I’ve Got An “Offer You Can’t Refuse!”
But, when my wife Alex and I were in Sicily we got to go on a tour of locations used in the cinematic masterpiece “The Godfather!”
The film was a phenomenon when released in 1972: winner of Best Picture of the year, Marlon Brando award the Oscar for Best Actor – and of course the scandal when he sent out Sasheen Littlefeather to accept the award and speak out against Native American oppression…
Many scenes from the movie were filmed in Sicily, and since we were staying nearby, it was time to head up to Corleone to see those locations!
Heading High Above Taormina, Sicily!
We were staying in the town of Taormina, so it was just a 25 minute drive up the hills of Sicily to a very rural part of the island!
We got to see several of the iconic locations from the film, telling the story of The Godfather’s Michael Corleone, who heads to avoid police after killing a corrupt Police Sargeant.
Welcome To Corleone Sicily – Well, Kind Of!
As you can see, Alex is proving you CAN be in two places at once! This spectacular overview is a good place to talk about exactly where the film was and wasn’t shot!
If you know the film’s folklore, “The Godfather” – young Vito Corleone – is named as such because the Immigration Officer at Ellis Island reads his name tag and sees the town name Corleone, which he promptly gives the young boy as his last name!
The town of Corleone is real, but here is the truth about the locations used in the movie.
“Savoca and Forza d’Agrò are the two most famous filming locations of The Godfather movies in Sicily. These small medieval villages were featured in some of the most iconic scenes in the movie, such as Michael Corleone’s first meeting with Apollonia’s father, and the wedding.”
This Is NOT “Corleone!”
While there is indeed a town named Corleone, it was far too modern to be used in the film, so welcome to the small “backup” towns of Forza D’Agro and Savoca!
Here’s a short video to explain why we are here in Forza D’Agro:
The actual town of Corleone is located 37 miles south of Palermo. When Director Francis Ford Coppola began filming the movie, he realized he couldn’t use the actual town in which the books are set, because Corleone was too modern-looking.
Many scenes of village life were filmed here in Forzà d’Agrò, with its cobblestone streets and traditional houses.
It turns out our Guide spoke little English,a nd we speak little Italian, so it was a bit of a “self guided” tour!
The church of the Santissima Annunziata (Mother church) in Forza d’Agrò was also used for several scenes in the film – we weren’t sure which as the language barrier got in our way of that information…however, our next stop would prove much easier to figure out!
Now on to Savoca, where their church is used in one of the film’s most celebrated moments – and there are many markers to celebrate it!
The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is where Michael marries Apollonia…it’s located at the top of a long narrow road.
Because it was 90 degrees, we took a motorized cart up the narrow cobblestone road to the church…
We took a few pictures before heading inside to see the interior of this iconic location:
The Film’s “Halo of Legend!”
If you read this very large placard inside the church, they are proud of the filming but note they do NOT condone the illegal activities of those portrayed in the film!
After posing again out front, we took the cart back down – and what a wild ride it was!
Once our teeth stopped chattering, we headed into the last stop on the tour – the most famous one!
Our last location is iconic for all movie fans!
Godfather aficionados will instantly recognize Bar Vitelli, where Michael Corleone told Apollonia’s father of his intention to marry his daughter. The scene was shot in the real bar, at a table just outside the entrance…and guess what?
We sat in the exact same spot!
Yep, we are sitting where Al and his bodyguard sat – and we ordered drinks at Bar Vitale as well!
They re justifiably proud of their cinematic history, and we loved being there 50 years later!
This tour was a blast, and the area loves the attention – markers like this give you plenty of photo ops:
This piece of art has the church in the background, and offers incredible views of Sicily from above…we loved it!
Those who follow this blog know that I am a HUGE fan of the film….for me it is the greatest movie of all time!
And of course, that led me to share this collection of trivia about the film! Click here to find out just how much of a practical joker Brando was, and of course, get the story about the very real hose head in that bed!
It turns out I have a local Beverly Hills connection to the film as well.
The estate where Jack Woltz awakens to a bloody surprise in his bed is only a mile or so from my house!
It sold a few years ago and I shared this story of the house and a look around inside!
The film celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, and I made an iconic dish from the film to celebrate!
Yes, during a gang war, Clemenza teaches Michael Corleone how to make meatballs for twenty men – click here for the recipe – because it’s real and it’s delicious!
While you are touring the Sicilian film sites for this masterpiece why not visit Europe’s most active volcano as well?
Hiking To The Top Of Mt. Etna!
Yes, we had the hike of a lifetime and saw a smoldering volcano up close!
Click here to see it all:
And since we are on the subject of film locations, the other Italian island we visited on our trip was Sardinia, where we discovered something really cool:
James Bond Stayed Here!
We discovered our Hotel was used by 007 – and you can see how and why by clicking on my story here:
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