Sunday, October 16, 2011

Savoca: small Sicilian town, Godfather fame

I still need to catch up on our many adventures from the summer, and have been unable to do so because of the business of new work. But, a bit of calm is in the air the next few weeks and so I will try to do a short series of posts to record our end of the summer travels before they are completely out of my mind.

One of our spontaneous adventures was the detour we made on the way to the beach to the inland town of Savoca. What attracted us was the town's membership in the I Borghi Piu' Belli d' Italia (the most beautiful towns of Italy) guide. On first impression though, some modern constructions have altered the town's historic character a bit so that it does not seem to compare to the other 'borghi piu' belli d'Italia' we have visited in Sicily. However, what makes the place unique is the fact that some scenes of the movie, The Godfather, were filmed here at a little locale called Bar Vitelli. The bar still exists and is fully functioning. Inside it feels as if nothing has changed (and probably nothing has) since the 1970s when Hollywood took over the sleepy town for a short while. The bar's original owner had the foresight to preserve the place as a kind of living film set. From the cash register, to the selection of old magazines and aperitif bottles lining the mirrored walls, the bar is a testimony to Sicily as it was a few decades back (at least that's what my Sicilian husband said as memories flooded back to him from his own childhood during the 1970s stepping foot into this bar). You can order a coffee made with an ancient espresso maker and sit in the shaded outdoor terrace and try to recapture the sense of old time Sicily. Inside, another room is dedicated to the memory of The Godfather, through newspaper clippings and photographs from the filming as it took place in Savoca. We lingered long enough to marvel at this little piece of time standing standing still and cool down from the summer heat before a busload of thirsty tourists took over the space.

Outside, we wandered through the little town. Despite those modern constructions, there was plenty of small town charm to make the stroll worthwhile. We visited a small catacomb, gazed at the view, picked blackberries, admired some architecture, and waved at the ladies staying cool in the shade of their front porches.