Before I speak about Savoca I will tell you a story you probably already know.
Sicily, 1950. A young man with dark skin and American accent decides to hide in this island, first from legal justice, and second from a vendetta from the mafia. Although he does not know Sicily, from here come his ancestors.
He has just killed a mafia drug dealer in New York and a police inspector with several gunshots at point-blank range in a crowded restaurant.
This young man seeks honor, respect and avenge the attack that his father has just suffered that almost ends his life. His father was called Vito Corleone, and he undoubtedly is Michael Corleone.
The previous passage is one of the determining events of the saga of “The Godfather”. Michael flees to the island of Sicily. Old friends of his family, which was completely murdered by the mafia in Corleone, still live there. The only one who managed to survive as a child was his father Vito, who fled to New York and built his own empire from scratch.
In Sicily Michael is reunited with his roots. Traditions, a culture that is familiar to him and now he truly discovers. Each and every one of the Sicilian passages in the saga are wonderful, reflecting perfectly the Sicilian reality of the time. And so, when Michael falls in love with a Greek girl and goes to her father to ask for her hand in the “Vitelli Bar” where he works, we are transported to that time of entrenchment, tradition and family.
Most people believe that these scenes were filmed in the town of Corleone, also famous for the innumerable mafia ties it has had until today. However, most were shot in the small medieval village called Savoca, in the province of Messina.
How to get to Savoca
Savoca is only 30 minutes from Taormina by car, so it is a good option to visit this villeage on a day trip if you are going to Taormina coming from the north. To get to the village located on the hill you have to cross a road with curves. Little by little, you go up with the mountain in front and the sea in the rearview mirror.
If you are traveling from Messina you must take the A18 and exit at “Roccalumera”, continue along Furci Siculo and S. Teresa di Riva. From Catania, also take the A18 exit Taormina nord, continue towards Letojanni, S. Alessio Siculo until you reach S. Teresa di Riva.
things you must see in Savoca
Savoca does not need tourist guides or maps, just relax, enjoy it, and breathe that historic air that it has.
The first stop on the main square of Savoca is the famous Vitelli Bar where Michael asks for the hand of Apollonia, the young man he has fallen in love with. The bar is a museum itself. It retains the original door, the same curtains that had been there for more than 40 years ago. You must see it.
Inside, you can find numerous photographs and objects of the saga, such as the famous Luppara shotguns.
The Vitelli Bar is not only the typical tourist site crowded with people attracted by the mysteries of the saga. We were surprised that they had high quality products at affordable prices. Basically it is the typical village bar, only with many more tourists. We highly recommend the “Granite di pistacchio” on its outside terrace.
Historic Churches in Savoca
After the Vitelli Bar, up the steep street, you find the next obligatory stop for all lovers of the saga; The “Chiesa di San Nicolò”, where Michael and Apollonia marry, dance and celebrate their wedding.
The rest of the town can be seen in an hour. Especially, I recommend you to go up to the “Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cielo Assunta”.
Once there, you can enjoy incredible views with green mountains on one side, and the sea on the other.
Other churches that you can visit are the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista and the Chiesa di San Michele. All the churches are open to the public although they ask for a donation of € 2 to enter.
MUSEUMS in SAVOCA
There are two museums to see in Savoca. The first, which we have already mentioned, is the Vitelli Bar museum where there are two rooms with elements that were used to record the saga of the Godfather. This museum is free.
The other museum is the Museo Storico Etnoantropologico di Savoca. The entrance has a price of € 6.
OTHER placeS you must see IN SAVOCA
The best thing is that you travel Savoca taking your time. This way you will discover places that do not appear in the travel guides, like part of the medieval wall where there is still an archway or the old entrance to the city.
Another point that we liked a lot in Savoca was the Piazza Fossia where the Vitelli Bar is located and where we have great views of the valley.
If you want to do some other activity in Savoca I recommend you to walk to the Castello Pentefur where you will also get wonderful views.
We recommend this stop especially for those fans of the saga and the cinema history. If you have not seen the movies you can not visit Savoca without doing it. And for those who have seen it is a fantastic opportunity to see them again. It will help you to understand a reality that has been lived and continues to be lived today.