Corleone is a small village in Sicily approximately 35 miles (57 kilometers) south of Palermo. Vito Corleone was born and raised here. In 1901, Vito escaped the village after his parents and brother were murdered by the local Mafia chieftain, Don Ciccio. He was given the last name of his hometown on his arrival to Ellis Island in the United States.
Vito returned here in 1922, where he killed Don Ciccio in revenge, as well as eliminating his top button-men, Mosca and Strollo. He was assisted in this endeavour by Tommasino, who lost the use of his legs after being shot escaping from Don Ciccio's villa.
Vito's son Michael returned to Sicily after he killed drugs man Virgil Sollozzo and his bodyguard Captain McCluskey. Michael was protected by Tommasino, now a powerful Don, and stayed in the home of his uncle, Dr. Taza. During this time, Michael fell deeply in love with a Sicilian girl called Apollonia Vitelli, who lived in a village near Corleone, and married her soon afterwards. However, she was killed in a car bomb meant for him, and Michael soon returned to New York.
In 1980, Michael came to Corleone to seek Tommasino's advice, as well as to see his son in the opera Cavalleria rusticana in Palermo. A chain of events masterminded by Licio Lucchesi and Don Altobello saw Don Tommasino dead at the hands of the assassin Mosca of Montelepre.
Behind the scenes
- The actual locations for Corleone, as depicted in The Godfather, are the villages of Savoca and Forza d'Agrò. These villages are located near the eastern border of Sicily in the Province of Messina. Both Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola felt the actual town of Corleone would not be suitable for the purposes of the story they were trying to tell.
- The town of Corleone is known as one of the hotbeds for the Mafia and, for many years, one of the main suppliers of Mafia manpower in the United States. Many of today's mobsters, especially in the New York-New Jersey area, trace their roots back to Corleone.
- Among the Corleonesi who transferred to America were Ignazio Saietta and Peter Morello (the creators of the actual Genovese crime family), Gaetano Reina and Gaetano Gagliano (the first bosses of the actual Lucchese crime family) and Jack Dragna, a powerful boss of the Los Angeles crime family.
- Corleone is also associated with a very powerful Sicilian Mafia faction, namely the Corleonesi clan.
- Piana dei Greci