Now if you are still around, I’m still excited talking about Savoca and Forza D’Agro.
These are the two locations were Coppola shot the Sicilian scenes of ‘The Godfather’ trilogy. No, they were not shot in Corleone, as depicted. Corleone was too developed to pass off as an old town. But Savoca and Forza D’Agro could have still belonged to any century, just that the cars of tourists, including our cute li’l rented Fiat Panda, will look like time travelling devices.
Instead of taking the easy high-way, we took the local, longer roads that cut through Messina and Taormina before we finally reached Forza D’Agro. A major part of the road ran parallel to the Mediterranean and need I say more about how effing romantic or mesmerizing it was? The constant thought that loomed over my head at the time was, I’m going to miss looking at these roads and this coast till the day I die. How ironic that we constantly keep worrying about missing something even when we are right there with it.
Forza is set on a hill, and the higher we went, the panorama kept getting more beautiful. Except for random tourist, through the day we hardly encountered a total of 15 locals that included the Gelato owners and cafe waiters. Forza houses the church from where young Vito escapes on a donkey, and later on returns to take revenge on Don Ciccio, who finished off his family.
The town was badly damaged during the world wars, but never repaired. The local population runs in only a few hundreds. But I kept wondering if this is a medieval town, how did people manage to build a life up here where even with a fully functioning car in the 21st century it takes extra effort to reach here.
Reaching Savoca from Forza and then driving back to Catania was a challenge as our GPS took us to the same dead end from four different directions. But we did reach Savoca, and had the entire town to ourselves, thanks to the timing when the entire town seemed to be busy in their afternoon siesta.
Savoca is where Michael meets Apollonia in some Lemon orchards, sits down in Bar Vitelli, and get married to her in the local church. Needless to say we hunted down all those locations at our own leisurely pace. There was no one to overtake us, no one to follow.
These cities might have very well been abandoned film sets, but to me they represent the memories of spending that afternoon completely cut off from the rest of the world.