Sonny Vaccaro, the main character of the movie “Air”

Who is Sonny Vaccaro, the protagonist of the film “Air” played by Matt Damon in the recent film by Ben Affleck?

The film tells the story of the Nike “Air” brand that enters basketball through Michael Jordan’s shoes and how the various protagonists entered the story that represented a global success for Nike.

It is a true story and it is the story of Sonny Vaccaro of Italian parents from Falerna, our small Calabrian town in the province of Catanzaro.

Directed by Ben Affleck, the film stars Affleck himself as Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro who originates the story by signing the then unknown champion Michael Jordan.

An important role is also played by Jordan’s mother, without whose consent to Michael’s accession to Nike there would have been no “Air” and who knows if Michaele’s success would have been the same.

The film therefore tells a moving story with a champion in his infancy, a mother who counts on her son’s talent, a sports manager who sees the future of that champion and has a vision of the possible commercial success of a brand, a businessman who he accepts a challenge and puts his trust in those who show him enthusiasm and knowledge of a sports sector that until then had not been controlled by Nike.

Sonny Vaccaro (born as John Paul Vincent and later called Sonny) was born on September 23, 1939 in Pennsylvania, but is of Italian parents from Falerna. This story is therefore particularly dear and moving to us, because it is the umpteenth story of emigration with positive success.

We would like Sonny to visit Falerna where he would be given a worthy welcome as it has been for other successful personalities with Falernese origins.

Sonny, we’re waiting for you!!


Throughout the area there are many possibilities of accommodation, holiday homes, cottages, B & B, hotels that offer various standards.

The receptivity is located in the marinas, in the hills or even in the upper parts of the villages, remembering that all the villages of this area of Calabria have a part of the marina and the rest of the village that climbs up into the hills to almost the mountain of the mountain Mancuso, therefore from zero meters up to 500/600 meters above sea level, and beyond, where, among other things, in summer you can enjoy the natural freshness produced by the surrounding vegetation. Below we have collected them according to the categories. Some are present in more than one category since they can be rented in more than one solution.

More info …

The Brigands of Mancuso Mountain

The association “I Briganti del Mancuso”, the Brigands of Mancuso Mountain, recently established in Falerna, whose name recalls the strong reaction of the Calabrians to the attempt to be subjugated, impoverished and exploited in the period prior to the establishment of the unification of Italy. Once they were said brigands, illegals, criminals and many other negative adjectives. The recently revised and more in-depth story, supported by data and documents, told us instead of those who fought for their freedom, for that of their loved ones, for their lands and to avoid what then happened in terms of migration and desperation of an entire South.

Nocera – Ecological walk of the 5 mills

Also this year, for the sixth consecutive year now, the traditional walk of the mills organized by Agriturismo CALABRIALCUBO took place. An event with a mixed historical and naturalistic theme that includes, starting from the church of Nocera Marina and most of it to the side of the river Grande, a path where 5 mills meet up to Nocera Terinese Superiore, located near the farm premises CALABRIALCUBO, where you can visit the last of the mills in one of the rooms of the old house, now part of the farm, appropriately renovated and modernized.

As the caption of the sign at the beginning of the path reads, it is a 4.5 km path that runs in about 2.5 hours and that together with the preparation in the square in front of the church commits pleasantly for about 3 hours. It takes place on August 12th of each year.

So there are 5 mills that meet during the journey:

