Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing (probably the latter), when you think of Sicily, the first film series that springs to mind is The Godfather Trilogy. So many travellers visiting Sicily want to visit The Godfather filming locations and I can’t blame them. It’s one of the most cinematic, critically and commercially successful, well-made film series ever. And this guide will detail every single filming location from each of The Godfather films so you can visit them all, with the help of a personalised map.
The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990) follows the Corleone family, a high-status mafia/crime family living in New York City after Don Vito Corleone emigrated from the town of Corleone in Sicily. The films, through a series of flashbacks, span 1901-1979 and travel all over the world from New York to Las Vegas, Miami and Cuba to Rome and Sicily. Each of the three films has scenes shot in Sicily, and those are The Godfather filming locations I’m focusing on here.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Sicily and you want to visit some of the locations in The Godfather Trilogy, you won’t need any other guide! I’ve listed them all here…
The Godfather Filming Locations in Sicily (Parts I, II & III)
The Godfather Filming Locations in Sicily
After Michael Corleone shoots and kills Sollozzo and McCluskey (the NYPD Police Chief), he flees to Corleone in Sicily, his father Don Vito Corleone’s hometown, to lay low for a while. The production could not shoot in the town of Corleone (which is in the Palermo province) because The Godfather is set in (and after) 1945 and Corleone had modernised since then. So, they chose the towns of Forza d’Agrò and Savoca in Messina province to stand-in for Corleone as they hadn’t developed as much since the 1940s.
1. Chiesa M. del Carmelo, Piazza Madonna del Carmelo, 1, 98030, Sant’Alessio Siculo, Messina
As Michael walks into ‘Corleone’ with his two bodyguards, the three men look up to the village on the hill. The fields and countryside that they’ve just walked through surrounds the village of Forza d’Agrò, but technically the church that you can see (very faintly) at the top of this town is the Chiesa M. del Carmelo in the village of Sant’Alessio, which is right next to Forza d’Agrò to be fair.
The church isn’t important, it’s just a landmark I’ve chosen so you can work out where this shot was filmed from.
2. Cattedrale di Maria SS. Annunziata e Assunta, Via SS Annunziata, 8, 98030, Forza d’Agrò, Messina
Next, we cut to the lads walking through Forza d’Agrò as Michael laments about the lack of men in the town. They walk past an old church that seems to be falling to ruin, which is the Cattedrale di Maria SS. Annunziata e Assunta. It’s amazing how many beautiful churches there are in the tiniest towns in Italy.
3. Bar Vitelli, Piazza Fossia, 7, 98038, Savoca, Messina
After he encounters Apollonia in the countryside (I’d love to know where – there’s a bridge in the background but I just can’t find the location!), he heads into a bar to enquire about who Apollonia is. This bar is Bar Vitelli in Savoca and you can still visit it today where it’s something of a shrine to The Godfather movies (the character who owns the bar in the film is called Vitelli) but also still a working bar/restaurant.
4. Castello Degli Schiavi, Via Badalà, 63, 95013, Fiumefreddo, Catania
Michael arranges to meet Apollonia at Don Tommasino’s villa surrounded by an entire army of family. This location is also where Michael teaches Apollonia to drive by circling a well in the courtyard. And of course, she tragically gets blown up by a car bomb. The villa is called Castello Degli Schiavi in real life and it’s open to visitors.
This villa also features as a The Godfather filming location in Part II and Part III, but we’ll get to that.
5. Chiesa di San Nicolò, Via S. Nicolò, 4, 98038, Savoca, Messina
Literally just down the street from Bar Vitelli is the church where Michael and Apollonia get married which is called Chiesa di San Nicolò and the congregation continues to walk down the cliff-side street from the church.
And those are The Godfather filming locations from the first film!
The Godfather Part II Filming Locations in Sicily
The follow up to The Godfather is just as brilliant, some would say more so, than the first film. The Godfather Part II follows on from the first film in 1958 as well as simultaneously jumping back to 1901 when Don Vito Corleone was a nine-year-old boy called Vito Andolini from Corleone, Sicily and the story continues from there.
