Savoca, Sicily – The Godfather Village

Last Thursday, I teased you with some heart-themed photos from the village of Savoca. Now it’s time for the rest of the tour. First, may I suggest you cue la musica to set the mood?

Now, remember to keep an eye on my Sicily 2008 Flickr collection for *all* my photos from our recent trip (updated daily!); also click on any of the photos below to be taken to the larger version on Flickr, and note that some of the words in pink will take you to other photos not featured here.

Il Padrino Bed & Breakfast, Savoca, Sicily

Il Padrino B&B

As I’ve mentioned, Savoca (in the province of Messina) is probably most famous for providing scenery for Il Padrino, or The Godfather. In fact, if you’re looking to stay in Savoca, there’s even a bed & breakfast that bears the film’s name (see left).

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Self, wasn’t The Godfather set in Corleone?”

Well, yes, but through Hollywood magic, the quaint town of Savoca became the filming location for some scenes in the movie, as further explained by Cherrye, my travel companion, at My Bella Vita.

So instead of Corleone, you got to visit Savoca’s Bar Vitelli:

Bar Vitelli, Savoca, Sicily

Bar Vitelli, Savoca, Sicily

where Michael Corleone asks for Apollonia’s hand in marriage from her father.

The other major scene filmed in Savoca is the wedding of Michael and Apollonia, which takes place at the Chiesa di Santa Lucia or Chiesa di San Nicolò:

Chiesa di Santa Lucia, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Chiesa di Santa Lucia, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

But wait! There’s so much more to see in the 12th century village of Savoca!

Come on in through the Porta della Città:

Porta della Città, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Porta della Città, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

This impressive arch is all that remains of the medieval gates that used to lock up the village at night–until 1918.

We arrived in Savoca as the sun was going down in a light rain, which meant that there was next to no one around. This sentiment comes across so poetically in Italian as I later told P, “Non c’era un’anima.”

There wasn’t a soul.

And then I asked him, jokingly, if that was a coincidence, given the town’s notoriety as the setting for Il Padrino. Hah!

Speaking of, ahem, dead bodies, there are catacombs in Savoca, but they were closed when we were there; we did, however, make it to the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo.

Here is a view overlooking the Chiesa Madre of Savoca:

Chiesa Madre, Savoca, Sicily

Chiesa Madre, Savoca, Sicily

Do you see the house that seems to be glowing on the left? It’s a “Casa medioevale con finestra a Bifora,” a medieval house with a peculiar style of window that gives “two lights” that is quite common in Sicily.

Bifora Quattrocentesca, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Bifora Quattrocentesca, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Savoca is also known as the Città d’Arte, the City of Art; this was represented in various forms of art throughout the village:

Città d’Arte, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Città d’Arte, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

As well as plenty of religious representations such as this one above a door:

Detail above door, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Detail above door, Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

The Stations of the Cross and several shrines also decorate the main street that runs through Savoca, and even ordinary houses are extraordinary.

And of course we can’t forget about natural beauty, which is truly everywhere.

Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Savoca, Sicily on Flickr

Savoca is well-worth a trip if you’re in the area (it’s 37 km from Messina), especially if you love medieval villages like I do.

And while The Godfather settings are must-sees, definitely leave time to walk around and really soak up the atmosphere of this hidden Sicilian treasure–all the better if you’re there on a clear day when some of the attractions are open.

21 Beans of Wisdom to “Savoca, Sicily – The Godfather Village”
  1. 03.04.2008

    Love this blogs on Sicily! We actually want to move there eventually…even looked at a place in Savoca. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

    I shall do my best Megan…lots more photos and info to be sure! I’ve only covered our first day in Sicily so far 😉

  2. alexmom

    we’re definitely putting Savoca on our *must-go-there* list. We’ve only made one trip across the straits, took the car over on the ferry, and headed for Taormina, which was gorgeous, but didn’t have enough time for exploring the medieval hills, which are also our favorites!!!……..oh, and that photo of you two over at Cherrye’s blog is terrific!!

