Our unique Godfather tour begins in Savoca, unchanged since the arrival of Paramount Pictures in the early 70's and only a few kilometers away from eternally fashionable Taormina.
The road leading to this lovely village passes through some beautiful seaside towns along the rugged coastline of Sicily overlooking the Italian peninsula. It's a breathtaking scenic drive with some exciting twists and turns.
Once we arrive in town, we’ll stop at the picturesque Bar Vitelli that looks exactly the way it did when Michael Corleone managed to inform Apollonia's father that he was "an American in hiding". Unfortunately Signora Maria, who owned the establishment during the shootings, is no longer around to entertain you with little anecdotes, but no worries: our expert driver will make sure you get to know all the tales about director F.F. Coppola and the film crew.
After checking out some pictures and memorabilia, you can sit at a table and enjoy a cup of coffee or a refreshing lemon granita while recalling the most memorable dialogues from the movie scenes. Later, we will stroll around the town and reach the church of Santa Lucia, where the scene of the wedding was shot. After visiting this lovely little church, we will set forth for another wonderful town used as a shooting location: Forza D'Agrò.
Only a few kilometers away, here as we start walking around the narrow streets to see more filming locations, we'll recall more scenes from the Trilogy and hopefully meet some Sicilians that can add more tales about "Il Padrino", one of the most widely imitated and quoted films of all time.
About Savoca and Forza D'Agro: What You Absolutely Must Visit
The Sicilian town of Savoca is well-known as an area associated with The Godfather and is one of the most delightful towns in Italy. Its pleasant position high on a ridge makes it an area that is adored by vacationers, regardless of whether or not they are Godfather fans. Here you will find the renowned Bar Vitelli, which was highlighted in the film.
Savoca is known as the Town with Seven Faces because of its particular urban design. This name was ascribed by the essayist Sciascia in an article published in 1962 by Il Giorno. To his mind, everywhere you look, Savoca features a different side of herself. Along with the nearby town of Forza D'Agrò, Sicily’s Savoca is known for its association with one of the most popular films in history, The Godfather. Even today, the air is pregnant with the past. Time appears to stand still, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back at least half a century, when there were still no cars on the roads and life was slow and pleasant. Savoca certainly stands out as one of the loveliest towns of Sicily’s Ionian coast. Just a few kilometers from Messina, the town is surrounded by vineyards and citrus and olive groves. Rich in beautiful old churches and fascinating social attractions, Savoca is well worth a visit.
Visitors are immersed in antiquity, evident in every arcing alley. In the central square of the town stands the royal residence of Trimarchi, dating back to 1773. Several scenes from The Godfather were shot inside, rendering it familiar to visitors from around the world. On the ground floor is the Bar Vitelli, one of the most renowned Sicilian locations of The Godfather. Referenced in Mario Puzo’s novel and recreated by Francis Ford Coppola, Bar Vitelli features a number of old works of art and scores of photos of the film and the actors.
You can also visit the wonderful church of San Nicolò, where Michael Corleone and Apollonia’s wedding was filmed. The Church of San Michele, which dates back to 1250, features an impressive Sicilian Gothic sandstone doorway, with captivating frescoes inside. You can also visit Santa Maria in Cielo Assunta, the town’s principal church, constructed in 1130 during the period of Norman rule. Thanks to its exquisitely preserved architecture and historical importance, in 1910 the church was recognized as a National Monument. Don’t miss the fascinating Capuchin monastery, established in 1574, where local nobles were educated, particularly in the aesthetic sciences. The sepulcher here is the final resting place of 367 Sicilian aristocrats. Savoca also features an ancient synagogue, the place of worship for Jewish members of this community and those from surrounding towns and villages.
Forza D'Agrò is a little Sicilian town not far from Taormina. Perched 430 meters above the Ionian Sea between Messina and Catania, its history is colored by the countless invasions over many centuries. The town’s name reflects the presence of a medieval fortress, the "Fortilicium D'Agrò", expanded by the Norman King Roger in the 12 th century, remains of which can still be admired. Traditions live on in Forza d’Agrò, most significantly the celebration of the Most Holy Trinity, held here every other year on the first Sunday of June, alternating with the nearby town of Gallodoro. Every year, representatives from each town’s Confraternity of the Holy Trinty, dressed in tunics and carrying their standards, meet in memory of the visitation of three angels to Abraham. Forza D’Agro was chosen, along with Savoca, by Francis Ford Coppola as the setting of a number of scenes for The Godfather trilogy, recounting the saga of the Corleone family.