The Godfather Part II filming locations in Sicily are featured in the scenes covering Vito’s life before he hopped on a ship to America (at the very beginning of the film), and when he’s a young man in 1923 and he briefly returns to his homeland.
1. Villa Il Padrino Parte II, Via Vecchia Pozzillo, 95024, Acireale, Catania
During Vito’s father’s funeral, a Mafia boss named Don Ciccio shoots his older brother Paolo, the same Mafia boss that killed his dad. Vito’s mother visits Don Ciccio at his villa and begs for mercy on her only surviving son, claiming he is dumb witted, only to be shot herself. Later in the film, Vito returns to Don Ciccio’s villa to exact his revenge for murdering his entire family.
Don Ciccio’s villa is in Acireale, Catania and, very helpfully, someone on Google Maps has renamed the villa ‘Villa Il Padrino Parte II’. What do you reckon that means in English, eh?
2. Forza d’Agrò, 98030, Messina
Forza d’Agrò returns as a The Godfather filming location in Part II as a stand-in for Corleone. Cattedrale di Maria SS. Annunziata e Assunta makes another appearance when the dude shouting about Vito Corleone being on the run does so from the church steps. There are a few other ad hoc locations used around the village, but I’m not 100% sure exactly what streets.
Again, the Cathedral and Forza d’Agrò also appear later in the film when Vito returns to ‘Corleone’ as an adult. Specifically, after Sunday mass.
3. Sparagogna Train Station, 94017, Regalbuto, Enna
Far away from other The Godfather filming locations in Sicily is the ‘Corleone’ train station which is featured when young Vito and his family visit Sicily in 1923. It’s a tiny, defunct station in the middle of nowhere between Enna and Catania, but I’ve pinned exactly where it is on my map.
4. Castello Degli Schiavi, Via Badalà, 63, 95013, Fiumefreddo, Catania
A repeat location from The Godfather, young Vito and his family stay in Don Tommasino’s villa while they’re in Sicily. Of course, this villa, which is Castello Degli Schiavi in real life, is supposed to be in Corleone like the rest of the filming locations in Sicily.
The Godfather Part III Filming Locations in Sicily
Released sixteen years after The Godfather Part II, the third film in the trilogy is hands-down the worst. But hey, it’s still far from being a terrible film and The Godfather Part III had a lot to live up to.
This film is set in 1979 and takes the entire family to Sicily on account of Michael’s now grown-up son, Anthony, making his opera debut in the Sicilian capital city of Palermo. Of course, while the Corleones are in Sicily they pay their ancestral hometown of Corleone a visit. Which we know is actually Forza d’Agrò, a town that still hadn’t developed much between filming.
1. Calatafimi-Segesta, 91013, Trapani
The Corleones’ arrive in Sicily and the first scene follows the family, in cars, driving to Bagheria in Palermo province. It’s very easy to see that they shot this scene miles away from Palermo in the province of Trapani. You can see the Segesta temple in the background of their drive.
2. Villa Malfitano Whitaker, Via Dante Alighieri, 167, 90138, Palermo
We’ve reached one of The Godfather filming locations that I’ve actually visited! Woohoo! Michael and family drive up to the rear entrance of this stately villa (with the lion statues) situated in Palermo, which is exactly where it is supposed to be situated in the film. Except, if we’re being picky, the villa is within the actual city of Palermo, not Bagheria as suggested in the film. This is where the family are staying while Anthony is performing in Palermo. Both the interior and exterior were used and it features throughout the parts of the film set in Sicily.
Villa Malfitano Whitaker was owned by an Englishman in the early 20th-century who was a wine exporter. The home still very much looks as it does in the film, except maybe a bit dustier. The entrance fee is €6 (best have the exact change) and you have to actually ring the doorbell to be able to enter the villa. You can then explore the ground floor while a man follows you around until you’re ready to leave.