    Glad you liked the photo 😉 To give you an idea, on a clear day you’d be able to see Taormina from Savoca, so it’s definitely a great day trip!

  3. 03.04.2008

    Eating my heart out over here, good Sognatrice. Thank you.

    Your images, your words, bella Sicila are simply delicious.

    witnessing am i’s last blog post..Mondays

    So happy you’re enjoying the Sicilian tour 🙂

  4. 03.04.2008

    Love the Porta della Città pic! I”m so enjoying traveling vicariously through your blog!

    kacey’s last blog post..There’s No Place Like Home

    It’s a pleasure to have you along Kacey! Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. 03.04.2008

    Brava!! I feel like I was there. 😉

    Cherrye’s last blog post..Il Padrino in…Savoca

    I’m good, huh? 😉

  6. 03.04.2008

    What is that last tree? It looks very unusual. And I loved the photo of the city gate.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Music Monday – “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” – the Beatles and William Shatner

    Jen I wish I knew the name. Someone told me once, in Italian, that it was native to the areas around the Ionian Sea (including where I am in Calabria and parts of Greece), but I don’t remember the name!

    EDIT: A faithful reader (and my tour guide in Messina and Savoca) emailed me to say that it looks like a wild fennel plant gone even wilder–and I do agree (those tufts on the bottom *definitely* look like fennel); I had been thinking of a different plant that I realized is very different when I compared an old photo of one to this new photo…which just might be that agave that Linda talks about below.

  7. 03.04.2008

    Lovely photos. Makes me want to go… then again…it doesn’t take much convincing 😉 My Italian teacher is originally from Sicily. I told her of your visit to Messina and you could see the longing in her eyes. She will be taking a group of students over in August. Uhhh, you can count me out. Not in August anyway.

    My Melange’s last blog post..The Colors of Italy

    Ooh no, August in Sicily wouldn’t be on my agenda either. So your teacher’s a southerner? How lucky you are 😉

  8. Gil

    Your Sicily trip is beginning to sound like my the trip my Son & his Bride took for their honeymoon a few months back! I really give you credit for all of the work that you put into your blog.

    Thanks Gil; it can get to be a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding–and a great way to keep track of a life to boot 😉 I wonder if we followed the same route as your son and DIL?!

  9. 03.04.2008

    Looks beautiful. We *so* want to see Sicily someday. Have to admit that I’ve never seen Il Padrino, though!

    Valerie’s last blog post..Sunday Night Lights

    Valerie, I first saw all of The Godfather series maybe a year and a half ago, only b/c one of P’s friends had the DVD set. Honestly Puzo’s book is much better, but the films are fabulous too. As is Sicily 😉

  10. 03.04.2008

    Fantastic, I’m hanging on every word of the Sicily story. My ambition is go there and eat pasta con sarde as it should be made. Did you try it? If not you’ll just have to go back and maybe I’ll come with you.

    amanda’s last blog post..A weekend off with SpongeBob

    No pasta con sarde for us this go around–all the more reason to head back (and you’re more than welcome to join in the fun!) 🙂

  11. 03.04.2008

    What beautiful photos!

    Diane Mandy’s last blog post..The Road Less Traveled

    Thanks Diane; the surroundings *really* lend themselves to photos 🙂

  12. 03.04.2008

    makes me want to get on a plane right now. of course, it wouldn’t take much to make me want to get on a plane. this winter just won’t end 😉

    lovely photos!

    honestyrain’s last blog first i wasn’t sure why, but this struck me as relevant

    My family keeps telling me about the winter that won’t end too; it’s been quite mild here for a while, and I’m not complaining 😉

  13. Linda

    The Godfather is one of my all-time faves! I’ve seen it a dozen times and I still salivate at the sight of a hot young Al Pacino in a coppola, sitting at that very bar. Can’t wait to visit one day.
    Btw, I think that plant in the picture is a type of agave. I remember seeing lots of them when I was in Sicily.

