Our final port-of-call was Messina, Sicily. Paul, a “Godfather” movie junkie, decided he’d do Holland America’s Godfather tour and persuaded me to join him.
Meanwhile, after reading about several different touring options, the kids took a cab to the seaside town of Taormina. Though the cab ride wasn’t cheap, I was glad the kids didn’t drive the roads of Sicily. The cab driver stayed and waited for them. As it turned out, renting a car was more expensive. Taormina is known as a fashionable destination with great restaurants and magnificent views of two bays and Mt. Etna. Luckily that day they were able to see it. We, on the other hand, could only see a faint outline on our tour. The kids had the best cannoli they had ever eaten and purchased red volcano liquor.
The “Godfather” tour was great. So popular, there were three busloads. The bus snaked its way up an extremely steep mountain road with numerous hairpin turns to where the “Coleone Family” aka Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Diane Keaton spent time. The road is so narrow that many times the bus had to back up so another car could pass.
We couldn’t believe that the movie was filmed in the 1970s. Even after all the time that had passed, rural Sicily is very much the same as when the “Godfather” was filmed. Our first stop was the Bar Vitelli
where Michael Corleone asked Apollonia’s father for her hand. Paul, like all the other Godfather die-hards, sat in front of the bar wearing the beret and holding the sawed-off shotgun. On the walls are photos and memorabilia from the film.
Afterwards, we climbed up the hill to Chiesa Santa Lucia, where the wedding scene was filmed. It was interesting walking the narrow streets and seeing this area where time seems to have stood still. Onward to Forza d’Agro where the second and third films took place. The final stop was Chiesa Santissima Trinita, where the wedding party was filmed.
As we headed back, we passed the beaches, and the tour guide gave us some insight to how the Mafia began.
Remember the red volcano liquor the kids bought? Well one sip and we put it down – it could clean out your sinuses and grow hair on your chest all at once. The kids poured it down the drain – so much for the red volcano.