8 Sicily Movies to watch before your Trip

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Films to inspire your Sicily Holidays

Sicily – a part of Italy and yet it feels like a different country.  

The volcanoes, Mt. Etna and Stromboli, provide beautiful backdrops for these Sicilian films featuring a culture of theatre and Italian delicacies (I am talking about that cannoli) and a rich history including thriving Greek towns and Norman kingdoms.  The landscapes range from beaches, volcanoes, forest and deserts.

These Sicilian films feature the unique culture, traditions and customs that define this island off the coast of Italy and will inspire your Sicily holidays.

When exiled Cuban poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) arrives on a tiny Italian isle, there’s so much new mail that Mario (Massimo Troisi), an unemployed, uneducated layabout, is hired as a postman. His job is simply to deliver Neruda’s daily mail. Mario soon becomes a student of the poet, influenced by Neruda’s political views and learning the art of poetry to woo a local barmaid (Maria Grazia Cucinotta). A firm friendship develops, and the postman turns into a changed man as he writes his own poetry and tells about the struggles of the working-class villagers.Sicily location: Aeolian Islands, just off the northeast coast of Sicily.

2

Cinema Paradiso is the story of a young boy that falls in love with film. Salvatore di Vita (played by numerous actors) returns to his hometown in Sicily after many years of living in Rome. He has received word that a friend, Alfredo, has died. Alfredo was the owner of the local cinema, where Salvatore spent much of his childhood. The two bonded over their love of films and Salvatore eventually becomes a projectionist for the movie house.

Sicily Location: Bagheria, right outside Palermo

3

The Godfather features Marlon Brando and Al Pacino star as powerful leaders of an Italian-American crime family in this film spanning the years of 1945-1955. It captures the transformation of Michael Corleone (Pacino) from family outsider to Mafia boss. Since the roots of this story originate in Sicily, there are a variety of notable scenes over the duration of trilogy that illustrate astonishing Sicilian towns.Sicily locations: Corleone, Sicily, was too developed even in the early 70s to be used for filming. The Sicilian towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agro outside of Taormina were used instead.

4

The second installment of the “Oceans” series, following the infamous members of the “Ocean’s Eleven” crew after their Las Vegas casino heist in the first film. The owner of three robbed Vegas casinos, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), confronts each member of the team, demanding all the money back within two weeks. Coming up short, the group (Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts, Zeta-Jones, etc.) stage another heist to pay off the debt, and this time it’s in Europe. The movie was filmed in several locations around the world. Italy locations include:Sicily Locations: Scopello, Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani. The stars stayed in Trapani while in Sicily and encountered & mingled with the local Cosa Nostra (Sicilian mob)Rome Location: Hotel Exedra, Grand Hotel Plaza, Trevi Fountain, Villa Borghese and Via Condotti, Tre Scalini cafe, Spanish StepsLake Como Location: George Clooney’s Villa Erba in Laglio

5

Roberto Benigni stars and directs in this Italian film preceding his Oscar winning Life is Beautiful. Benigni’s character, Dante, is an unsuccessful man who drives a school bus for a living. One night his luck is transformed and he falls desperately in love with a woman named Maria, played by Nicoletta Braschi (his wife in real life). This comedy follows the adventures of Benigni as he impersonates a famous mobster, Johnny Stecchino.Sicily Locations: Taormina, Catania, Palermo

6

Karin, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prison camp. But she cannot get used to the tough life in Antonio’s volcano-threatened village, Stromboli.Sicily Location: Roberto Rossellini filmed this classic on the Eolian Islands. This movie also marked the beginning of Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman’s highly publicized affair.

7

In 1941, Renato was 13 years old and although the world was at war, nothing ever happened in this sleepy village in Sicily. Until the day he discovered something that would change his life forever… Malèna, the beautiful young war widow who was the obsession of every man and the envy of every woman. Because of her, Renato will come to learn all of life’s lessons and find himself in places he never could have imagined

Sicily locations: Syracuse, Messina, Taormina, Trapani

8

The Leopard or Il Gattopardo in Italian, starring Burt Lancaster, is a classic of Italian literature, written by a nobleman about his family’s decline. The story centers on a wealthy noble family in 1860’s Palermo. The family has palaces, servants and a large social circle of other noble families. Times change, and the island is caught up in the Risorgiamento or the unification of Italy into a modern state. Noble families are swept aside in the revolution in favor of a modern, unified country.Sicily Locations: Filmed in Palermo including Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi, Piazza Croce dei Vespri for the grand ball room scene. Several towns in the region were also used including Ciminna and the family mansion is the gorgeous palazzo of Villa Boscogrande, Via Tommaso Natale 91, in Mondello, a seaside resort north of Palermo.

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