Holiday in Sicily: Spend Your Holiday on a Film Set!

Scopello Zingaro Reserve

Romantic villages, breath-taking landscapes, Greek theatres, incredibly ancient traditions, golden beaches, lively cities... and even erupting volcanoes! No wonder if this magnificent island became the favourite choice for many directors. When you spend your holiday staying in one of the most charming villas in Sicily, don’t forget about this fascinating perspective.

Luchino Visconti, one of the most important artists and intellectuals of the twentieth-century, created many theatre, opera and cinema masterpieces, and two of his memorable movies were shot in Sicily. First, in 1947, he filmed the neorealist The Earth Trembles in Aci Trezza (near Catania), a free reinterpretation of the novel I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga. For the making of the film, Visconti resorted only to non-professional actors: the people of Aci Trezza, in front of the camera, talked in Sicilian language and showed their harsh daily existence. A milestone in cinema is The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The novel (which, by the way, became the top-selling novel in Italian history), chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento. Visconti was able to create a stunning, award-winning film in 1963, with an exceptional cast: Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster.

Piazza della Vittoria allo Spasimo, Piazza Sant'Euno, Piazza della Marina and Palazzo Gangi, in Palermo, were part of the set. The luxurious Palazzo Gangi hosted the spectacular scene of the Ball, while Villa Boscogrande, near Palermo, was restored in record time in order to set the scenes that should have been shot in Palazzo Salina, at the time abandoned and in decay.

The great film-maker Roberto Rossellini in 1950 filmed Stromboli (or Terra di Dio), in the awe-inspiring scenery of the Aeolian Islands: the set became famous also because it marked the beginning of the lovestory between the Italian director and the beautiful and talented Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman. Considered a classic of Italian neorealism, the movie involved many inhabitants of the island. During filming, an eruption of the volcano gave some insights to Rossellini, which directed Stromboli without a real script, setting the day-to-day ideas on a simple notepad.

Let’s leave behind the great Italian cinema of the past, in order to arrive to more recent years: in 1988, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, by Giuseppe Tornatore, was shot in Palazzo Adriano (province of Palermo) and Cefalù amongst other places. Also the legendary film-maker Woody Allen chose Sicily in 1995, when he decided that Taormina’s Greek-Roman  theatre was the perfect location for one of the scenes of his Mighty Aphrodite. For Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, the iconic film-maker George Lucas used footage of the Mount Etna’s 2002 eruption to help out with special effects.

One of the final scenes of Ocean’s 12, directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney, was filmed at the impressive Tonnara in Scopello, one of the most important and ancient of all Sicily. Scopello, also known as Castellammare del Golfo, is a picturesque village located in a stunning position. It is just 10 km away from Trapani, one of the main Sicilian cities, and is in the nearby of Lo Zingaro Natural Reserve. It is extremely hard to resist to the beautiful seaside, the dramatic cliffs and the historic “tonnara”.

Do you feel inspired? Sicily is waiting for you... discover the wonderful nature and the charming cities of this Island, and your holiday will be unforgettable. Plus, you will have the chance to see the stunning locations of several international movies. What else could you ask for? The hard part for you will be to leave…

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