Sofia Coppola to wed in ancestral Italian town

Filmmaker Sofia Coppola is going back to her roots, getting married Saturday in the remote, southern Italian town where her great-grandfather was born.

Coppola is marrying Thomas Mars, lead singer of the French rock band Phoenix and the father of their two young daughters, in Bernalda, near the Gulf of Taranto in Italy's Basilicata region.

The ceremony will take place in the garden of a historic palazzo that her famous father, Francis Ford Coppola, has renovated in Bernalda's historic center, according to mayor Leonardo Chiruzzi. The senior Coppola plans to turn it into a luxury boutique hotel.

Bernalda, near the UNESCO-recognized troglodyte settlement of Matera to the north, was home to the elder Coppola's grandfather, Agostino, before he emigrated to the United States.

Chiruzzi, who is due to perform the civil ceremony, said the wedding would be simple but beautiful.

"If they wanted to do a Hollywood wedding, they wouldn't have done it here," Chiruzzi said by phone on the eve of the nuptials. "(They) chose to do it here because it's here — it's here that is beautiful."

There was no immediate word on guests, but the ANSA news agency said they included Johnny Depp and Talia Shire, the bride's aunt, who is best known for her roles in her brother's "The Godfather" films and as Sylvester Stallone's girlfriend Adrian in "Rocky."

Sofia Coppola's 2003 film "Lost in Translation" won the 40-year-old filmmaker an Academy Award for original screenplay and made her the third woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar. Her 2010 film "Somewhere," about an actor who sees the emptiness of his existence through the eyes of his child, won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice film festival last year.

She divorced fellow filmmaker Spike Jonze in 2003.

The elder Coppola has become something of a spokesman for Basilicata, a poor region located on the "arch" of boot-shaped Italy. In a promotional video for the area, he reminisced about his grandfather's tales about Bernalda and extolled Basilicata's unspoiled — and largely unknown — beauty and culture.

Matera is on UNESCO's world heritage list, prized as an example of a traditional human settlement that dates from Palaeolithic times. The famous sassi, caves dug into the soft tufa rock that gives Matera the look of ancient Jerusalem, were used as primitive, one-room homes and remain a tourist draw today.

Some have been renovated and turned into trendy hotels, but the area remains so ancient- looking that Mel Gibson shot much of "The Passion of the Christ" there.

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