Nestled on a double hill, the village of Savoca still conveys the flavor of ancient Sicily.

Its alleys, churches, monuments and traditions take us back in time.

At 300 meters above sea level, it is a balcony over the Strait of Messina and the Ionian coast on one side and over the Peloritani Mountains and Etna on the other.

Ancient Pentefur, rich in history and tradition, offers a variety of attractions: on the highest peak of the hill rises the ruins of the castle, from the Arab era and modified by the Normans who transformed it from a fortress to the residence of Archimandrite.

Located at the feet of the castle there is the church of San Michele, on the façade of which two Catalan Gothic portals with sandstone arches stand out. It was probably the castle church.

The mother church, dedicated to The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, dates back to 1400, although it was probably built on the ruins of a medieval church and played an important role in the Byzantine period, as evidenced by two frescoes of that period.

Further on, overlooking the valley, there is the church of San Nicolò or Santa Lucia, built in the 500s for defensive purpose.

The interior has been renovated several times and houses both ancient and modern works of art.

The movie

This church is famous for being the setting for the wedding between Apollonia and Michael Corleone in the film The Godfather by Francis F. Coppola.

The film has also brought prestige to Bar Vitelli, already known for its lemon granita, but which is also a small museum that collects tools from the local peasant tradition and, of course, photos and objects related to the shooting of the film in the 70s.

Another particularity of Savoca is the crypt of the convent of the Capuchin friars, where 32 mummified bodies are preserved from the time between the 600s and the 700s.

Not to be missed, then, is the traditional procession of Saint Lucia, patron saint of the city.

According to tradition, this would represent the martyrdom that the Roman governor Pascasius inflicted on the saint.

The characters of the performance are:

Saint Lucy, depicted by a white girl carried on her shoulder by a man;

u Diavulazzu tempter, dressed in red and with a wooden mask on  her face, the work of a local shepherd of the fifteenth century;

the Jews, that is Roman soldiers in period costumes and two cows decorated with ribbons and guided by a man in costume.