All Eyes on Italy – Filming locations of Succession, The Morning Show, House of Gucci and now White Lotus
[UPDATE The White Lotus season two was filmed at the Four Seasons at San Domenico Palace (above), Taormina on the Italian island of Sicily. The hotel is set in a 14 century former convent overlooking the Ionian sea, Mount Etna and a Greek amphitheatre. The setting for the HBO series follows on from a glut of Italian locations featuring in American productions last year. For more read on. ]
Italy must have been crawling with famous actors and film crews this year. From television series Succession and The Morning Show to the House of Gucci movie, Italy was the setting for several scenes on the small and big screens. While you may have vicariously been under the Tuscan sun and on a Roman holiday by watching this winter, here are the locations you can visit when restrictions are finally lifted.
The penultimate episode of HBO’s Succession season three sees the super rich Roy family on who the show centres, travel from New York to Italy. The aptly named Emily FitzRoy founder of exclusive travel company Bellini was enlisted to find locations.
Firstly in Tuscany, or Chiantishire as the episode is called – the region’s portmanteau nickname in the 1990s referencing the red wine and the English home county “shires”. Logan Roy’s (Brian Cox) ex-wife and Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman’s (Kieran Culkin) mother, Caroline Collingwood (Harriet Walter), gets re married and the setting is two private estates that are available to rent in real life.
La Foce between Florence and Rome and overlooking the bucolic Val d’Orcia is where Caroline’s al fresco drinks party takes place. These terraced, formal gardens are open to visitors on certain days from May to November.
And the yellow hued Villa La Foce is where most of the Roy family stay (and is available to rent from 35,000 euros a week FitzRoy tells me). The estranged Kendall and his children stay at one of the estate’s other properties, Belvedere Piccolo, which includes *that* swimming pool which can be rented at around 1,650 euros a week.
The wedding takes place at 17th century, Villa Cetinale near Siena. The 13 bedroom Baroque style villa is available to rent also from 35,000 euros a week FitzRoy says. The spectacular gardens, where the reception takes place, are also open to visitors by appointment only when the villa is not let.
Caroline’s “bachelorette party” takes place in the pretty hilltop, walled town of Cortona. About an hour’s drive away in Pienza, the Roy siblings are filmed meeting at La Terrazza del Chiostro restaurant where the panoramic views from the terrace are main draw.
Tech tycoon Lukas Matsson’s (Alexander Skarsgard) luxurious lair is Villa La Cassinella on the western shore of Lake Como. Logan and Roman arrive by helicopter at the villa’s private landing pad and then take a boat across the lake to Cassinella. “They arrived as any guest would, you cannot arrive by car – the only other alternative is by sea plane,” FitzRoy tells me. Although it costs upwards of 130,000 euros a week to rent, Fitzroy says the property gets booked up years in advance.
Filming also took place along this stretch of Lake Como for Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci movie. Villa Balbiano built in the 16th century stands in for Aldo Gucci’s (Al Pacino) house. Fast forward to the 21st century and the waterside villa is available for private rental at 175,000 Euros per week. Inside are original frescoes, museum worthy antiques and six suites designed by fashionable hotel designer Jacques Garcia.
Don’t look for the villa from Apple TV+’s The Morning Show here though. In the second season shamed anchorman Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is seen hiding out in a grand villa that appears to be on the shores of Lake Como where Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) tracks him down. Filming actually took place at a private school in California however with drone shots of Lake Como added in.
In the House of Gucci, Rodolfo’s (Jeremy Irons) imagined home is the striking 1930s Villa Necchi Campiglio. Set in private gardens in the centre of Milan it is now a museum.
On an early date in the film, Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) and Patrizia Reggiana (Lady Gaga) visit the gloriously ornate Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11 shopping arcade between the Duomo and Teatro alla Scala. The restaurant they pass there, Savini, which Reggiana says is “too expensive” has been a Milanese stalwart for composers and opera singers since 1867. When I visited a few years ago there was a quaintly named “Lunch for Ladies in Shopping” set menu and Savini’s website currently states, “an elegant dress code is appreciated”.
Both Pacino and Gaga’s characters visit the real life Gucci store on Via Condotti, near the Spanish Steps, which is packed with designer boutiques. The Guccis opened their first shop outside their native Florence in Rome although the current day boutique is a few doors down from the original.
Also in Rome, the picturesque Church of Santa Maria in Portico in Campitelli is where the Maurizio and Patrizia wedding was filmed although in reality the couple were married in Milan.
In the film Maurizio evades the police on his motorbike and crosses over the snowy Swiss border to St Moritz. Filming actually took place in the Italian Alps, at the Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Gressoney-La-Trinite in the Aosta Valley. Although scenic, the resorts are far less glitzy than St Moritz and the runs are for advanced skiers only being mainly red and black as well as off-piste.
Incidentally, founder of the fashion house, Guccio Gucci, was once a bell boy at The Savoy in London. Author of the book House of Gucci Sara Gay Forden says Guccio’s experience of handling The Savoy guests’ expensive luggage inspired him to create the Gucci fashion brand. The Savoy has temporarily restyled its Royal Suite in homage to the Gucci house.
[This post was originally posted in January 2022.]