Visit Corleone: complete guide

Corleone

Visit Corleone: discover a town made famous by Coppola’s saga, but with more to offer than its mafia history…

Corleone may have been made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather films, but there’s much more to it than that. In fact, this town, located between Palermo and Agrigento, has a few very interesting surprises up its sleeve.

If you’re visiting Corleone out of cinematic interest, you’ll be disappointed. Sure, you’ll find elements of the films and characters, but Corleone is far richer than it’s famous for.

Corleone may have had a Mafia past, but it’s still worth visiting for its Sicilian charm and authenticity. So follow the guide!

Corleone and the mafia: a bit of history between fact and fiction

Corleone

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ivan Smuk

Corleone was founded in the 13th century, a time when Guelphs and Ghibellines were still at loggerheads. Today, it’s true that fiction has taken precedence over reality. But links between the Sicilian Mafia and the town of Corleone do exist.

Indeed, since the 19th century, it has been the cradle of criminal organization. Cruel and ruthless personalities were born into its midst. Until the 20th century, the Sicilian mafia ( Cosa Nostra) was considered one of the most influential criminal organizations in Europe. Coppola’s saga draws its inspiration from this.

But what we see in the movies doesn’t quite represent the Corleone of today. The mafia is a thing of the past, even if a few residual rumors still circulate from time to time.

Visiting Corleone has become a pleasure. Especially if you enjoy learning about the island’s history, culture and heritage. But it’s also about letting yourself be enchanted by the charm of its ancient streets.

What to see and do in Corleone

In Corleone itself

Downtown
Le centre-ville de Corleone

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Natursports

How can you visit Corleone without discovering its city center? It’s the lively place where those moments of life are exchanged. Stores, restaurants and little pubs are a great reminder of Coppola’s work, with numerous displays.

You’ll stroll through Corleone like a local, through narrow streets and cobbled roads. Typically Sicilian, Corleone has retained its ancient village charm, with its sometimes battered walls, eaten away by time and not replaced by modernity.

However, take the time to stroll around, if only for the pleasure of a summer stroll.

The municipal park

Located not far from the cemetery, this central park is the perfect place to take a break during your visit. Take a deep breath – you’re in the city’s mini-lung! Although it doesn’t suffer from urban pollution…

Like a kind of small Central Park corleonese, the communal park is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the surrounding greenery. The fountain, palm avenues and other small trees dotted around will almost make you forget you’re in Sicily.

Cascata delle Due Rocche
Cascata delle Due Rocche

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Vater_fotografo Salvatore Ciambra

A real local attraction, the Cascata delle Due Rocche (Waterfall of the Two Rocks) attracts many tourists every year, summer and winter alike.

Located right next to the Monastero del Santissimo Salvatore, the waterfall seems to be nestled deep in the vegetation. It empties into a small body of water before continuing on its way through the ancient Sicilian mountains. Still, it’s a lovely place to picnic or listen to nature.

Monastero del Santissimo Salvatore

On the mountainside, beneath the golden-green rocks of the maquis, the monastery appears at first glance to be quite ravaged by time. Its facades are not the best maintained, but they’re just that – facades.

The interior is far more impressive. Of medieval origin, the monastery once housed a community of Carmelite and Benedictine monks. Today, open to the public, you’ll find magnificent arches and a pretty little garden overlooking nature.

But from the esplanade in front of the monastery, you’ll have a panoramic, unobstructed view of Corleone, its valleys, mountains and homes. An added bonus if you visit at the end of the day, when the sun’s orange light illuminates the town of Corleone differently and revives its shadows…

The International Documentation Center on the Mafia and the Anti-Mafia Movement

Worn, even abused, the notion of the Mafia resonates strongly in Corleone. As mentioned above, Corleone’s streets are a regular reminder of this episode in its history. Whether on behalf of the film franchise, or not.

The Centre International de Documentation sur la Mafia et le mouvement Anti-Mafia (CIDMA) is a museum that offers its visitors a double interpretation. On the one hand, the episodically tragic reality of the Sicilian mafia. On the other, the struggle of the justice system to curb and punish the mafia’s progress.

