Friday, June 16, 2017

Savoca, Sicily - another Hollywood has-been

Savoca is a small Sicilian village of 1,600 people or so, built 1,000 feet up on a rugged mountainside that looks out over the Mediterranean at the southern tip of the "toe" of Italy. One of hundreds of similar crumbling and near forgotten communes throughout Sicily, Savoca was used and abused by the Hollywood machine and, 44 years later, remains conflicted about its identity as a result of that visitation.
For good or bad, it was selected as a location for some scenes of the Godfather movie series and was invaded in 1972 by Francis Ford Coppola and his gang of users. Since the first movie's release, daily coach loads of tourists make the tiresome trek to the village and jump through the hoops set out by the tour companies and the natives. The inhabitants are split into two groups - the haves, including church managers charging admission, the Post Office, the coffee and souvenir shop, the enterprising owner of the three-wheeled taxi who offers rides to the church and, of course, the proprietor of Bar Vitelli that appeared in one or more of the movies. Remaining are the have-nots - residents, retirees and holiday-homers seeking the earlier tranquility and solitude, now hesitant to venture out between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm to compete with the visiting hordes straining the meager local services to breaking point.
We were dropped off at the Convento dei Cappuccini to gaze at a bunch of dead bodies in the catacombs as you can see here...

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