  1. Ignazio Ventura mill – Small in size and exquisite workmanship characterized by the typical hydraulic tower and arched adduct (saitta), once the most frequented mill in the area, according to today’s memories, throughout the first half of the 1900s it was very well known, as quality, and identified as “mill of Destro”. It was the most important for both the large amount of work that took place and because it was very well equipped. In fact, almost all the farmers of the same town of Campodorato resorted to it. Presumably it worked until the forties.
  2. Mulino / Frantoio Mancini (currently the private residence of La Rosa) – famous for an imposing Persian wheel. There were about ten trappitaries (millers) working there. There are few characteristic features of the Frantoio and the water mill, the owners are very courteous, but try not to disturb and … Beware of dogs!
  3. Mulino Longo – The ruins owned by the Longo family in recent years (late 20s-25s) has been used instead to work with clay to make tiles (ceramiles).
    Arches: the origin and usefulness of this arch, currently composed of only 6 arches, is uncertain; brought to light during the cleaning of the path for the first ecological walk, may be ruins of the saitta, the adductor channel of the Longo Mill not far away, or have different origins, some speculate that they are the remains of the ancient “Calvary”, in the niches of which the Via Crucis was perhaps represented, rising from Caprara to the inhabited area.
  4. “Danna Vittoria” Mill – The largest and most impressive of the 5, are visible from the path the two hydraulic towers, one hexagonal and the other cylindrical, remained in business until the 40s of the 900 when it was partly damaged by a flood of the river Grande.
  5. Ventura mill – CALABRIALCUBO – The only renovated mill, now in operation, is characterized by 2 water mills and a continuous line of the 40s powered by electric motors that performs the operations of cleaning, grinding, and sorting the flour (Crusca, Cruschello , Integrale flour, Flour 0), remained in business until the end of the ’70s. During the Second World War, the German troops, first in the descent and then in the retreat phase, crossed the bridge over the river Grande at the mill today “Calabrialcubo”. During the ascent of the peninsula, the Germans, September 9, 1943, while behind them were the American army V and the English VIII that had conquered Nicastro a few days before, they blew up the iron bridge that was on the river Grande near the mill.

The bridge was built in 1886, with a strong iron structure consisting of bolted elements of large proportions.

When the explosive charge was made to shine, the roar was so strong that it broke the windows of the mill and many houses. The debris of the bridge spread all around for many meters, even to end up near Via Canale. For many days the inhabitants of Nocera set out, in the area of the river Grande, in search of the wreckage of the bridge, to be sold, and to make some money, to the iron traders. Still in the ’60s pieces were found near the mill. The bridge was then rebuilt, with much less grace, in cement in 1950 and renovated, with even less grace, in the 90s.

All the participants were offered T-shirt and hat, which worn before the walk, pleasantly marked all the participants forming a beautiful colorful trail of people. Those who wanted, then, could also receive gloves and bags to collect the unnatural material that could then be found along the way in order to clean up the path of waste that somehow has been brought there.

The evening ended, as usual, with a big picnic offered by the farm, sandwich with local products and drink (even self-produced beer, “‘a magara”), and with the return by shuttle bus organized by the same farmhouse.

We congratulate Marco Ferrini and his staff for this wonderful event that brings value to the territory and makes its lodging and productive activity known. In fact, his company Fangiano Farm ( as well as dealing with accommodation, produces excellent oil, makes catering and also produces a series of craft beers under the brand of ‘a magara, as well as doing many other things.

The photos below show the many moments of the walk. They are two sets of photos, so once you have seen the first set, you will need to click on the arrow at the bottom of the web page to access the second set of photos. Good vision and see you next year’s walk!

Falerna – Farmhouse Villani

It is a long story that of the Villani farm, so called for the area in which it is located, precisely the locality “Villani”.

Made in an old farmhouse, probably an old oil mill so much so that there is still the millstone with stone wheels, mostly built in stone, it was born from the expert hands, animated by the beautiful passion for the ancient and for the traditions, of the ancestor of the Floro family, Michele in fact. Today, after many management, it returned to the hands of the Floro family and in particular of Francesco and Antonio assisted by their respective wives.

More info….

Falerna – Origano dell’Uliveto di Calabria

From the passion of Ennio Maruca, electrotechnical engineer and passionate about growing tomatoes, hot peppers and aromatic and medicinal herbs, and from that of Daniele Oppizzi, biologist and nephew of Ennio, who is also passionate about the cultivation of Mediterranean products, such as aromatic plants and medicines, Origano dell’Uliveto di Calabria was born for the production of oregano for the wholesale market and for foreign markets.

Some more information …

Falerna – Casa Falerno, a new idea of agriculture

A new initiative that Tommaso, passionate about agriculture and oenology, has launched in the territory of Falerna
How did the idea of Casa Falerno come about?
Tommaso recounts that everything started when he was a teenager, when, being a student in agriculture and passionate about history, he wondered if the name of his village, Falerna, had a link with the ancient Falerno wine celebrated in Roman times.