While you may recognise Savoca from the iconic movie “The Godfather”, did you know that Savoca is also a part of The Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy?
Yes that’s right, and this village truly is one of most beautiful villages of Italy! Perched on a hilltop, this Sicilian hamlet offers spectacular panoramic views of the Ionian sea, and even of Calabria on a clear day. While Corleone in Sicily is the birthplace of important characters like Don Vito Corleone in the book The Godfather, director Francis Ford Coppola chose Savoca instead to film some of the scenes of the movie, because the filmmaker felt that the village had been subjected to many changes due to modernity and no longer evoked memories of that period. As you arrive in Savoca, you quickly realise that the village can still teleport you back in time with its rustic charm.
While Savoca’s popular neighbour Taormina is one of the most touristy and busiest resort towns of Italy, Savoca manages to retain it’s calm and charm. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Taormina, head over to Savoca for a day trip. With panoramic ocean views and permanent residents lesser than a 100, this village has an undeniable rejuvenating feel to it.
Must visit attractions in Savoca:
For all Godfather fans, a place that cannot be missed, is the Bar Vitelli. As you reach Bar Vitelli, it’s unmissable to notice the similarities from its appearance in the movie. The owners of the Bar have managed to keep the decor of the bar as-is, adding to its appeal. Enjoy an espresso in its terrace and take a look inside the bar, where it’s walls are adorned by the pictures and artefacts from the movie set. If you are looking for peace and quiet and want to completely escape the crowds of Taormina, you can also stay at the boutique BnB of Bar Vitelli. The owners are very warm and hospitable, thus guaranteeing to make your stay a pleasant one.
Piazza – the piazza, opposite to Bar Vitelli, is the main square of the village. Here, you can find the statue of the director Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather, in his honour. And this is topped by the spectacular panoramic views of the ocean, Calabria in the far off distance and perched on the hilltop – the castle of Savoca.
Typical to a Sicilian village life, time stands still in Savoca. Savoca is a village to be enjoyed at a slow pace, as you devour your favourite gelato or granita con brioche over hot Sicilian summer afternoons and stroll through the cobbled alleys of Savoca. As you stroll through the village, you’ll walk through the historic gate of Savoca – Porta della Città di Savoca. Of the two historic gates that served as an entrance to the village, this is the only one remaining, that stands strong and intact, against the test of time.
As you walk through the gate and stroll along, you’ll walk past the churches of Chiesa Madre (the mother church), Chiesa di San Nicolò and Chiesa di San Michele. The interiors of these churches are simple and humble, and can be skipped. However, take a moment outside Chiesa San Nicolo and Chiesa San Michele to soak in the beautiful panoramic views that these churches have to offer.
As you wrap up your day trip, the sun sets in the Ionian sea and the evening glow sets upon this Sicilian hamlet, take some time to enjoy the sunset from wine bar – Dioniso di Morabito Andrea, and sip on the sweet almond wine native to Sicily. The owner and host of the bar – Andrea is very lively and quickly makes you feel at home with his kind and hospitable nature. You can also do a wine tasting with snacks here, while you enjoy the sunset.
Where to stay in and around Savoca:
If you like to be in the midst of activity and are willing to loosen your purse strings, we’d recommend you to base yourself in Taormina and take a day trip to Savoca. This way, you can out and about explore the village and the nearby beaches during the day, and comfortably get back to Taormina in the evening to enjoy its buzzing nightlife, shopping streets and bars and restaurants. If you base yourself at Taormina, Isola Bella and it’s beach – Spiaggia di Isola Bella are a must visit.
However if you’re mindful of the expenses or want to enjoy the tranquil village charm, then Savoca makes for a perfect base. Just like Taormina, Savoca is also situated on a hilltop. And so, just you get down the hill from Savoca, you find yourself at the foot of the nearby beaches of Costa Meraviglia and Mamma Mia Beach.
How to get to Savoca:
The best way to reach Savoca is by flying into the Catania airport and then driving to Savoca with a rented car. However, if you’re reliant on public transport, then we highly recommend you to base yourself in Taormina, so that you can easily take a bus from the Catania airport to Taormina and then take a bus for the day to Savoca and back.