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The best movies filmed in Sicily


Sicily has been the backdrop for some of the most famous and acclaimed Italian and international films over the years, and many of the movies set in Italy take place in Sicily. From classic dramas to modern comedies, Sicily’s unique landscapes and rich cultural heritage have provided a backdrop for some of the most memorable scenes in cinema. The many movies set in Sicily gave the opportunity to some directors to emerge and be featured among the authors of the best movies filmed in Italy.


Some of the most famous films set in or shot in Sicily include The Godfather (1972), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the novel by Mario Puzo, Malèna (2000), directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and set in 1940s Sicily, and Cinema Paradiso (1988), which tells the story of a young boy’s love for cinema in a small Sicilian town. Other iconic films set in Sicily include The Leopard (1963), directed by Luchino Visconti and based on the novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, and Il Postino (1994), a tender coming-of-age story set against the stunning backdrop of the Aeolian Islands. These films and many others have helped to showcase the beauty and diversity of Sicily to a global audience.


It is one of the old Italian films directed by Luchino Visconti. This Italian classic movie is set in the fishing village of Acitrezza in Sicily and explores the struggles of a fishing community as they face exploitation by wealthy fish merchants. The film was shot on site in Sicily and features non-professional actors, giving it a raw and authentic feel. La Terra Trema was a seminal film in the neorealist movement, and its portrayal of the struggles of the working class has made it an enduring classic. For that time, it is considered one of the best films made in Italy, inspired by the Sicilian writer Giovanni Verga famous novel, I Malavoglia.

"THE LEOPARD" (1963)

Among the most romantic movies set in Italy, this is a classic film directed by Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti. The movie is an adaptation of Giuseppe Tomasi’s novel of the same name and tells the story of the aristocratic Salina family during the turbulent years of the Italian Risorgimento in the 19th century. The scene takes place when Garibaldi, on its way from Italy to Sicily, lands in Marsala to conquer the island. The film is set around Palermo against the backdrop of the unification of Italy, and follows the life of Prince Fabrizio Salina, a wealthy and powerful member of the Sicilian nobility, as he navigates the changing political and social landscape of the island, from the Kingdom of Sicily to Italy. The film is notable for its beautiful cinematography, which captures the grandeur of the Sicilian landscape and the opulence of the Salina family’s palazzo. The film also features a memorable performance by Burt Lancaster as Prince Fabrizio, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films in Italian cinema history. With its portrayal of the decline of the Sicilian aristocracy and the changing political landscape of the island, The Leopard provides a captivating look of Palermo at a pivotal moment in Italian and Sicilian history.


This is a classic American crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and based on the novel by Mario Puzo. The Godfather part 1 is set in New York City, but many of its key scenes were filmed in Sicily, where the Corleone family has roots. The film follows the patriarch of the Corleone family, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), as he navigates the world of organized crime in America. The Godfather 1972 themes of family, loyalty, and power have made it a timeless classic, and its iconic use of Sicily as a backdrop adds to its allure. The Saga continued with the Godfather 2, and the Godfather 3 featuring Sicily with its villages such as Corleone (filmed in Savoca and Forza d’Agrò, close to the city of Messina).


It is one of the best movies in Italian film by the famous Sicilian director Giuseppe Tornatore. The film is a nostalgic look back at the life of Salvatore between Italy and Sicily, a successful film director, as he reflects on his childhood and the influence that the local movie theater had on his life. The film was shot on the island of Sicily and features stunning shots of its landscapes and architecture. Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and has since become a beloved classic, touching the hearts of audiences around the world. No doubt, this is considered one of the most emotional movies made in Italy of all times, also thanks to the famous soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone.

"IL POSTINO" (1994)

This is an Italian film directed by Michael Radford. The film is set on the island of Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. It tells the story of Mario, a simple and uneducated man who becomes the postman for a small village and strikes up a friendship with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The film was shot on location on the Aeolian Islands and features stunning shots of the minor islands of Sicily landscapes and seascapes. Il Postino was a critical and commercial success, winning several awards and becoming a beloved classic.

"MALENA" (2000)

This famous Italian movie is a romantic drama directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film is set in a small Sicilian town during World War II and focuses on the relationship between a young boy, Renato, and the beautiful and mysterious Malèna (Monica Bellucci). The film was shot in several locations in Sicily and showcases the beauty of the island’s landscapes, cities, and villages. Malèna was well-received by audiences and critics alike, and Bellucci’s performance in the film was particularly praised, in one of the best Italian romance movies ever made.


An American heist film directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film is the sequel to Ocean’s Eleven and features an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. In Ocean’s Twelve, the team of thieves travels to Europe, where they plan and execute a series of high-stakes heists. One of the heists takes place in Sicily (Scopello), and the film features several scenes shot on location on the island. Ocean’s Twelve was a commercial success, and its visit to Sicily added a backdrop to the film’s glamour and sophistication.


Among the most recent movies set in Italy, The second season of the popular American The White Lotus Series has chosen Sicily as the destination for three groups of wealthy Americans travelling to Europe and choosing a luxurious stay at the Four Seasons in Taormina, a White Lotus Resort in Sicily. Among the most famous actors in the White Lotus 2, Jennifer Coolidge, Meghann Fahy, Tom Hollander, F Murray Abraham, Adam DiMarco, Jon Gries, Michael Imperioli, Aubrey Plaza, Theo James, Will Sharpe and Leo Woodall. The Sicily vacation of those demanding travelers intertwines with the locals and the events in Taormina, Noto and Palermo. The White Lotus shows marvelous places, hotels and corners of Sicily together with a great choice of Italian songs as the episodes soundtrack. This is a great representation of how Americans see Sicily and why a trip to Sicily can constitute the perfect holiday idea.


What are the best Sicily tour guides that you can have before and during your holiday in Sicily? Discover our digital Travel Guide Books that will make you holiday planning easy, fast, interactive and comprehensive. The best tours of Sicily will be at your hand with our Google Maps itineraries that we have prepared to make you trip to Sicily fun and hassle-free.


Should you want to be guided by a true local instead, accompanying you in the discovery of all the Sicilian secrets you could ever imagine, with our bespoke travel planning service we can arrange the best sicily tours for you. We know how difficult it can be to find the tours of Sicily that match exactly what you are looking for. The Sicily guided tours we recommend to you are not prepackaged, but developed together with you, for instance around the themes of cinema, culture, food, nature, sport and so forth. Contact us for more info and we will be providing many ideas for Sicily holiday tours customized around your preferences.

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