Yes, in the spoken language passato remoto is commonly used in the southern regions!
The sentence you quoted is tricky, because the accent marks may hint at the future tense, yet the ones used here are conjugations of passato remoto. The general rule (there are exceptions!) for the third singular person is: -ERE verbs take -ette, -ARE and -IRE verbs have an accent mark. For example, you'll have...
lei portò una torta (from portare) - she brought a cake
lui la mangiò tutta (from mangiare) - he ate it all
lei si arrabbiò (from arrabbiarsi, reflexive form of arrabbiare) - she got angry
lui dovette scusarsi (from dovere) - he had to apologize
lei ricevette un mazzo di fiori (from ricevere, the verb we've already seen) - she received a bunch of flowers
lui prese le chiavi della macchina (irregular verb, prendere) - he took the car keys
lei dormì un po' sul divano (from dormire) - she slept a bit on the sofa
lui uscì di casa (from uscire) - he went out (the house)
lei disse che voleva andare fuori a cena (irregular verb, dire) - she said she wanted to go out to eat
ma nessuno la sentì (from sentire) - but nobody heard her
Fermare and voltare are regular -ARE verbs, so they will have an accent mark in the third singular person of passato remoto. The conjugations of futuro semplice still have an accent mark, but the vowel changes and part of the ending remains:
lui fermò la macchina - he stopped the car
lui fermerà la macchina - he will stop the car
lui si voltò - he turned
lui si volterà - he will turn
Verbs in -ERE and -IRE as well have an "a" vowel in the future tense:
lui ricevette, lui riceverà - he received, he will receive
lui dormì, lui dormirà - he slept, he will sleep
The best way to learn how to conjugate verbs in passato remoto is indeed reading, so keep up with the great work! :)
P.S. a quick note about your sentence: be careful not to confuse si with sì, because the first is a reflexive particle, the latter means yes!