With its wonderful landscapes, wonderful old villages, and cities rich in art and history, Sicily has always provided great locations for filmmakers, from Sicilian, Italian and international. Some films talk about Sicily, others simply borrow it for different settings.
Giuseppe Tornator and Sicily movies
Giuseppe Tornatore is one of the leading figures when it comes to films in Sicily. Born in Bagheria, he wanted to honor his motherland. One of the most famous is the 1988 film New Cinema Paradiso, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, with Philipp Nauert. The film was shot in the fictional town of Giancaldo in Sicily, at various locations on the island. The omnipresent town square is the Palazzo Adriano, while the other scenes were filmed in Bagheria, Cefalù, Lascari and Castelbuono.
In 2000, the film “Malena” was released, together with Monica Bellucci, filmed mainly in Syracuse, where the beautiful Ortigia Cathedral Square stands out to a large extent. Among the many places visible in the film, we also see Marina di Noto and Scala dei Turchi in the province of Agrigento. Another film of great importance is the film Baaria, released in 2009, which reconstructs the ancient Bagheria in Tunisia. However, there is no shortage of scenes shot on the streets of the wonderful city just a few kilometers from Palermo.
Watching Il Gattopardo means not only seeing one of the most beautiful films in the history of world cinema, but also taking a trip to discover the Sicilian nobles of the 19th century. Based on the novel of the same name by the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, it was filmed in Palermo and its province. It shows us many ancient villas and palaces of exceptional beauty. The Prince’s residence was recreated in Villa Boscogrande and many of the exterior scenes were filmed in Piazza Revolution, Piazza della Vittoria, Kalsa and Casa Professa. The famous dance scene was filmed at Palazzo Gangi, while the town of Donnafugata in Ciminna was recreated.
One of the films that made cinema history is “The Godfather”. The Corleone family, with obvious Sicilian origins, is set purely in New York, but in both The Godfather I and The Godfather III some heroes take a journey to the land from which their own bloodline was born: the Corleone. In fact, no scenes were filmed in Corleone, which is very recent compared to the film’s historical period. Sicilian scenes of The Godfather filmed in Savoca. Scenes are famous in Bar Vitelli and in the Church of S. Nicol, where the marriage between Michael Corleone and Apollonia is celebrated, in Forza D’Agrò and Motta Camastra.
The sites to which Inspector Montalbano was assigned are located in Sicily, in the province of Ragusa. Although Vegata is a fictional city, when Andrea Camilleri wrote the novels dedicated to Montalbano, he was thinking of Porto Empedocle, his hometown, and other nearby villages: Agrigento, Exile, and Sciacca. However, you will find the Montalbano places in southeast Sicily where the TV series was filmed. In Scicli you will learn about Mannara and the Vigata police station, in Punta Secca is the house of Montalbano, Piazza Vigata is in Ragusa and many other places admired on TV you will find in Modica, Ispica and nearby municipalities.
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