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The godfather of R&R

Coppola vision extends to burgeoning resort biz

While the names of other godfathers of 1970s cinema seem embedded in that era, Francis Ford Coppola and his familial empire continue to expand into ever more enterprises — most of which have little to do with Hollywood but all of which embody the director’s talent for living well.

The “Apocalypse, Now” helmer is working to acquire a palazzo in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, complementing the three resorts he already owns in Belize and Guatemala.

Plans are also underway to acquire resort properties in Mexico.

“It’s my feeling that just as cinema and movies became such a main-stream, popular phenomenon in the late ’70s now travel has become equally important,” Coppola wrote in an e-mail from Europe.

For more than two decades Coppola has been turning his interests and loves into a $100 million-plus business that, besides travel, includes wine, restaurants, pasta sauces and a literary magazine.

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“All these fields are a form of storytelling, I believe, of show business, and are united in that they offer quality, authenticity and pleasure to the public.”

Coppola bought his first Belize resort, Blancaneaux, in 1981.

“I originally thought of it as a jungle hideway for my kids,” Coppola writes. “Clearly it was tough to maintain such a place for only that purpose, so gradually I converted it to a resort other people could enjoy.”

The hideaway’s success led to Turtle Inn, a beach resort in Belize, and, subsequently, La Lancha, in Guatemala.

Not that the Coppola brand is absent from Hollywood.

Coppola has been active as a producer and executive producer — including of his daughter Sofia Coppola‘s work — and is at work on the screenplay for his pet project “Megalopolis.”