Disembarking the ship, you'll meet your waiting motor coach and start your exploration of this delightful area of Sicily that was the setting for many scenes in the movie The Godfather.
Your tour begins with a brief drive through the town of Messina. Founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonizers, today it serves as a bustling commercial and military port for the island. Your route through the city will bring you through Piazza Duomo where you will see the Cathedral with its astronomic clock, Corso Cavour and Via Boccetta. From here, it's a pleasant drive over the scenic coastal road which showcases beautiful villas, flowering gardens and several smaller villages along the route to Santa Teresa, the largest coastal town between Messina and Taormina.
Turning inland, it's an equally picturesque journey to the village of Savoca. Nestled in a saddle between two hills, the town's lovely scenery and historical-artistic heritage make Savoca one of the most attractive - although unknown - places in the environs of Taormina. At the entrance of the village you'll find the Bar Vitelli, which has an interesting collection of local artisans' tools and photographs taken when Francis Ford Coppola filmed some scenes for The Godfather here. Your first stop will be at the Cappuccini Church to view the crypt and the mummified bodies of 37 friars and noblemen who lived there in the 18th and 19th centuries. These fully dressed bodies are found standing in the niches of the church's catacombs and are quite a remarkable site to behold.
From here, it's a short stop at Bar Vitelli for some Sicilian granita and cookies before embarking on a leisurely walking tour of the village's main street. As the street makes its way uphill, you'll see several churches that originate from the 15th and 16th centuries, such as Chiesa Madre, Santa Lucia and San Michele. There are also some impressive ruins of an ancient Norman castle and this vantage point above the town also provides marvelous views of the Sicilian coastline, the strait of Messina, the Italian mainland and colorful villages perched on the surrounding hills.
Re-joining your coach, you'll next proceed to Forza d'Agro, a charming little village that overlooks the Arab-Norman castle of Capo Sant'Alessio and the dazzling stretch of coastline that extends toward Messina. Al Pacino and Sophia Coppola paid a visit here in 1990 when they were shooting some scenes for The Godfather III. From the main square, a small lane will lead you up to another of the town's landmarks, the Church of Santa Agostino with its impressive 15th century façade and remarkable Gothic-Catalan portal.
After what will surely be an enjoyable visit in Forza d'Agro, your coach will transfer you back to the pier in Messina, along the way viewing another wonderful church, the Baroque Mother Church.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 hours of walking - at times on uneven ground, as well as a moderate uphill. It is not available to wheelchair guests and not recommended for those guests with mobility concerns. Lightweight clothing, a hat and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.