There are many places in Sicily that have become famous for film scenes shot over the years, capturing the attention of curious travelers.
Sicily was the protagonist at the 75th Cannes International Film Festival, achieving recognition as the ideal destination for film shooting, thanks to its unique settings and mild climate all year round.
It is known to all, in fact, that our island has always been the ideal destination for shooting films and fiction, which have made it famous all over the world: from the Godfather, by American director Francis Ford Coppola, to Giuseppe Tornatore, a director from Palermo, who described its many places through the stories of its protagonists, to Commissioner Montalbano, born from the pen of the great writer Andrea Camilleri, there are many Sicilian places that have become an increasingly popular destination for travelers curious to discover with their eyes as seen on the big screen.
We cannot name them all, a whole tome would not be enough … but we want to take you to the discovery of some of these places, which have made Sicily known to the whole world.
You are ready? Ciak … you travel!
The emotions one feels watching a film are so many and thinking of a truly exciting film, this is undoubtedly the masterpiece of Palermo director Giuseppe Tornatore, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988), whose shooting took place in the splendid setting of the well-known Cefalù , about 70 km from Palermo, and many others in the less known, but equally beautiful, municipality of Palazzo Adriano, located on the Sicani Mountains, characteristic for its enormous historical and cultural heritage of a multi-ethnic place that since the 1700s has hosted part of the Albanian population, arrived here following the Turkish advance in the East, and today a destination for many travelers interested in experiencing the most authentic Sicily.
As the filmed cinema no longer exists, a museum has been opened in Palazzo Adriano, with free admission, where some memorabilia from the film are collected.
But Tornatore has also chosen other splendid locations on our island to shoot his films. Just think of Man of the Stars, shot in 1995, in which he tells the wonderful Ragusa through the story of a scammer who goes around the island promising people popularity in the entertainment world. In the same film, some shots concern Marzamemi, where the scene of the arrest of the protagonist takes place in La Balata, one of the two small natural harbors of the village.
Let’s now move on to another iconic film of Sicilian cinematography, also by director Tornatore, which has traveled around the world reaching as far as China, so much so that it is identified as one of the elements of recognition of our island. In the past we happened to ask some Chinese if they knew Sicily and the answer was: “Yes, of course! Malèna!”
With the film Malena, shot in 2000, Tornatore gives the best of himself once again, showing the public the scenic Piazza Duomo of Ortigia, Syracuse, framing the solitary walk of Malèna (Monica Bellucci), followed by the prying eyes of the locals and of the many little boys, full of desire for the beautiful woman. Ortigia and the whole Val di Noto deserve a visit of at least 3 days to be able to fully enjoy all that this area has to offer: from monuments and archaeological sites, to good food and local crafts, there is no spoiled for choice.
By Tornatore, we should also mention the film Baaria (2009), Bagheria, his birthplace, in which the main scenes were set. For production reasons, most of the film was shot in Tunisia, where the director arranged for the set to be reconstructed identically in Bagheria. This small town in the province of Palermo is still little frequented by travelers but, to those who choose to visit it, it offers an authentic welcome made of genuine things and where time stands still. Definitely a stop not to be missed is the Guttuso Museum, to which the many Villas must be added, including the most famous Villa Palagonia, famous for the statues scattered representing monsters of all kinds.
To conclude, if there is one film that more than any other has made our island famous all over the world, this is undoubtedly The Godfather, by director Francis Ford Coppola. Despite the film’s highly controversial thematic stories, it still remains among the most beautiful in the history of cinema. Unlike what you think, most of the scenes were shot in small towns in the Messina area and not in Corleone, in the province of Palermo. Indeed, some scenes of the Godfather Part II were shot in what is now one of the most requested event locations, Radice Pura, located in the province of Catania. Some of the most important scenes were shot at the Castello degli Schiavi of Fiumefreddo and then between Savoca, where today a visit to the Bar Vitelli and Forza d’Agrò is a fixed stop, where some scenes were shot that reflect the life of the country. The great protagonist is undoubtedly the Teatro Massimo of Palermo in the Godfather Part III.
What are you waiting for! Choose your destination and come and visit us in Sicily.
We will take care of offering you the activities and experiences to live wherever you decide to go!
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