Bar Aurora: Bagheria’s Place to Be

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This photo was taken by my uncle Stefano during a visit to Sicily in 1950. It is of 3 young bakers or baristas in the kitchen at Bagheria’s Bar Aurora. Bar Aurora was owned by my great uncle Domenico Cuffaro. It was–as the over-exposure from a following photo on the film-roll shows–a laboratorio (bakery), pasticceria (confectioner’s shop), caffe’ (coffeehouse), and gelateria (gelato/ice cream shop). It was also famous throughout Sicily. Painter Renato Guttuso and filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore (both from Bagheria) have both waxed poetic about Bar Aurora; Not only was the espresso unforgettable, but it was also the hippest place in town. During the day, its sidewalk tables were where business took place. And at night, it was where young Bagheresi hung out. And if these 3 ragazzi are any indication–as they offer up freshly soaked rum baba to my 15-year-old uncle behind the camera–it was where I would’ve wanted to be too.

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