Outstanding White Lotus Filming locations you can visit in Italy
August 24, 2023
Two popular television shows played an important role in boosting vacations to Italy: Season 2 of The White Lotus and Season 3 of Succession. The White Lotus was entirely filmed on the island of Sicily, specifically in Taormina. While parts of Season 3 of Succession were filmed amongst the gorgeous hills of the Val d’Orcia region in Tuscany. Both shows demonstrate what it means to take a vacation in Italy: gorgeous sceneries, luxurious palazzos, friendly locals, interesting history, vibrant culture and of course- amazing Mediterranean cuisine. I’m a big fan of The White Lotus show and would love to take you through five outstanding White Lotus Filming locations in Italy that you can visit (Season two).
What is The White Lotus about?
Chances are that you’ve heard of HBO‘s The White Lotus television series. If not, I will quickly introduce it here:
The White Lotus is a drama-comedy television series that revolves around the lives of guests and staff at a fictional luxury resort over the course of a week. Every episode follows the dramatic and sometimes sinister events connected to the fictional resort. Every season begins with a death. The series is known for its sharp social commentary, character development and dark humor, as it takes a critical look at issues of class, race and wealth in society.
A short introduction to Sicily, Italy
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and a region known for its history, culture, and natural beauty, including the iconic Mount Etna. The island’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of Mediterranean flavors, offering delicious dishes like arancini, cannoli and pasta (with fresh seafood).
Five outstanding White Lotus Filming locations in Italy
Below I will take you through five outstanding White Lotus Filming locations in Italy including San Vito Lo Capo, Cefalù, Noto, Palermo and Scropello:
1. San Vito Lo Capo – The Real-Life White Lotus Resort
The heart of The White Lotus is the outstanding resort where guests unravel their (funny) stories. The White Lotus resort in Sicily is located in San Vito Lo Capo. This beach town boasts crystal-clear waters, pretty beaches and stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s the perfect place to stroll along the beach, enjoy some water sports or simply relax under the Mediterranean sun.
To be precise, San Domenico Palace, the Four Seasons Hotel was the resort where season 2 of The White Lotus was filmed. It’s a beautiful resort situated high on the rocks on Sicily’s north east coast. The resort consists of 111 beautiful furnished rooms and suites. It also features a Michelin-starred restaurant, a spa, ancient gardens and an outdoor infinity pool, that offers breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. If you can’t afford to stay at the resort itself, you can capture the essence of the series by waking around in this charming Sicilian town and indulging yourself in the delicious Sicilian cuisine. Another popular thing to do is hiking the nearby Zingaro Nature Reserve.
2. Cefalù – The Opening Scene and Mysterious Cave
The opening scene of Season two was filmed on the Lido di Cefalù beach of Cefalù, up on the northern coast of Sicily and a 1-hour drive from Palermo. Here, Daphne (Meghann Fahy) finds a body floating in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
Cefalù is a picturesque coastal town known for its stunning beaches, historic charm and breathtaking landscapes. The iconic Norman Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Piazza Marina are two of the most fascinating attractions in Cefalù.
Although the show didn’t disclose the exact filming location of the mysterious cave in season two, Grotta dell’Olio is believed to be the cave from some amazing scenes. This sea cave is known for its blue waters and unique rock formations. You can access the cave by swimming, canoe or guided boat that are usually waiting in front of the cave. In the cave you have the opportunity to climb a small rock so that you can admire everything in peace.
Tip: If you decide to visit Cefalù, I also recommend visiting the Madonie National Park or hiking up La Rocca
3. Noto – A beautiful City and Villa Elena
Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) take a day trip to Noto in season two. Noto is located in the south-east of Sicily and perhaps the second best known city of the island. It’s well-known for its spectacular Baroque architecture and limestone piazzas. Daphne and Harper spend an afternoon shopping around Piazza del Municipio. This is a baroque town square surrounded by centuries-old palazzos that now house boutiques and cafes, as well as the Noto Cathedral. Some shots in the third episode also show two of Noto’s most iconic locations: the Cathedral of San Nicolò and Palazzo Ducezio, both World Heritage Sites.
