Buongiorno! Thank you for taking the time to read my little information packets. I’m going to tell you about the 5 top things to do in Corleone.
Today old Don Tano is gonna tell you about Corleone. Yes, this is the infamous village in the heart of Mafia territory and of course, made a household word through the Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece, The Godfather.
Inspired by the late Mario Puzo’s powerful and moving novel, this film has been hailed as one of Hollywood’s greatest works of art.
Well, now I’m gonna tell you all about this place, a place that arouses the curiosity (and sometimes fear) of thousands of eager visitors every year. Yes, there really is a Corleone.
Much of Corleone’s (less than angelic) fame comes from the Godfather movie. The later Marlon Brando assumed the role of Don Vito Corleone, a Mafia boss who had come to America from his native Sicily where he found himself immersed in power struggles with rival mafia families.
An international success, the film brought unexpected attention to Corleone and the locals are often thought to be Mafiosi although many of them have never stolen so much as a piece of candy.
Actually, before the book and the movie, Corleone’s criminal reputation had already begun to spread. The idea that all the Corleonesi (inhabitants of Corleone), were Mafiosi came from the Corleone-born capi (bosses).
Many of these ran the Cosa Nostra over the past fifty years. Two examples might be the murderous Salvatore “Totò” Riina and Bernardo Provenzano.
However, I’m not here to talk all day about 👉the history of the Mafia. You can learn all that when you visit Corleone. I just want to “make you an offer you can’t refuse.”
I hope you’ll want to visit Corleone to see the following 🔥5 not-to-be-missed things to see and do.
What you should see in Corleone
1. FICUZZA WOOD
If you love the sights and sounds of nature, you definitely can’t miss visiting this immense natural park. Your children will love it too as you all wander about in this protected area of over seventeen thousand acres.
This vast wooded area covers not only Corleone but a number of other villages as well such as Mezzojusa, Godrano, Marineo, and Monreale.
Thousands of species of plants abound in this natural reserve as well as a veritable open zoo for many animals such as foxes, weasels, hedgehogs, and wild birds.
Yes, even wolves are free to wander about in their very own little world. But like most forest creatures, wolves are shy and they don’t bother visitors.
In days past, the Ficuzza Wood was the hunting reserve of the King Bourbon Ferdinand III of Sicily. Today, hundreds of years later, you’ll still see the Royal Palace. This structure presents a number of halls, a private chapel, stables, warehouses and of course, the king’s bedrooms.
Sadly, I have to tell you the furniture disappeared during raids by the citizens of Ficuzza during the revolts of the late eighteen hundreds.
Guided tours are free of charge for small groups as kindly volunteer guides show you around the palace. Perhaps a nice tip slipped into the hands of a guide would be appreciated.
During the warmest summer weekends, many of the locals enjoy pleasant days in these woods while they allow themselves to become immersed in nature together with their families and a copious picnic lunch.
Many go hiking about all morning and then settle down later for their picnic. This is followed by a relaxing afternoon (and perhaps a short nap) before leaving around sunset to return home.
2. CASCATA DELLE DUE ROCCHE WATERFALL
People can say anything they want about Sicily, but no one is going to tell you Sicily is famous for its waterways.
Rain is practically non-existent through the hot summers, and then we have the high mountains. These have generated short and shallow rivers. As you can see, you’re unlikely to find any waterfalls worthy of the name.
But our beautiful island of Sicily is about to surprise you after all with its beautiful Due Rocche Waterfall. Okay, this isn’t as spectacular as Niagara Falls or the Victoria Falls. Maybe it’s not as beautiful as the Marmore Waterfall.
However, the Due Rocche is more remarkable than you might think and has proved to be a popular destination for photography enthusiasts from all over the globe.
Only about twelve or fourteen feet high, Due Rocche has nevertheless never failed to interest and impress visitors.
This is really a wonderful corner of paradise, but there are a couple of caveats I should mention. It isn’t terribly easy to reach because clear directions are practically non—existent and the only route is via very narrow roads where two cars can find it very difficult to get past each other.
And one last word I should mention: during the hottest months the waterfall will probably be dry with not a drop of water to be seen.
3. CIDMA (Mafia Museum)
Now don’t expect to visit a museum featuring vast displays of tommy guns, horse’s heads or relics from the famous movie.
This center is dedicated to presenting an informative view of the Mafia rather than the glorified version we usually see in the movies.
