After Taormina (where we made this X-rated discovery), our Sicilian road trip was coming to an end and it was time to head back to Palermo, sigh. But not before making a detour to the pretty mountain village of Savoca at the end of a steep, winding drive on the east side of the island.
We were headed in search of an enchanting old cafe-bar set in a beautiful 18th-century stone-flagged palazzo, covered in creeping plants and a vine-covered terrace looking out onto a deep valley. You see it just as you enter the village…
Looks straight out of a movie set, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Bar Vitelli is special as one of the locations used to shoot scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s movie The Godfather – and even better, it’s still open for business. Aperitivo, anyone? It’s no surprise then that the coffee and cannoli are highly rated here… (although expect to pay top tourist prices for it).
Bar Vitelli features in the film as the setting for the scene in which Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) asks the father of his doomed bride to be, Apollinia, to help arrange the match. In it, Michael Corleone sits on the terrace with his bodyguards after a day of hunting in the mountains.
He begins casually chatting to the bar owner – Appolonia’s father – to find out about a beautiful girl he had seen by the roadside. The man quickly realises Michael is describing his own daughter and storms off back into the bar, unaware of exactly who he had just snubbed.
Mr Corleone’s bodyguards head inside after him, returning with him shortly afterwards when the conversation resumes. He ends up begrudgingly agreeing to setting up a meeting in which he will no doubt be swayed to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to the Godfather– an offer he is forced he can’t refuse!
Inside, the bar looks pretty much as it did when the film was shot in 1972 and all the walls are, of course, lined with pictures from the film and memorabilia.
Turns out makes a nice place for a red-wine pitstop!
If you’re ever in Sicily, find Bar Vitelli at Piazza Fossia 7, Savoca.