The Actual Setting of Scenes from The Godfather in Sicily

If you have seen The Godfather, you know this place pictured. No, it’s not Corleone (That’s on the other side of Sicily, in Palermo province.). It is Savoca, Province of Messina, a beautiful small town that acted as the “set” (i.e., playing the part of Corleone) for the introduction and wedding of Michael Corleone and his beautiful Sicilian bride, Apallonia. The bar where Michael meets his future father-in-law, Bar Vitelli, is also in Savoca. 
Savoca is breathtaking. It’s a city of art. Sculptures and paintings and ceramic illustrations are everywhere you look. We had out-of-this-world sesame cookies at the local panificio (bakery). And, we relished the curves up the mountain to get there… All to enjoy the splendid views. Today, the weather was magnificent. The sky so clear, you could easily see Calabria, across the Straight of Messina.
The villa where the newlywed Corleone couple lived, and where Apollonia tragically died, is in the nearby town of Fiumefreddo. The baronial country house is closed to the public, but if you know a guy, you can, with an appointment and for a donation, visit the grounds and go inside. 
Please remember to be respectful of these places. The people who live and work there are proud to have their towns in a famous movie, but not so proud of organized crime (a theme behind all of this attention) and how it ravages their livelihoods. 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Gosh, just looking at this sumptuous villa brought clear memories back to me of that scene in The Godfather when they’re driving into this villa. Of course, there was never an overhead shot like this (at least that I remember). I went to see it on opening night – can you believe that? I was living outside Washington, DC then. So long ago – I think I was 24 or 25 then. I can understand the sensitive feelings of the residents there about the connection of the movie and the Mafia to this area. That’s very hard. Beautiful scene – thank you

    1. You understand, Dana!

  2. Linda Fiorenza says:

    When we took my mom to see The Godfather movie, she commented that the wedding scene reminded her of her wedding day on July 7, 1929. She & my dad were married in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Astoria, Queens..They then walked from the church to my grandparents home a few blocks away, where the reception took place in the backyard. She said that she gave almond “confetti” to the guests as part of the tradition. They were married for 43 years.

    1. Thank you for sharing your family story! What a beautiful memory, and yes, sounds very traditional and Sicilian! Coppola was true to his roots in this sense. Your parents are an inspiration!

  3. Linda, that is a beautiful story. Almond “confetti”. I did not know. Oh, the sweetness of Sicily and its traditions. Yes, inspirational!

    1. Confetti in this case is the gift at the end of the party. Almonds in this case, which traditionally are covered in a sugar glaze to look like eggs, are meant to bring the couple best wishes for starting a family. The image that Linda describes is absolutely beautiful, and clearly, the confetti proved to work!

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