proposed to yield flour from the grains yielded in the village, but he was harshly rebuked and forced to leave the village.
A factor making farming in Gonzorio more difficult is the ancestral custom to employ sheep to pull the plough, while the mechanical means meet with the suspiciousness of the villagers, who can't make themselves clear how could they move by themselves. The mistrus is also due to several accidents occurred with the first tractors taken in the village: the inhabitants yoked however the draught animals, that further on were run over by the mechanical means.
Another typical production of Gonzorio are the figs, which for ancient tradition are cultivated on the steeples' edges, and it makes the harvest difficult, and then the cultivation not very profitable.
The Gonzoriese animal husbandry consists mainly of poultry and other fowls breeding, just to yield wishbones, while the meat is thrown away.
Even beekeeping has been for centuries imported into Gonzorio, even if, lacking instructions, the villagers use to eat the bees and disregard honey.
The typical objects of the village are the pierced wine jugs, good for those who try to give up drinking, the inflammable ash tray, good for those who try to give up smoking, and the electrified cutlery, good for those who are on a diet. The local textile industry boasts a unique in the world patent: the short-sleeved undershirts made of cotton outside and wool inside.
The favourite pastime of the Gonzorieses are the bowls, which are more appreciated since when, few years ago, the spherical bowls have been introduced in the village, in place of the traditional cubical ones. Another amusement of the town is twiddling one's thumbs, an activity in which the Gonzorieses are masters: one of them holds the world record of endurance in the freestyle category with 21 hours, 35 minutes and 18 seconds.
The Gonzorieses, by an ancient tradition, also love doing crossword puzzles, provided that they are simplified and not consist in more than two clues.
The several hotels of Gonzorio offer a warm and solicitous hospitality, with some excesses, like the one to wake up the customers in the middle of the night for the sheets change, since a single change a day is not deemed by the local hotel keepers enough in order to supply an acceptable service. Usually during the night another awakening of the customer occurrs, to ask him if he's satisfied with the service and if he's resting in a comfortable way.
The most renowned hotels are the "Sleepless Nights Hotel", the "Poltergeist Hotel" and the "Wake Hotel", whose rooms have all running water, which unfortunately is usually the waste water coming from the room on the floor above: for this reason it is advisable, when possible, to choose rooms on the upper floor.
It happens in average two or three times a month that foreigners benefit from a very warm welcome and a sumptuous hospitality at the municipality's expenses, for having introduced themselves as "Emperor of China". The fact that often such hosts have blond hair, or black skin, and however never show an Oriental look, doesn't make the Gonzorieses suspicious, and so they offer anyhow their hospitality.
The local gastronomy boasts very peculiar: for instance one of the typical dishes of the town, the maize porridge, is served raw, with not completely pleasant effects; even hard-boiled eggs are highly appreciated, but they are commonly eaten with the eggshell; finally the boiled potatoes, the base of every Gonzuriese meal, are eaten entire and piping hot, since it is considered not nice to leave them cool or to cut them into pieces.
The municipal taxes in Gonzorio are payed in cash directly in the mayor's hands and are in average one thousand times higher than those of the other municipalities. By tradition Gonzorio mayors coming from outside are elected: the last mayor, John Carmine Ligotti has recently been arrested by the FBI for mafioso criminal association and international drug trafficking, while the two city councillors responsible for finances and taxes are until now absconding. The municipality is negotiating for a new mayor, to be choosen between a Montenegrin mafioso and a Columbian narcos boss.
How to get there
With the intention of facilitating the possible visitors and not to thwart them, the municipal administration placed at every cross in the surrounding area road signs signposting the name of Gonzorio in every direction. This makes difficolt to reach the town, even if it is possible to ask the inhabitants of the neighbouring villages for directions, which they will give them with pleasure, as soon as they will stop laughing.
It is not advisable to ask information by e-mail since the tourist office, as a practice, answers with printed letters, sent by ordinary mail, but writing on the envelope the e-mail address. Moreover the shipping clerk tries to stick the self-adhesive stamps licking them on the backside, and so oftentime he causes himself physical damages.