TRAVEL
06/22/2010 05:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gaddafi Loves Italy: Libyan Leader To Build In Small Italian Town?

Colonel Gaddafi, the powerful (sometimes frightening) Libyan leader, has fallen for the small Italian town of Antrodoco. He stopped there last summer on his way to visit earthquake-ridden L'Aquila for the G8 Summer; on the way back, he was greeted by locals, according to ABC News.

The town has, until now, also been known for something even a little bit more sinister: on a mountainside nearby, rows of pine trees spell out the word "DUX," the Latin word for leader, in a tribute to dictator Benito Mussolini.

Antrodoco's mayor, ever the opportunist, is hoping to get Gaddafi to invest in the town and make it a tourist destination (like other small Italian towns, unemployment is high) by funding a luxury hotel, a bottling plant for local mountain spring water (the town supplies water to Rome), and a new sports center and soccer-training center. It might be a tall order for a leader who has been to the town twice, but things are looking up: the town's mayor and a delegation of 13 met with Gaddafi yesterday to discuss the town's proposals.

Councillor Italo Cricchi told ABC News: "Our dream and wish is to continue to live in our land and spread the word worldwide about our town with our bottled spring water - our special water that supplies Rome with its water. Wouldn't it be just great if this chance meeting sparked this close tie for the future?" he mused, adding he was hopeful the projects discussed would become a reality someday soon. "We believe in fairy tales!"