Among the various day tours you can take from Taormina, the Godfather tour, which takes you to the filming locations, is probably the most popular. In this post, you will find what filming locations of the Godfather you can visit with a day from Taormina and an overview of the excursion that can be customised according to any kind of request.
The Godfather tour is one of the most popular experiences we offer our guests and the top Godfather locations can be easily visited, with a day tour, with Taormina as your base.
The Godfather trilogy is a cultural phenomenon that helped put Sicily on the map when the first movie was released in 1972. The blockbuster has drawn many visitors to the island with people across the world wanting to experience the enchanting, traditional Sicily that was portrayed on screen.
The most famous location associated with the film is Corleone. This is a real town in Sicily, situated on the west coast of Sicily near Palermo.
It is the town that the Godfather takes as his family name when he flees to the United States.
Despite the fact that Corleone is a real town, most of the film locations are in fact situated on the East side of Sicily, close to Taormina, and can be easily visited with an exciting day tour.
Let’s find out which of the locations around Sicily were scouted by the director Francis Ford Coppola for his iconic representation of Sicily on-screen.
Contact us if you are looking for a local travel advisor that can put together this unforgettable tour for you.
Savoca is a famous Godfather location and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Its picturesque hilltop position makes it a location that is loved by tourists whether they are Godfather fans or not.
It’s here that you will find the famous Bar Vitelli, which was featured in the film. It’s possible to sit in the very spot that Al Pacino was in the movie and there are artifacts and photos that you may well recognize if you are a fan. In the film, this is where Michael meets Apollonia’s father (who owns the bar) to ask his permission to marry her.
Chiesa di San Nicolò is another must-visit attraction in the village of Savoca. It is here where the famous wedding scene between Michael and Apollonia takes place.
The church was originally built in the 1200’s, but it received renovations in the 1500’s which changed its appearance. Nevertheless, Francis Ford Coppola and crew decided this was a perfect location for the movie’s most romantic scene.
As you walk towards the church, make sure to appreciate the view towards Savoca and beyond to the Ionian coast.
Forza d’Agrò is another medieval hilltop town in close proximity to Taormina. It features narrow streets where cars are unable to access, and also houses a ruined Norman castle.
It is in this charming town that famous Godfather scenes were shot, including the funeral procession of young Vito Corleone’s father following his assassination.
Motta Camastra is a charming hilltop town approximately 30 minutes drive from Taormina. This is a place to go if you want to experience Authentic Sicily as this medieval village seems to have stood still in time.
Perched 423m high, from the village viewpoint you can enjoy views over the geological wonders that are the Alcantara Gorges.
As you roam the narrow streets, past medieval churches and crumbling buildings, you will understand why this place was chosen as a filming location by Francis Ford Coppola to represent the authentic Sicily on screen.
What makes this location even more worth a visit are the ‘mothers’ of the village, who have created the authentic Sicilian cooking school and kitchen that is ‘Mamme del Borgo’.
This is a community-based food project offering visitors to the village the chance to taste and cook traditional Sicilian recipes, and at the same time, gives new life and income to the village as an authentic tourism destination.
During the Mamme del Borgo experience, you will receive a warm welcome by the women who are passionate about their historic village.
Work up an appetite as you explore the charming history of the town and peek your head into the traditional Sicilian barbers where you can imagine Corleone in the chair. (This was not a Godfather location but it seems like it could be!).
You will be spoiled with authentic tastes such as homemade cheeses, stuffed aubergines and freshly made pasta all followed by unmissable sweet treats such as deep fried ricotta with honey. You will surely be the envy of all your foodie friends.
Other famous scenes from The Godfather were shot in the area of Fiumefreddo di Sicilia.
This is where you will find Castello degli Schiavi, a grand villa that was Don Tomassino’s home in the movie, and also the spot where Apollonia is killed.
