They made us an offer we couldn’t refuse…
Last summer when my family came over from Miami to visit we decided to make a day trip just outside of Taormina. Mom, Dad, brothers, Grandma, and boyfriend in tow, we had a driver pick us up in Taormina around 9:00 am. I slept most of the drive, but when I got out of the van it was plain to see that I had just stepped into the heart of what most everyone in this world thinks of when they think of Sicily. In the little villages of Savoca and Forza D’Agro we experienced the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar winning films, The Godfather I, II, & III.
The still famous Bar Vitelli welcomed us with walls chalk full of Godfather paraphernalia and original artifacts from the hill top village of Savoca. We walked along the winding streets to the church where Michele Corleone weds his Appollonia, and we explored the village that is practically baked into the cliff by hot Sicilian sun. It was worth every drop of sweat though! Back in the van and back down the hill, we drove to the very castle where all the stars worked together to create the masterpiece that is the Godfather.
We organized a personal tour led by the Baron Platania of Castello degli Schiavi, a truly magical and scenic place. Not only is it spectacular aesthetically speaking, with its lava rock archways and typical Catania baroque style of the ‘700. The baroque palace also contains vintage never before seen photos from the making of the films and a volcanic stone basement that hosts paintings worthy of a museum! As if we weren’t already overly impressed by our private tour, the Baron did me the honor of letting me play an antique piano that sits in an arched nook in the garden. He later informed us that that particular piano was originally located in the first night club in Taormina.
It’s rare to go on a tour that leaves the entire family feeling interested and excited, but this was one of those one of a kind experience that held something for everyone. Not to mention the Baron makes it into my list of top 10 most interesting people I’ve ever met. At the end of the tour he pulled out a chair and insisted we do our own rendition of the death of Michele Corleone! A perfect way to end a family vacation!