Malitàglia is a small town
renowned from time immemorial for its millenary history and its
environmental, historical and landscape beauties, which are unique
in the world; nevertheless in the last years it appears on the
international media for the ridiculous behaviour of its inhabitants
and, above all, of its administrators, object of hilarity and
scorn for the entire planet.
Malitaglia, however, is still reached by many tourist excursions, although it seems that its inhabitants have done all they could to discourage the foreigners' visits and to make their stay unpleasant and their return unlikely.
What to see
The wonderful Gothic cathedral of Saint Francis of Siena can not be visited being under restoration since 1948. The slowness of the works is due to the lack of funds, as the huge amounts allocated for the restorations are continuously averted in order to finance private buildings' renovations, for the benefit of somebody of the administration's entourage, but without their knowledge. The funds are also averted in favor of private associations, like the Acrobatic Origami Club or the Confraternity of the Knights Templar of chaffinch hunting, which have the only requisite to be linked to the party into power in the village.
Meanwhile the remarkable frescoes by Giotto, Piero della Francesca and Michelangelo are at this point almost completely erased and all the precious paintings and church vessels have been stolen, if they were made of gold or silver, or even damaged by negligence, if they were made of non-precious materials, since the inhabitants have completely lost the concept of "artistic value". The councillor responsible for culture, Panzo Bonfi, denies at any rate to be accountable for the deterioration of the artistic heritage, and maintains he has no time to waste for these trifles, being tied down to create immortal poems in praise of his Boss.
The greatest attraction of the town is however being the biggest unauthorized landfill in the world, due to the total denial of its inhabitants to engage in the separate collection of waste. The garbage saturating the street of the town attracts reporters and operators from all the world, making reports which reassure their fellow citizens, showing that in the world there's always somebody who lives worse than you. Rubbish is also a goldmine for the organized crime, who manages its disposal.
In Malitàglia the many ancient traditional festivities, different depending on the different districts, are at this point influenced by the television, meaning that, when they have not been turned into television shows, they disappeared and don't even remain in the memory of the elderly citizens.
The most important festivity is that of the patron saint, saint Francis, during which in the past the faithfuls used to carry in procession big wooden sculptures representing sacred scenes, while the crowd sang religious hymns. Today the festivity has been turned into a gymkhana in which the body-builders of the town, half-naked, carry in procession on soaped streets the most beautiful girls of the town, half-naked too, competing to come in first, while the crowd accompanies the contest with obscene jokes and gestures, blowing raspberries and throwing manure, and tries to trip the rival quarters' runners up.
Another ancient traditional festivity, taking place since almost thirty years already, is the soubrettes' blessing, in which the under age girls of the town invoke Saint Bernadette's protection to succeed in becoming television soubrettes or, even better, in becoming escorts, since in Malitaglia this is the last chance left to find a job except for emigration.
One of the parish churches of the town, then, against payment of some sponsors, plays host to a swearwords contest, deemed as permissible since included in a certain context (economic, in this case). In this occasion the parish priest acts as an umpire and the confessionals are turned into betting offices on the winner. The Hosts for the Holy Communion bear at present the logo of the sponsor, the Crook & Oaf Real Estate, engaged into the illegal parcelling out on Renabella beach, once Integral Wildlife Sanctuary.
The only festivity which retained components of religious spirituality is Saint Caliddu's, during which the church bearing the same name is occupied by the most important mafia boss of the town, in addition to the main political authorities (in certain cases the two roles coincide) which, showing love towards the poorer, pray to beseech from Heaven good crops for the Third World countries, in particular coca in Colombia and opium in Afghanistan.
The secular tradition of pottery evolved as for its style, and now the typical objects of Malitàglia are ceramic phalluses, of several sizes, bearing imprinted obscene inscriptions and jokes; other typical objects are the facetious mini toilet bowls. Leaving out the more kitsch objects, we can also signal the kitchen apron depicting Benito Mussolini or even the pelvic area of Michelangelo's David (united by depicting both some great dickheads).