    Pacino was a hottie wasn’t he? About the plant, I think the agave is what I was originally thinking too, but then a reader told me that she has one of these in her garden in Sicily and it’s wild fennel really out of control–and it looks that way to me as well from those tufts at the bottom. I have a photo of an agave that I compared, and they actually look quite different (in my memory, though, they looked the same!).

  14. Godfather I & II are two of the greatest American films every made. You know I won’t be able to go to Sicily without seeing some of the locations.

    As always your photos are belle!

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Girl Scout cookies, Chateau Marmont

    You’re going to love it!

  15. 03.05.2008

    I could pack up today and move to Italy. Your photos and words are so evocative, Sognatrice. And I could do with a bit of sunshine.

    african vanielje’s last blog post..Catch -ups and apologies. Story of my life!

    Sun is shining here today, although less so than the past few days. Still, I can send some your way 🙂

  16. 03.05.2008

    Visiting Sicily is in the list of common “wants” that DH and I share. We haven’t been to Italy since 2004 and I have been itching to go again, especially with our neighbours visiting for a conference for a week, taking the family with them!
    what is it about Italy that makes me go Ahhh and Iiii, I don’t know. It’s not just about the Architecture that I love, or the natural beauty. Do you think I might have been a Magna Grecian in a previous life?

    Irene’s last blog post..Time Travel Tuesday-Easter

    That just may be the case Irene; hope you’ll come over and visit us soon 🙂

  17. 03.05.2008

    Love these photos! Unfortunately my computer is not cooperating with flickr right now, so I’ll have to check out the rest later on, but with these as a preview, I know I MUST go check them out.

    Now, would you believe I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies? Yes, I know, shame on me! 😉

    Karina’s last blog post..Pahk the Cah in Hahvad Yahd…

    Oh boo on the Flickr issues 🙁 You definitely should see The Godfather; I only saw it for the first time within the past year and a half myself. And then I watched it about four times 😉

  18. 03.05.2008

    What beautiful pictures! Sounds like you two had a great time!

    Erin’s last blog post..The Ultimate Blog Party 2008

    Thanks Erin; it was really a fabulous trip 🙂

  19. 03.11.2008

    Oh, Savoca… I do love this place. I hope it stays off the itinerary of large tour groups for a long, long, time.

    Another “Godfather” stop in Sicily is the Il Castello degli Schiavi in Fiumefreddo, Catania. It is known for being the house where many scenes were shot, one of the most famous being in ‘The Godfather Part I’ when Apollonia was murdered and the last scene of the trilogy; The Godfather sitting in his chair when he was very old…

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed yourself, a hidden Sicilian treasure indeed!

    Jill’s last blog post..And we’re off…

    Ooh thanks for the tips on more places to visit; I’ll definitely be headed back to Sicilia sooner or later–and hopefully you’ll be around this time!

  20. 03.15.2008

    Your photos are just beautiful! I can’t wait to get to Europe again as an adult to take some pictures with an adulteye (going at 18 truly doesn’t count since all I wanted to do was drink, shop, drink, dance, drink, shop and drink). Hopefully, we’ll get there within the year (of course, I’ve said that since some time last year now, but I’m going to be positive and keep pushing the man.

    LA Blogger Gal’s last blog post..Wild Boys Always Shine

    I hope you can get here too; I think trips always offer something different when we visit at different stages in our lives…will be interesting to see your different impressions.

  21. 09.17.2010

    Love your blog and images. Sicily is one of my favourite places to be. The village of Savoca has such appeal. Indeed, everything about this Country is magical. Wonderful people, gorgeous food and wine and beautiful scenery. How I wish I was there!!!

    Thanks Greg! Sicily is really a beautiful place, I agree 🙂

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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