Though it’s now privately owned, Castello degli Schiavi is one of the top locations included in our exclusive Godfather tour and you can have the chance to roam around the lush gardens and also appreciate the eclectic, traditional interior. Inside contains much memorabilia which real fans will surely recognise!
The owners are passionate about the history of the place and will entertain you during the tour with stories and fun facts about the Castello’s appearance on screen.
For real Godfather fans, this place makes a stunning event and wedding venue, and can be privately hired for a grand Sicilian-themed dinner.
Other Godfather locations can be spotted around Taormina itself. The main spot is the train station. In The Godfather Part III, when Kay Corleone meets husband Michael in Palermo, she appears to arrive at Bagheria station, but in fact, the station seen on screen is Taormina-Giardini station.
While in Taormina, be sure to check out the station which is atmospheric and very photogenic.
The station is housed inside an impressive art nouveau building and was built in 1866.
Bonus The Godfather location: Palermo and Corleone
If your travel plan includes more places in Sicily and want to find out other cities and venues filmed in the Godfather you will be happy to know that you can, actually, do a whole Godfather tour in Sicily. Just drive west and reach Palermo and its surrounding,
Pay a visit to the town of Corleone (a real town near Palermo). It is the town the family takes their name from upon arrival to the United States. When Coppola visited the town in the 1970’s during preparations for filming, he and his crew decided the town looked too modern for the 1940’s Sicily he wanted to present.
It was at this point that they started to scout Sicily for the locations that suited their vision, and they chose the ones listed here.
That being said, Corleone is still an interesting and worthy place to visit, as it is one of the places in Sicily with a rich mafia history. In the 1940s alone, there were over 150 mafia-linked deaths.
Some of the most important scenes of The Godfather III are filmed in Sicily’s capital, Palermo.
Fans will recall the dramatic culmination of events in the third film, with a certain death happening on the steps of Palermo’s beautiful Teatro Massimo.
For those interested in the Mafia history in Sicily beyond the Godfather films, it’s worth a visit to the anti mafia museum, which is committed to debunking myths and remembering the people who played an important role in combating the influence of the mafia in the area and eventually across the island.
The Godfather tour from Taormina overview
At Sicily Lifestyle our team of experts is experienced in putting together the ideal itinerary to meet your needs.
The Godfather tour is one of the most requested experiences we offer our guests. The tour can be done as either a half day (around 4 hours) or a full day (around 7 hours).
It is a private tour so you will have the sole attention of your guide, who will stay with you throughout the day sharing their passion and insights of the Godfather trilogy.
The experience is highly customizable for clients; choose from the locations you are most intrigued by, or add another experience such as the Mamme del borgo cooking experience in Motta Camastra, an exclusive seaside aperitivo on arrival back to Taormina or hopping from one location to another one driving a vintage car (have a look on our Instagram and see what we have organised for our client Wael Abualteen during his stay in Taormina).
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Facts you don’t know about the Godfather
During your tour, you will have the chance to talk with those who share your passion for the Godfather and the important role it played in putting Sicily on the map.
As well as your passionate tour guide, you will meet owners of some of these venues who will be able to share some fun facts and trivia.
- Director Francis Ford Coppola used sit-down ‘family meals’ as a rehearsal method. During the meal, the actors were not allowed to break character.
- During his walks to the set, Coppola would often see stray cats and gave these to Brando to improvise with.
- Clemenza’s famous line “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” was half improvised. The script had not included the Cannoli reference at all!
- Al Pacino’s maternal grandparents actually emigrated to the United States from Corleone, Sicily, just as Vito Corleone had in the storyline
The Godfather tour is an exciting way to experience Sicily and travelling around to these locations will give you a taste of the varied landscape that Sicily boasts.
You will meet people with fascinating stories to tell, and meet local people from the charming old villages that were shown on screen.
Contact us and allow our team to organize your perfect Godfather itinerary – it will surely be an unforgettable part of your time in Sicily and make sure to read also our selection of the best tours for luxury travels in Sicily.