In the fifth episode of the series, you can see the villa of Quentin and his friends in Palermo. The location used is the beautiful Villa Elena, which is actually just outside the town of Noto. It’s a former 17th century convent that interior designer Jacques Garcia bought and renovated. It is possible to stay in Villa Elena or in one of the other three rooms.
4. Palermo – Villa Tasca and The Teatro Massimo
After spending the day in Noto, Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Harper (Aubrey Plaza) spend the night in a palazzo (Villa Tasca) in Palermo. This palazzo is amazing and consists of four ensuite bedrooms, toweringly tall ceilings and windows, beautiful Italian art, stunning rugs, marble bathrooms and gardens with a swimming pool. If you’d like to experience this super luxurious palazzo yourself, you can book for a minimum stay of 3 nights at Villa Tasca.
Palermo itself offers a rich blend of history, architecture, and cuisine. In season two, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) attends a performance at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. This theater is one of the most beautiful in Sicily. Unfortunately, the Teatro Massimo was not available at the time of filming, so it only appears from the outside. The Teatro Vincenzo Bellini in Catania, another beautiful building worth seeing, was used for the interior scenes.
I recommend strolling through Palermo’s historic streets, visiting the vibrant markets and trying some Sicilian dishes at local restaurants. Visiting Palermo provides a good contrast to the show’s luxurious resort life and you’ll find yourself immersed in the authentic Sicilian way of life.
5. Scopello – Exploring Natural Beauty
Scopello, a small village on the northwest coast of Sicily, is another filming location for The White Lotus. The rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches provide the perfect backdrop for the show’s outdoor scenes.
Be sure to visit the Faraglioni di Scopello, a beautiful sea with some rocks. The entrance ticket is around 15 EUR per person and contains a guided tour of the little tuna fishing museum. There are some little boutiques with toilets, drinks and snacks. I recommend going by boat to Faraglioni di Scopello to avoid the crowds on the beach and parking costs for your car.
Hiking trails in the Zingaro Nature Reserve offer a chance to explore the stunning scenery featured in the show. Here, you can find a nature trail that goes from Castellammare del golfo to San vito lo capo. Every certain kilometer you can go down to one of the beaches and cool off. Please note that these beaches are extremely busy in July and August. The water is fantastic and full of marine flora and fauna. I recommend to visit early, because it gets hot during the day and you have some walking to be done. Make sure to bring hiking shoes, water, sunscreen and food. Parking is possible, expect to pay around 10 EUR for 1 day.
More White Lotus Filming Locations
Some other White Lotus Filming locations that are worth to visit in Italy:
Planeta Sciaranuova, Castiglione di Sicilia
Isola Bella, Taormina
La Cambusa, Giardini Naxos
Greek Theatre of Taormina
Castello degli Schiavi, Fiumefreddo
Some practical tips for visiting Sicily, Italy
Here are some practical tips for visiting Sicily, Italy:
Timing and Weather: Sicily enjoys a Mediterranean climate, so the best time to visit is during the spring (April to June) or the fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasantly warm and the crowds are smaller.
Transportation: Renting a car is a convenient way to explore the island, as public transportation can be limited in some areas. However, be prepared for narrow and winding roads, especially in the countryside.
Cuisine: Try local specialties like arancini (rice balls), pasta alla norma, pasta con le sarde, cannoli, granita and fresh seafood.
Language: While Italian is the official language, many Sicilians also speak Sicilian. It’s helpful to learn a few basic Italian phrases or have a translation app handy.
Cash: While credit cards are widely accepted, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially in smaller towns and markets.
Reservations: During peak tourist seasons, it’s a good idea to make reservations for accommodations and popular restaurants in advance to avoid disappointment.
Beach Etiquette: When visiting the beaches, remember that many areas have both public and private sections. Be prepared to pay a fee for access to certain private beach clubs with amenities.
Adapters: Sicily uses the Europlug Type C and Type F sockets, so bring the appropriate power adapters if needed.
By visiting these filming locations in Sicily, you can immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Italy that made the White Lotus so captivating. As you plan your visit, keep in mind the practical tips mentioned to make the most of your journey. Whether you’re a fan of the White Lotus or simply are seeking a vacation in Italy, I am sure that Sicily will leave you with lasting memories of la dolce vita.
If you have any questions about the above mentioned information, please let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to help you. Safe travels!