For enthusiasts and the curious, this discovery will be a real asset during your stay in Corleone.

In the vicinity

Palermo
Palais des Normands, Palerme

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Gandolfo Cannatella

Palermo is one of Sicily’s most popular tourist destinations. And for good reason: it’s the capital.

The atmosphere here is unique: culture, modernity, tradition and dynamism all blend together. If you choose to visit Corleone, we strongly advise you to set aside a day or two of your schedule to discover Palermo. There’s so much to see: palaces, Italy’s largest theater, beautiful squares, catacombs….

And of course, you have to be able to enjoy the seaside, from which the Italian boot can be seen depending on the weather.

Riserva naturale della Ficuzza: Bosco della Ficuzza, Rocca Busambra, Gorgo del Drago
Riserva naturale della Ficuzza

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Dedda71

Located to the northeast of Corleone, this nature reserve is exceptional for its many points of interest. Between the many hikes, simple walks and excursions you can make here, the Ficuzza natural area is a must-see during a stay in Corleone, or nearby.

The Bosco della Ficuzza palace is particularly famous and a must-see in the area. If you’re an expert hiker, you’ll love the Rocca Busambra experience, a 1,600-metre peak. You can climb it as long as you’re not afraid of heights and you’re well equipped (shoes, rucksack, poles, etc.).

Finally, don’t miss the Gorges du Dragon(Gorgo del Drago), where canyoning excursions are organized by the Sicilian Mountaineers’ Association.

Where to eat in Corleone

Pizza Nascè, Corleone

Photo credit: Facebook – Pizza Nascè

Despite its small size, the town of Corleone boasts a number of restaurants where you can sample authentic local dishes. Of course, there’s no escaping traditional Italian cuisine with its pizze, pasta and antipasti.

Restaurants in Corleone are scattered throughout the city center, but seem to follow a guiding line from north to south. Among them is the Pizza Nasce pizzeria, offering delicious, rich, gourmet and filling pizzas. The restaurant is located in the heart of Corleone, on a square where a small terrace is set up for sunny days.

Alternatively, to the north of the city, the highly reputed Gennaro restaurant-pizzeria will delight even the most demanding gourmets. From pizzas and pasta to a variety of starters and even seafood, Gennaro’s extensive menu is sure to please the whole family. The atmosphere is friendly, with just the right amount of generosity on the part of the managers to guarantee you a pleasant moment.

Please note that Corleone’s restaurants are often closed in the afternoon. In fact, they only open during restaurant hours, often between 11:30 and 14:00. So if you want to eat in, make sure you plan around these times, otherwise you may find the doors closed.

How do I get to Corleone?

The easiest way to visit Corleone is via Palermo, one of Sicily’s largest cities. And when you think big city, you think tourist connections. You can choose between :

  • Car: either your own or rented. Allow 1 hour for the journey, during which you simply follow the SS118 from point A to point B;
  • Bus: you can get to Corleone in 1h20. There are two departures a day in both directions. A tourist office or the operator itself (Autolinee Gallo) will give you information on timetables, which are subject to change according to the season ;
  • Or cab: this is still the most expensive option, but if you don’t have a car or don’t feel like taking the bus, it’s the way to go. Trips cost between €60 and €75 and also take 1 hour. There are several cab ranks in Palermo, and the easiest to find is obviously the one next to the train station in the city center.

Where to stay in Corleone?

Corleone’s mafia and film notoriety make it a popular tourist destination. That’s why there’s a wide range of hotels, campsites, Airbnb and guesthouses to choose from.

We recommend several options: downtown or off-center. If you’re in the center, you’ll be able to discover the city’s nightlife, entertainment and perhaps even enjoy its Sicilian atmosphere. And if you’re a little further afield, you’ll have the joy of staying in magnificent villas, often with swimming pools. Hotels are not to be outdone either.

That said, we suggest you consult a hotel comparator before making your choice. You might just stumble across the ideal accommodation. A visit to theAirbnb website may also be a good idea. You’ll find it easier to reconcile accommodation and your travel budget.