I had a great time reading The Don Camillo Omnibus by Giovanni Guareschi. Gusreschi wrote 5 Don Camillo books, but only 3 are included in this omnibus, which was published in 1955 - because the other 2 were written later. The 3 books are: The Little World of Don Camillo, Don Camillo and the Prodigal Son, and Don Camillo's Dilemma. Each book consists of short stories, which I read 1 - 2 every night. They take place in a village in the Po River valley, in North Italy. There are 2 main characters: the village's Catholic priest, Don Camillo, and his adversary, Peppone, the Communist Mayor.
I have seen the film versions with Fernandel and Gino Cervi, the first 2 films; and I liked them very much. What I like about the characters is that although they belong to 2 different groups and become enemies, they are also ready to help when the other is in trouble. One is not an angel and one is not a devil: they are humans with their virtues and faults. They both are equally naughty, and I somehow think Peppone is a bit better than Don Camillo, because Peppone has only his friends and family; while Don Camillo has Christ on the Cross to advise him.
Two particular stories are my most favourite because they are so moving:
1. The Stuff From America continued to A Matter of Consience
Where a villager named Straziami is thrown out of the People's Party because he has taken a relief parcel from America for his hungry child. The Party delegate goes to Straziami's house, takes the food which has been laid on a table - ready for the child - and throws it out of the window.
"You're betraying the cause," said Peppone (to Straziami).
"Isn't the cause freedom? If I give up my freedom, then I'm betraying the cause."
How Don Camillo gets his great hunting dog, Thunder. He finds a stray dog while hunting. The owner comes to pick it up, but Thunder always returns to Don Camillo. Reminds me of the story of Hachiko.
I posted here 2 pages for you who haven't read the book, but are interested: