Monday, October 22, 2007

The Weekend Getaway We Couldn't Refuse!

Before leaving Sicily, one of the things we wanted to do was visit all the Godfather scene locations on the island. Last weekend we began our Godfather/Mafia adventure by dusting off the Godfather trilogy box set and watching (and sleeping through) all 545 minutes of classic cinema while feasting on antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, and dolci with our friend Meagan and her dogs, Jack and Ana. Once our memories were refreshed and our "wise guy" nicknames were assigned, we ventured out on our ambitious Mafioso experience...

First stop was Savoca, a rustic village on the east side of Sicily not too far from Taormina. Most of the Godfather Sicily scenes were shot in this town as a stand in for the town of Corleone, which was too developed for the time period that the Godfather was shot. We walked around the tiny town trying to find the acclaimed Bar Vitelli where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) asked Apollonia's father to take his daughter out on an escorted date in Godfather I. We passed by the famous bar several times without notice because of its overgrown green disguise. Once we finally discovered the bar under all those leaves, we sat in the spot where the scene was shot next to the same beaded doorway curtains. From Chiesa di Santa Lucia, where Michael and Apollonia were later married, we strolled down the same road as the wedding party to the end of the road where they celebrated the marriage at Bar Vitelli. The road is now paved as a gift to the people of Savoca from the production.
Our next stop was Palermo, which is on the other side of the island. We followed Meagan and her two dogs. Thanks to no traffic and Meagan's superb GPS system, we reached Palermo in just a little over two hours. We did a little sight seeing before going to the Teatro Massimo where the Godfather's daughter was shot dead on the steps in Godfather III. Pictured below is Mary Corleone (Sophia Coppola) after being shot on the opera house steps. And yup you guessed it, in the picture beside her is my mom reenacting the climactic ending of the Godfather III. She is so embarrassing!
After our day in Palermo, we drove an hour south to the notorious town of Corleone. Corleone is not only famous because of the fictional mafia character Godfather Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), but also as the birthplace of several "real" mafia characters- Michele Navarra, Luciano Leggio, Leoluca Bagarella, and Salvatore Riina. It is said that the Mafia still dominates the local community. Just recently was the arrest in 2006 of Bernardo Provenzano "Boss of Bosses", who had been in hiding for more than 40 years.
After a quick drive through the town, we settled in our simple rooms at the Casa Mia Agriturismo and Principe di Corleone Winery. Bringing four dogs turned out to be more of a hassle than you can imagine. There was a pack of guard dogs at the b&b/winery that weren't too happy having canine guests! We had envisioned taking the dogs for walks through the vineyards, but unfortunately Bruco, Paolo, Jack and Ana remained locked up in the rooms the entire time. Luckily we were only spending the night! That evening we had a nice Sicilian dinner and a mini wine tasting. The next morning the owner took us to the winery out back and showed us how the wine was made.
After our morning cappuccinos, we headed into the town of Corleone for lunch and photographs. We found a nice little Trattoria that had amazing pistachio pasta. After lunch, it got incredibly windy and the temperature seemed to be dropping rapidly so we didn't stay too long to take pictures- just long enough to get this goofy shot of all the dog's butts!
We got on the road back to Catania just in time for a huge hail storm. It was a stressful ride home but we survived and lived to blog about our Godfather/Mafia adventure!


Anonymous said...

"Baciamo le mani Donna Coleen Balent" , troppa pubblicita' fu fatta
.......attenta devi stare .
Mi raccomando ... ah.... A Corleone andasti e no venisti a salutarmi...

Translate for people non mafiosi.
I kiss your hand Donna Coleen Balent" , a lot of publicity you careful you must stay, I am telling you...ah.... to Corleone you went and you did not come to kiss my hand ah..
La Cupola

If you come to my office I'll translate for you in Sicilian accent too.
I'm telling you... be carefull....... Idem for Donna Megan, who works with
me. Shut your mouth because you nothing saw...and nothing you heared.

Don Turi.

sognatrice said...

What a great tour! My friends brought me a bottle of Principe di Corleone a few months ago--quite tasty indeed. And you remind me that I have to take a photo of the label (we always keep the bottles for my suocero's wine, of course)....

Don Turi's comment is too funny, so I think I'll have to sign mine this way:

La zita di figghu di Mastru Turi ;)

sognatrice said...

Ah, and I forgot to the doggie butts :)

Frankie said...

That's awesome! You make Sicily sound so enchanting...

ChErYlEEsKi said...

I did a tour of Newburyport. Starting at Leo's Subs for a nice veggie hoagie; then off to Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee. After that we watched the Red Sox and then went to the Park Lunch for a cold draft beer. I think my tour is better, NOT! YEAT. I miss Sicily and themed trips!

Currier Quinn Balent said...

Don Turi,
How bout I come by your office say Thursday morning before Tiny Tots Fitness class and I’ll let you kiss my hand and buy my a cappuccino. Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse!

Dear girlfriend of the son of Don Turi,
I see you’ve been practicing your Sicilian! I had to have one of my soldiers translate!

It was a pretty fun adventure, but we both know Sicily is not enchanting!

Actually, your tour sounds WAY better to the Americans living in Europe. A draft beer and baseball—so deliciously exotic!