The Sicilian town of Savoca is considered by many the country with seven faces because of its particular urban structure, this name was attributed by the writer Sciascia in an article published in 1962 by “Il Giorno”: to his mind, in fact, every time you turn your gaze the landscape of Savoca always offers a different view.
Sicily Savoca, together with the near village Forza d’Agrò, is known for having been the location of one of the most famous movies in the history of cinema, The Godfather, and even today you can breathe evocative atmospheres of the past. Here time seems to have stopped, one almost has the feeling of having been catapulted into the past, about 50 years ago, when cars were still not circulating, and life was slow and harmonious.
Among the most beautiful villages of Italy, on the Ionian coast of Sicily definitely stands out Savoca, a few kilometres far from Messina, surrounded by vineyards, citrus and olive groves. Let’s learn more about this Sicilian town, rich in beautiful ancient churches and interesting cultural attractions.
Sicilian town of Savoca: origins and history
The Sicilian town of Savoca was founded in 1134 by Count Ruggero and was initially formed by a wall with two doors that protected a castle. Before the year 1000, however, it seems that the territory was inhabited by a community of uncertain origin, “i Pentefur“, that gave the name to the district where today stands the fortress.
The village was influenced by Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Arabs. It was attacked several times by Saracen pirates and lived vicissitudes related to power struggles but then soon returned to represent a point of reference for the nobility and bourgeoisie of Messina: proof of it are the numerous sumptuous palaces, still well preserved.
The name of Savoca probably comes from the Elder (“savucu” in Sicilian dialect), a plant that grows throughout this territory and whose branch is present in the coat of arms of the town.
Sicily Savoca and the Godfather locations: what to visit
Those who visit this ancient hilly town, will find themselves immersed in beautiful archaic atmosphere that is perceived at every angle, glimpse and alley. In the main square of the Sicilian town there is the palace Trimarchi, dating back to 1773, famous all over the world because some scenes of the film The Godfather were filmed inside. On the ground floor is still active the most famous of the Godfather Sicily locations: the Bar Vitelli, mentioned in the novel by Mario Puzo, and reproduced by the director Francis Ford Coppola, in which are displayed the tools of ancient crafts and many photographs of the scenes of the film and actors.
Among the other Godfather Sicily locations, you can visit the beautiful church of San Nicolò, where the wedding between Michael Corleone and Apollonia was filmed.
Another interesting religious place to visit in this Sicilian town is the Church of San Michele, from the year 1250, on whose front there are two portals in Gothic-Sicilian style with sandstone arches, and which also houses several works of art and frescoes. Throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, the unbelievers who wanted to convert to Catholicism, according to a documented tradition, had to climb on their knees, in an act of penitence, its seven steps, in order to receive the sacrament of baptism.
In Sicily Savoca you can also visit the church of Santa Maria, which is the main church of the town. It was built in 1130 and is also included in the Italian National Monument. This Sicilian town also preserve the very interesting Capuchin monastery, founded in 1574, which was one of the most important places where the aristocratic people could receive their education and learn the liberal arts. The convent includes the crypt which contains the mummified bodies of 367 people who belonged to Sicilian nobles.
Moreover, in this Sicilian town you can find the ruins of an ancient synagogue of the Jewish residents in Savoca and the surrounding villages.
Forza D’Agrò: a wonderful village to visit near Sicily Savoca
Forza D’Agrò is a small Sicilian town not far from Taormina, an ancient land between Messina and Catania which is bathed by the Ionian Sea which is reflected from the height of its 420 meters. Its history is richly coloured because of the several invasions that occurred over the centuries.
The town, due to the presence of a castle, took the name of “Fortilicium d’Agrò“, that is Fortezza d’Agrò, which over time went on to be abbreviated in Forza d’Agrò. In fact, in a highly strategic position was built by Count Ruggero at the end of 500 a Castle, of which you can still admire impressive ruins.
The Sicilian town certainly boasts a total dedication to traditions, especially the religious ones. Among the various religious festivals and parades that take place in Forza d’Agrò, a great importance has the secular feast of the Trinity, which takes place during the first Sundays of June. This derives from a picture kept in the homonymous church, which shows the visit of the angels to Abraham. The festival consists of a fraternal meeting between the population of Forza d’Agrò and the near village of Gallodoro, held every year, alternately, in the two locations.
This small Sicilian town is also very famous for having been one of the Godfather Sicily locations. In fact, in 1971, the ancient center of the village (along with that of nearby Savoca) was also chosen by Francis Ford Coppola as the set of several scenes in all the films of the Corleone family saga, starting from The Godfather.
Why don’t you join us in a fun and interesting day tour to Sicily Savoca and Forza d’Agrò? If you come to Sicily, you cannot miss the opportunity of discovering the suggestive Godfather Sicily locations and of seeing these famous places with your own eyes!