Some ships dock at Messina (but mainly ferries) where apart from the already great views of the coast line, you are just a pleasant ten minute walk to Messina station where you can get a train to Taormina. If you have docked here you are likely to be travelling, so check out our hotel app. Ships also dock at Palermo. Messina to Palermo is about 2 hours, trains and buses are frequent, the whole round trip joining all the dots by car is 7 hours, you would only do that if staying on the island and moving hotels. You know how we love Google-transit here at Doris Visits. Do a hotel search here and see how exciting that can be in Sicily. You could stay in the village of Corleone, nicknamed the town of 100 churches. However, most cruise ships from the UK Cruises to Giardini Naxos. Aurora, Oceana and Arcadia all cruise here – Click here. Fred Olsen’s Islands of the Mediterranean on the Balmoral stops there. Some ships just transit the Messina Straits.
Messina and Palmero are 2 hours apart, Messina and Taormina are just over an hour apart by train. You can travel but try and book a tour from where you are staying or where you dock, contact the operator in the message section and sort every detail. We love a film based tours as we are film makers, but Sicilian tours stretch from wine making to pizza cooking, from the anti mafia tour to the catacombs and the darker side of the Romans. Full tour list here. Sicily is the island right at the tip of Italy forming a passage of water between it and the mainland, much like the English channel with Europe, but this is called the straight of Messina. It is only two miles wide and many cruises go through it without stopping. It will no doubt one day have a huge suspension bridge over it one day; in 2006 Berlusconi promised to build the bridge, in 2013 Maria Monti’s government cancelled the plans.
Messina has a stunning cathedral with a 60m high bell tower with one of the world’s most outstanding astronomical clocks. At mid day it puts on its mechanical show, the madonna hands over a letter blessing the city. You can not go anywhere without seeing a church or references to the mafia and the famous sound track of the film and the heritage of The Godfather. Not that the two go hand in hand.
Doing Messina and Taormina by train in a day is enough, and you realise that to get to know this island you need more time. You could travel round with a different hotel in so many places. To see all of the Godfather’s three films locations is an epic task, so you need to choose which flavour of tour might be best. Most British cruise ships seem to favour sailing into Giardini Naxos, near Taormina.
The Godfather Tour and Castello Deli Schiavi Visit – Click here for meeting point and availability, this tour is likely to sell out)
This tour goes to the nearby beautiful medieval villages of Savoca and Forza D’Agrò where Francis Ford Coppola shot some parts of The Godfather movies. The guide explores splendid hidden corners of authentic Sicily, way off the beaten paths. Fall in love with these medieval villages nested on the peak of two beautiful hills. Visit St. Lucy Church, where Michael married Apollonia and imagine them leaving followed by the brass band playing. The Cathedral of Forza d’Agrò, where another wedding scene was shot.
Have a drink or a lemon granita at Bar Vitelli, where Michael Corleone asked Mr. Vitelli the hand of her daughter Apollonia. Then explore the splendid “Castello degli schiavi” (on demand, subject to availability). This tour is about £45 (summer 2017)
Corleone: The Godfather’s Real History 5-Hour Tour – Click here for meeting point and availability, this tour can sell out.
Or Drive in a convoy of convertible Fiat 500’s
Bar Vitelli was featured as the place where Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) meet Mr. Vitelli (the bar owner) and ask his permission to court his daughter Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli), and also for the official engagement and for the party after the wedding cerimony. While in town “a must” is the stop for a Lemon Granita in this famous bar.
Following the Godfather’s steps, next film location is the Cathedral of Maria S. Annunziata in Forza D’Agrò, that appears in the Godfather I when Michael goes to Corleone for the first time with his bodyguards (Calò and Fabrizio), and where the young Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) escapes to America hidden in a donkey hotly pursued by Don Ciccio’s men (The Godfather – Part II).
Here in Forza D’Agrò old Michael (GF3) shows his American wife (Diane Keaton) the house where his father Vito Andolini (Marlon Brando) from Corleone was born. Which ever tour you choose, which ever expert guide you have to humour you, enjoy.
If you are worried how to choose which cruise, which ship and where to go, take a look at our how to choose a cruise blog. Why not have a look at the LATE DEALS over a coffee. Doris Visits allows you to SEE THE CRUISE BEFORE YOU CRUISE THE SEA. We have videos of many of the cruise stops you might make from St Lucia to Barcelona, from Tallinn to St Maarten. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share. Most cruise operators will offer the Baltic as a cruise.
- Fred Olsen Cruises to Palmero – Click here
- Saga Cruises – Click here
- P&O Cruises to Giardini Naxos – Click here
- Thomson Cruises – Thomson Winter Cruises
- The Royal Caribbean – Click here
- Azamara Club Cruises – Click here
- Celebrity Cruises – Click here
- Norwegian Cruise Line – Click here
- Regent Seven Seas – Click here
- Cruise and Maritime Voyages – Click here
In the book charts, SOLO CRUISER BOOK SERIES. Violet Becket has never cruised. In fact, she has been nowhere in a long time. Too long. Follow author Sally Katz by clicking her name and then on the author page on Amazon, click follow. Then as she releases a new book your are informed.