Corleone, Province of Palermo, Sicily

Corleone, the "City of One Hundred Churches", is a small town encircled by cliffs that time has modeled in shape of fortifications and towers, with a charming landscape dominated by the "Twin Rocks". The name of the town is well known because it was also used as the surname of the main character in Mario Puzo's book "The Godfather". Al Pacino's maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Corleone.


  • Altitude: 542 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 12,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 90034
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 091.


The city was once dominated by the Arabs, who brought about a remarkable economic and political growth, and then the Normans. In the past it was surrounded by defensive walls connecting the Castello Soprano and Castello Sottano, the latter today transformed into a Franciscan monastery.

Corleone was known as "Courageous Civitas" from its position on the front line in all wars fought in Sicily. Midpoint between Palermo and Agrigento, the city controlled one of the main arteries and was, therefore, one of the most strategic locations of the island. It became a royal property around the end of the 14th century and later passed into the feudal holdings of Federico Ventimiglia.

What to see

  • The Saracena tower, a sighting post built between the 11th and 12th century, which offers a great view of the Cascata delle Due Rocche, a sheer drop along the course of the Corleone river.
  • The Cathedral of San Martino Vescovo of the late 1300s, divided inside into aisles divided with chapels containing precious pieces such as a 17th-century wooden statue representing San Filippo d'Agira, a 16th-century statue of San Biagio and a fine 16th-century marble panel representing the Baptism of Christ.
  • The Santuario della Madonna del Rosario di Tagliavia, a religious destination of pilgrims on Ascension's Day.
  • The Bosco della Ficuzza, one of the richest and most charming forests in Sicily. In the late 16th century King Ferdinand of Bourbon made Ficuzza his hunting lodge. The vegetation is highly varied comprising oaks, ashes, cork-oaks, maples.