In Fiumefreddo, heading towards the sea, there is the splendid Castello Degli Schiavi.  The name is a denomination that has been passed down from the distortion of the original name,”Casteddu di Scavi,” that indicated the existence of an excavation, actually a lava stone quarry.  Castello Degli Schiavi is famous throughout the world because of its use as a movie set.  It achieved worldwide fame thanks to Francis Ford Coppola, who decided it was the perfect setting for the main scenes in The Godfather Part 1 (1972) and The Godfather Part 2 (1974).  The unforgettable car explosion after the wedding, and the discussion with Don Tommaso about the Italian politicians.

Risultati immagini per castello degli schiavi fiumefreddo

The incredible variation of landscape and cities with incredible sea views has long made Sicily a favorite location of many directors.  Forza D’Agro is an enchanting medieval town that faces a privately owned Arab-Norman castle atop a spur of red dolomitic limestone.  On one side of the main plaza there is a street that leads to the baroque Chiesa Madre.  With its beautiful 16th century facade it became the set for an Easter celebration scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part 2, and as the wedding location in The Godfather Part 3.

When Michael Corleone takes refuge in Sicily, his father’s homeland, The Godfather saga takes on a much more authentic aspect.  After a day of hunting in the mountains with his bodyguards, Michael Corleone is blinded by the beauty of a Sicilian girl who crosses his path on her way back from picking berries.  When he arrives at the local bar he meets Mr. Vitelli, father of Apollonia, the girl who caused love at first site for Al Pacino.  Vitelli is also the name of the bar in Savoca and has remained unchanged for the past 50 years.  The locale is found in a building dating from the XIII century called Palazzo Trimarchi, located in the piazza Fossia.  The interior as well as the exterior allow you to relive the exact atmosphere of that summer day in the 70’s made famous by the worldwide success of the film.  For those who want an even deeper “behind the scenes” experience of the set and locals who fascinated the actors and directors, you can chat with Mrs. Maria, owner of the locale.  Maybe even treat yourself to a delicious lemon granita with some”zuccarati”, a typical sweet of the area.

Savoca is one of the many idyllic villages at the base of Mount Peloritani between Taormina and Messina.  At one time, it was one of the most important settlements on the entire west coast of Sicily, but over the centuries it has picturesquely crumbled, making it the perfect substitute in The Godfather for Corleone, a much less photogenic location.  Michael Corleone married Appolonia in the church of Santa Lucia and the wedding was celebrated at Bar Vitelli, which still uses a granita machine from the 30’s and is a place of pilgrimage for film fanatics.

You’ll find Palermo on the northwest coast of Sicily and as a World Heritage site it a series of religious and civil structures, some dating all the way back to the Kingdom of the Normans. This time was characterized by an exceptional convergence between cultures that coexisted on Sicily, that is, western, Islamic, and Byzantine, which gave rise to new concepts of space and decoration in art and architecture.  The cultural exchange generated a combination of unique elements derived from the different techniques used.  A new and extraordinary synthesis of styles fused by Byzantine, Muslim, and Roman elements, all contributing to the development of the Mediterranean culture.  The site is listed last in chronological order on the World Heritage list for 2015, and is an unbeatable example of the political and cultural conditions that were taking place in Sicily during that time period, all characterized by a profitable cohabitation of diverse populations with different religions, that favored the exchange of human values ​​and the flowering of lively cultural fusion.

Mount Etna is found on the western coast of Sicily and is the highest active volcano in all of Europe, and one of the most active on the planet.  Thanks to her 2700 years of activity, the highest tip of the volcano now exceeds 3300 meters and is about 45 km at its base.  Although as a collective image the volcano symbolizes destruction, Etna has given life to an agribusiness production which, thanks to the surrounding microclimate, is amongst the best worldwide.  Wine, in particular, is the diamond of the sector, so much so that a path has been established to include all the excellent cellars and vineyards on the slopes of the volcano.  This “path” is called Strade del Vino dell’Etna.  Moreover, a walk on the now inactive craters or one of the many nature trails, or even skiing with a sea view, are all experiences that can make your stay in Sicily unique.  Etna became a World Heritage site in 2013.

Risultati immagini per etna

Syracuse, in the southwest of Sicily, was a city of great importance in the history of Mediterranean civilization.  Founded in the VIII century BC as a Greek colony on the small island of Ortigia, Cicero defined it as, “The greatest and most beautiful Greek city.”  The world heritage site includes the rock necropolis of Pantalica, which contains over 5000 tombs carved into the rock dating back between the XIII and VIII century BC.  It was assumed that Pantalica was an indigenous Sicilian society that preceded the Greek colonization.  Other than the ancient archaeological remains, it is worth noting the uncontaminated nature of the place.  The entire area is part of the Valle dell’Anapo natural reserve and is a beautiful location for those who love to hike, as it offers many different paths for all levels of outdoorsman and woman.  It became a World Heritage Site in 2005.

 

During the Arab domination Noto functioned as the “capovallo”, or administrative center of reference, hence the name Val di Noto.  The 8 cities that make up the site are found in the southeast part of Sicily: Caltagirone, Militello, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa, and Scicli.  Every one of these cities was rebuilt after 1693 earthquake, which razed entire city centers and devastated the urban memory of the area.  These cities, completely reconstructed to be masterpieces of art and late 17th century baroque architecture, are the facade of this side of Sicily.  The elegant buildings and churches with invaluable interiors and breathtaking exteriors make this location an exceptional example of the architectonic influence on the island and the greatest expression of the Late-Baroque style.  To lose yourself in the little streets and tunnels of the city is the best way to evoke the stories of its glorious past.  The Val di Noto became a World Heritage Site in 2005.

The archipelago of the Aeolians is composed of 7 islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea.  They are found on the Northeast side of Sicily and represent an extraordinary testimony to the birth and evolution of the volcanic islands.  Notwithstanding the ongoing volcanic activity, or maybe thanks to it, the Aeolian Islands are a fascinating and rich natural environment full of flora, fauna, stunning beaches, coves, caves, inlets, cliffs, and a varied and abundant ocean floor.  The islands are a favorite destination for Sicilians during the summer months, where they can take in the breathtaking views, crystal clear water, and experience first hand the volcanic eruptions.  Stromboli is the only island on the archipelago with a constantly active volcano, and she offers an amazing show that is extremely intriguing at night when the rivers of fire ooze down to the sea.  The Aeolians get their name from the mythological Greek god of wind, Aeolus, and were added to the UNESCO list in 2000.

 

 

 

The Villa Romana del Casale at Piazza Armerina is a sublime example of a luxury villa in the late Imperial Roman style, and symbolizes the diligent use of the territory by the Romans as a base for the rural economy of the Western Empire.  Villa del Casale is one of the most lush of its genre, and is famous for the richness of its mosaics, which are known as the most beautiful of the Roman mosaics.  This gem attests to the lifestyle of the ruling Roman class and shows the mutual influence between cultures, and the exchanges taking place in the Mediterranean between the Roman world and North Africa.  This is so much more than merely an admirable representation of Roman architecture.  The Villa, thanks to the perfect preservation of its rooms and of the mosaic representations and inimitable frescoes, tells the story of Roman life and civilization.  Like the Valley of Temples, Villa del Casale was added to the list in 1997.