For the folklore-lovers the typical country tradition objects are on sale: they are all made in Hong Kong, but resembling very much to the original ones; copies, again of Chinese production, of the works of art present in Malitaglia before they were stolen or destroyed can also be seen.
The restaurants in Malitàglia share the unpleasant characteristic to inform the customers of the prices only after the end of the meal, and to give false descriptions of the dishes listed in the menu; it's also frequent that the ordered dish be replaced with another, at the pleases of the restaurant manager, who roughly opposes every complaint.
In spite of the secular gastronomic tradition of Malitaglia, the dishes are not agreeable, since the ingredients are usually damaged and of very bad quality, since the restaurant manager's profit is rigorously defended, and it's considered as predominating interest, compared to the customer's. In case human fragments (ears, noses, etc.) should be found in the plate, it's advisable to refrain from complaining to the waiter and to pretend nothing happened.
The request of a receipt for tax purposes at the end of the meal is considered by the tradesmen a serious offence and usually triggers a physical aggression.
The hotels in Malitàglia are few and with unbearable prices, and those shown on the price list in the hall and on the internet are about one third of the real ones, since they don't include odd extra charges like "sheets' wear and tear" (20%), "concierges insurance fund" (10%), "occupancy of the hall area" (15%), "mini-bar drinks obsolescence" (20%), "staff politeness" (30%) and above all the very pleasant "visitors' tax" with an arbitrary amount.
Several brothels for VIP guests are also running, recruiting their girls directly in junior secondary schools.
Besides the visit of the tourist beauties, once in Malitàglia it was also possible to relax on the splendid beaches of the town and to bathe in its clearest sea with gorgeous seabeds. Due to the considerable appeal of tourists and the absolute lack of rules, the beaches of the town have been swallowed up by unlicensed blocks of flats, which, being lacking in sewerage for saving reasons, drain in the sea the sewage produced by thousands tourists and natives, making sea bathing a disgusting and dangerous hazard, while lying in the sun on the beach is even worse.
The lovers of "particular" massages can use the Bertolaccio Beauty Center, owned by the Town Civil Defence's boss, managed by a luminary in the field, doctor Samantha Monamour, where cervical problems are curiously treated in the pelvic area, with positive effects, it seems, on the patients.
Malitàglia was once renowned for being the cradle of culture, but now just few educational institutions survive from the past splendour, like the State Training School for Showgirls "Silvia Toffanin", the National Lap-dance Academy or the Qualifying School for Movie Belchers "Alvaro Vitali".
The numerous libraries and the prestigious museums of the town are already closed since a long time for the drastic spending cuts, decided by the municipal administration; the cuts didn't generate any protest anyway, since the inhabitants spend all their time in front of the TV, to follow the programmes of the local channels, being all identical since they belong to the same owner, which also holds the role of mayor.
Since more than twenty years Malitàglia is managed by Mayor Silvano Bernasconi, who is re-elected by acclamation, in fact he doesn't even tolerate that somebody talks about elections, since he maintains that the whole town is madly in love with him, so they would for sure re-elect him, and therefore it is useless to waste money for voting. Even the blame on his management of public affairs is deemed as offensive and therefore is punished. In the course of opinion polls the 95% of the population declares to be unsatisfied by the municipal administration and expresses the wish that all its members be sprinkled with honey and tied to an anthill, but when it comes to giving their vote, the old mayor always gets the reconfirmation.
How to get there
The transports to Malitaglia are rather hazardous, both for the really scanty punctuality, both for the means of transport's dirtiness, that advises a cycle of precautionary vaccinations before using them. It must remark that the trains' toilets are usually out of order, and therefore is advisable to take measures before the departure (anyway the stations' toilets admit only customers with gold credit cards and a one week in advance reservation.
For the access with private cars it must take into account that in Malitaglia since a long time there are no more rules, and therefore the driving style must be adapted, taking as a model James Bond running away as pursued by the Spectre.
To get information from the Malitaglia Tourist Office it's advisable to have behind a city council member or a cardinal; obtaining a hotel reservation it's easier offering an adolescent daughter to the mayor or to a member of his entourage; pretty young girls are often lodged, like it or not, in the mayor's villa.