And it’s worth exploring as much of the vast grounds as possible because they’re completely free. It seems so weird to have so much space in the middle of a city, but I guess that’s what money buys you! Plus, I hear that the mafia used to hide weapons in the bushes around the house, so there were practical reasons behind owning so much land.
3. Castello Degli Schiavi, Via Badalà, 63, 95013, Fiumefreddo, Catania
And for the third and final time, we’re back at Don Tommasino’s villa. Which, in real life, is Castello Degli Schiavi. It looks exactly as it does in the first two films, except the front courtyard looks a little tidier in The Godfather Part III.
4. Villa La Limonaia, Via Carico, 149, 95024, Acireale, Catania
Vincent goes to visit Don Altobello in his Sicilian villa under false pretences, which is Villa La Limonaia. This villa is now a wedding venue and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Especially the huge second-floor balcony/patio with views over the coast.
5. Chiesa di Sant’Orsola, 91016, Erice, Trapani
Hopping across the Sicilian island back to Trapani, Chiesa di Sant’Orsola is where Michael meets Cardinal Lamberto. It’s a beautiful, old church with twin bells on the outside and a huge well in the courtyard.
6. Taormina-Giardini Station, Via Nazionale, 43, 98039, Villagonia, Messina
Kay finally joins Michael in Palermo, and she arrives into Bagheria Station. In reality, this is the Taormina-Giardini Station which is nowhere near Bagheria. It’s quite a pretty train station, however, and hasn’t changed much since The Godfather Part III was released.
7. Forza d’Agrò, 98030, Messina
Michael decided to take Kay on a tour around Corleone to try and make her understand his family’s actions. The drive from Bagheria in Palermo to Corleone would be relatively short in real life. But this isn’t real life, is it! Instead of Corleone, we’re back in Forza d’Agrò, way over on the east coast of Sicily.
Michael takes Kay to see the house his father was born in, which is on Vico I Roma, 5. They see a wedding spilling out of the Cattedrale di Maria SS. Annunziata e Assunta and they park their car on the corner of Via Belvedere and Via Roma.
8. Strada Provinciale 78, Mascali, Catania
While dressed as priests, Mosca and his son kill Don Tommasino on the orders of Don Altobello. Don Tommasino is riding in his car when he stops to pick them up. The stretch of road is called Strada Provinciale 78 in Catania. Luckily, the Madonna del Carmine church is in the shot so you know where exactly on the road the filming location is.
9. Teatro Massimo, Piazza Verdi, 90138, Palermo
Another The Godfather filming location and it’s one I’ve actually visited! The Teatro Massimo is the biggest opera house in Italy and it’s the location of Anthony’s opera debut. It’s a rather spectacular building, both inside and out. However, only the exterior was used in The Godfather Part III because in 1990 during filming, the opera house was undergoing a huge, decades-long closure for renovations. The film did an excellent job of recreating the theatre, even down to the miniature model of the theatre in the foyer.
Hop on a The Godfather Filming Locations Tour!
I’ve just thrown A LOT of The Godfather filming locations at you. And they’re quite spread out all over Sicily, aren’t they? Well, to visit the filming locations in Palermo, you’d probably need to organise your own trip to see them. But if you want to visit the filming locations in Messina and Catania on Sicily’s east coast, I’d highly recommend booking a tour!
That way, you’ll be able to see all the movie locations in one day. And you won’t have to faff about driving on Sicily’s crazy roads. You’d have a Sicilian guide to do that for you! This is the perfect The Godfather filming locations tour and it picks up in Catania or Taormina. You’ll be taken to all the filming locations in Savoca and Forza d’Agrò including a drink in Bar Vitelli!
Those are all of The Godfather filming locations in Sicily, Italy! Are you planning a trip to Sicily or have you seen The Godfather trilogy? Let me know in the comments below!