… e tu sempre devi di rispettare ‘e cose di famigghia.
That’s what Michael Corleone told Frank Pentangeli in The Godfather, Part II. Mario Puzo didn’t pick the town of Corleone, some 40 miles south from Palermo, as the home town of his characters on random. History knows the “friends of the friends” of Corleone as the most infamous and influential mafia syndicates. Salvatore Riina, Luciano Leggio and Bernardo Provenzano, among others, are all from Corleone. And even though today the friends of the friends have lost much of their power, they still exist and guide different aspects of the Sicilian life directly and indirectly. A good example of how they work: if you want to build something, you can obtain the licence for that perfectly legally, but after that, even today some forces tell you where to hire builders and where to buy materials.
But in Corleone, there are no signs of the mafia. Posters on houses call you to visit an anti-mafia museum. There are carabinieri and policemen on the streets, almost as many as other people. Old men, wearing their coppole, talk about daily matters on streets.
However, the Sicilian scenes in the Godfather films weren’t shot in Corleone. The town is rather developed and was so also in 1970ies and 1980ies. So Francis Ford Coppola found two villages at the eastern coast of Sicily to shoot the scenes of Corleone. Those villages are Savoca and Forca d’Agro, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go there. Perhaps next time.