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The Godfather: The Sicilian connection

Sleeping with the fish!
Avid followers of the 'The Godfather' films based on the Mario Puzo's book, masterfully directed by Francis Ford Coppola are in for a real treat. Many of the actual film locations are within easy reach of Taormina on the Eastern side of Sicily.

The Mafia Connection
Corleone is set in the island’s hilly interior, south of Palermo. Not only does the central character, Don Corleone (played by Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro) take his name from the town, but it is also the surname of Sicily's most feared mafia family. Unfortunately for the town the filmmakers felt Corleone was too developed to be used as a location. None the less, the town has strong historical links with the mafia - it was the scene of 153 violent deaths between 1944 and 1948. It has been home to some of the mafia's most notorious leaders for many years, including Salvatore Riina, who was finally arrested in 1993 and charged with being responsible for more than 150 murders.

The WeddingEnough of the real life, now back to the fiction!
Savoca a pretty hillside village at the end of a steep, winding drive on the east side of the island, near to Taormina. You may remember this tranquil medieval spot as the setting for the courtship and wedding between Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his first wife, Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli), an actress who actually came from the village of Savoca.

Visit the Bar Vitelli
Just as you enter the village you will see the Bar Vitelli, where Michael discusses his proposed marriage to Apollonia with her father, the owner of the bar, aptly named Vitelli in the film. It is a pretty, 18th-century stone-flagged building, draped in climbing plants with a vine-covered terrace looking out over a deep valley. Much is as in the movie, even down to the curtains over the door. Inside, the partially panelled bar has a small display of photos, press cuttings and mementos from the making of the film.

Bar Vitelli  

Featured Churches...
Not far from Savoca is the charming hilltop village of Forza d’Agro. The church of Sant’Agostino features in the second film, in the scene where Vito escapes to the US hotly pursued by Don Ciccio’s men. Some scenes from the The Godfather Part III were also shot here. Reached via a twisting corkscrew road from the coast, Forza d’Agro is dominated by a 16th-century castle overlooking the coast towards Messina and the strait and is easily reached from Taormina. As well as a couple of decrepit churches and some eerily derelict cottages, there are just a couple of bars and a small restaurant.

Castle of the slaves
About 15 minutes from Taormina is a really lovely place to see, the Castello Degli Schiavi (Castle of the Slaves) at Fuimefreddo. It is said to be built over the site of an ancient Roman Villa.

a brutal revenge...A brutal revenge
This beautiful looking residence (left) was built in 1700 as a country house for the Nobility.

The house was location for several scenes throughout the Godfather films including the un-intentional murder of Apollonia in The Godfather and also the brutal revenge killing of Don Ciccio, by Vito Corleone in Godfather part II.

Teatro MassimoA capital influence
About two hours away is Sicily’s capital, Palermo which was another source of inspiration for the film.

The city’s huge, heavily gilded, late-19th-century theatre, the Teatro Massimo, features in The Godfather Part III when Michael’s son Anthony Corleone makes his debut in the lengthy but gripping opera scene.

Tours of the theatre are available in English -
Tues-Sun - Every 30 minutes between 10am-3.30pm

Once you have visited and experienced the presence of these memorable film locations, you will no doubt be eager to sit through the Trilogy for hours, waiting for the bit to say "I’ve been there!". You can even buy the t-shirt!

All rates are quoted in Euro curency. Price includes driver guide for the entire tour which includes Savoca and Forza D'Agrò only as it would not be possible to visit the Castles of the Slaves as a shore excursion due to the little time available. Price does not include lunch, gratuities nor entrance fees.

Entrance fees: Euro 8,00 per person, payable directly on the spot.

Full Day Tour (7 hrs)

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