This little museum houses a huge collection of documents that relate the horrors through which the locals suffered over the years, with Corleone resting at the very center of this blood-soaked period of life in Sicily.
The professional guides and the excellent organization of the route in the museum follow the transformation of this bloody chapter of Sicilian history up to the story of its cultural growth today.
As your guides relate the stories and the passion that accompany each step of this journey you begin to see much more clearly into the Mafia history as you see too, that those who died at the hands of the Mafia over the years did not die in vain.
In addition, this visit will help you to see and understand the dynamics and the complicated structure of the Mafia and the Cosa Nostra. These represent lifestyles and past customs that are difficult for a non-Sicilian to understand.
The guides will tell you a very different story from the ones you’ve seen on the silver screen. You’ll learn what real Sicilians have to say about the Mafia now that a fresh new freedom of speech is something everyone appreciates.
Visitors all find this a very interesting part of their tours and they all emerge with folders of the infamous maxi-trial held by the 👉heroic judges Falcone and Borsellino (both men later allegedly assassinated by the Mafia). Truly a breathtaking chapter in the history of Sicily.
This tour is suitable for all ages and isn’t unduly long. Not to be missed!
4. LABORATORIO DELLA LEGALITÀ (LEGAL LABORATORY)
This property has been confiscated from one of the most feared Mafia bosses of all, Bernardo Provenzano.
These days the Corleone Municipality has become the center of a cultural revolution in which children and young adults grow learning proper moral values and are made well aware of the mafia phenomenon and what it really is.
Inside this lab, you’re gonna find a gallery of the famous artist Gaetano Porcasi. His paintings tell the story of the Mafiosi and more importantly, the story of the anti-mafia.
Often called “the painter who paints the story“, Gaetano’s work creates a memorial for the many who have paid with their lives because of their commitment to obedience to and respect for the law.
These paintings retrace the massacres and murders of the Mafia from 1943 through 1997 along a pathway that illustrates the most salient moments and representative characters.
Although some sixty years of this dark chapter of Sicilian history beginning just around the arrival of the Americans after WWII.
After having seen these paintings, you’ll go home with a greater understanding of the many heroic victims of Mafia violence and the contributions they made in their fight for an end to crime.
After all I’ve told you about Sicily’s black soul, you’re probably thinking this is a godless country, but I gotta tell you, Corleone is a village that holds onto a firm belief within the confines of Catholicism.
This is so obvious as you see the numerous religious structures you’ll see in this town once known as “the country of a hundred churches.”
To list all of them here would be more than you’d care to read, but I’ll just highlight the fact that each of these churches manages to synthesize styles and cultures with an admirable aestheticism.
Every one of these is quite capable of leading the visitor to fall into a state of contemplation as do the natives, all of whom remain very close to the ecclesiastical world.
From among the multitude of churches and religious sites, I would like to point out a few highlights you should include in your itinerary. There is the convent of the Cappuccini, the Monastery of Santissimo Salvatore, the Church of Sant’Agostino, and that of San Domenico.
HOW TO GET TO CORLEONE FROM PALERMO
My best advice, when visiting Sicily, is to 👉rent a car. The Village of Corleone lies only about 35 miles from Palermo. The drive will take you through the scenic route to Corleone.
Just in case you’re daring enough to get it in your hear to travel to Corleone by coach, you’ll have to rely on the regional bus company AST.
If you’re unable to read Italian you won’t be able to understand the bus schedule so that can put a dent in your day. There are private excursion companies. These are more reliable, but of course, they’re gonna cost you more money.
IS CORLEONE SAFE FOR TOURISTS?
You know, I get dozens of questions about 👉safety in Sicily and in particular about Corleone. This began when I launched my first website. And I have to concede that Mr. Coppola did a good job in scaring people away from visiting Sicily.
But the truth is that Corleone is a very quiet little village where the most danger you’re likely to encounter is from mosquitos (but they aren’t allowed to carry little guns!).
And don’t worry, you’ll never come back to your hotel to find a horse’s head on the bed.
Corleone is as safe for tourists as any city, actually even safer than the larger cities. Now that I’ve cleared that up, come on down and see Corleone. You won’t be sorry.
And at the end of all these articles, I always tell you I hope I’ve provided you with some good information, But if there’s anything I missed or you have any question or comment, please drop it into the box below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Don Tano Bongiorno