Sicily, One Big Movie Set 


 
Al Pacino filmed on location at Bar Vitelli, Savoca north of Taormina in  The Godfather

Al Pacino filmed on location at Bar Vitelli, Savoca north of Taormina in The Godfather

 

Lights, Camera, ACTION...

Breath-taking seascapes, towering mountains, erupting volcanoes, Arcadian pastures, age-old mountain villages, burnished wheat fields, bustling towns, Greek theatres, ancient traditions and paradisiacal beaches, just some of the reasons why so many location managers and directors choose to film in Sicily. 

Taormina Greek Roman Theatre has been the setting of the annual TaoFilm Festival for over 60 years. Below some of the movies which had International acclamation starting from Rossellini and Visconti’s Italian neorealist film.

  • Roberto Rossellini filmed Stromboli, Land of God on one of the Aeolian Islands and also found the time to have an affair with the film’s star, Ingrid Bergman
  • At the same time, Rossellini’s ex fiancée and acclaimed actress Anna Magnani was on the nearby Aeolian Islands filming Vulcano directed by William Dieterle
  • Visconti could hardly keep away from the island, first filming La Terra Trema in Aci Trezza and large sections of The Leopard in Palermo and its surrounding area 
  • If you have ever seen Tornatore’s wonderfully gentle film Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, you might have noticed, amongst other places, Palazzo Adriano and Cefalù
  • The lovely Il Postino, starring Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret and Maria Grazia Cucinotta, was made partly on Salina another of the Aeolian Islands
  • Extensive parts of Godfather II and III were filmed in Forza d'Agro, Savoca, Taormina, at il Castello degli Schiavi and in and around Palermo, most notably the dramatic final scenes at the Teatro Massimo
  • Roberto Benigni spent time in Taormina making Il Piccolo Diavolo and Palermo for the hilarious movie Johnny Stecchino
  • Luc Besson’s cult movie of the late eighties The Big Blue was partly set at Capotaormina and ay the San Domenico Hotel in Taormina
  • Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith used footage of Mount Etna’s 2002 eruption to help out with special effects
  • Woody Allen decided that Taormina’s Greek-Roman theatre was the perfect setting for the Greek chorus and Cassandra in Mighty Aphrodite
  • One of the final scenes of Ocean’s 12, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney, was filmed at the Tonnara in Scopello 
  • Tornatore filmed Malena with Monica Bellucci in Noto, Syracuse and Taormina
 
Hotel Capotaormina used as a location base for Luc Bresson's cult movie,  The Big Blue

Hotel Capotaormina used as a location base for Luc Bresson's cult movie, The Big Blue