The picturesque hill-village of Savoca is situated on the coast of north-east Sicily between Messina and Taormina.
Savoca is one of eighteen beautiful Sicily villages (i.e. listed as 'most beautiful villages of Italy)'
Sicily Visitor comment: The Vitelli bar and Saint Lucia church were the locations for key scenes in the Godfather films and so Savoca has become a popular village to visit.
The village of Savoca is in an attractive hillside setting. The village is really various clusters of houses that cover the tops of two hillsides and the ridge between the two. The location is stunning and the views fabulous.
Inside the village on the square is one of the main attractions for visitors to Savoca, the Bar Vitelli which featured in Francis Ford Coppola's famous film 'The Godfather'. Although many of the characters in The Godfather were born in Corleone this was too developed to be used for the film trilogy and Coppola chose Savoca and Forzà de Agro for much of the filming.
There is a statue now on the edge of the patio in front of the bar commemorating the filming of the Godfather here.
There are various tours now that come to the village as part of a 'Godfather tour' and the Bar Vitelli is a key stop on the tour. The bar is housed in an attractive building called Palazzo Trimarchi with a balcony and bedecked with plants. Outside the bar the outside tables and chairs are a great place to soak up the atmosphere of Savoca and inside the bar there are lots of photos taken during filming.
Savaco is home to three small churches. The 'Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cielo Assunta' is the most important of the churches and has some Baroque frescoes.
The San Michele church has a series of Baroque frescoes but is in a state of disrepair and has been closed for renovations. Below the church is one of the highlights of Savoca, the catacombs of the Cappuccini Monastery. The monastery features an impressive collection of 32 ancient mummified monks and rich towns people - some intact some not - in their catacombs, dating from the 18th century. The mummies are dressed and some of the clothes are still remarkably well preserved.
The Church of Saint Lucia up on the hillside was used in the filming of the wedding scene in the Godfather. The wedding procession walked along the road up the hill to the church. Above this church are the remains of the Pentefur castle. The Castello di Pentefur dates from the 12th century.
Behind the castle a small hamlet has been turned into a lovely 4 star hotel, the Resort Borgo San Rocco, and has some excellent views.
The village was once surrounded by a defensive wall and the original impressive gateway still exists and forms an arched entrance to the village.
Access to Savoca is challenging if you don't have a car. There are buses from the coastal town of Santa Teresa di Riva below Savoca but these are unreliable. It is possible to take a taxi but these are quite expensive. An alternative is to visit Savoca as part of one of the 'Godfather tours' from Taormina. If you have a car you should note that the road is steep, narrow and winding though if you stay on the SP19 it is not too bad.
Where to visit nearby?
There are three other "most beautiful villages of Sicily" in the locality. Castelmola sits in the hills just above the fabulous town of Taormina. Montalbano-Elicona and Sovara-di-Sicilia both lie to the north west of Savoca.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.