Silver screen inspirations: 5 movies and TV series to inspire your next Sicilian trip

Agosto 21, 2023 - Absolute Sicilia

"Don't give in to nostalgia" 
ALFREDO, CINEMA PARADISO

Sicily, with its rich culture, history, and natural beauty, has long been a source of inspiration for filmmakers and TV producers. Its idyllic villages, bustling markets, and historic landmarks provide the perfect backdrop for a myriad of stories - stories that can transport us to this enchanting Mediterranean island, even from the comfort of our living rooms. Here, we unravel five cinematic gems - movies and TV series that not only entertain but also offer a captivating lens into Sicily’s soul, inspiring your next journey to this Italian paradise.

Sicilian cinema and its impact on Italian and international cinema

Sicilian cinema has had a profound influence on both Italian and international film industries. Rooted in the island's rich history, cultural traditions, and breathtaking landscapes, Sicilian cinema has brought forward unique narratives and aesthetic sensibilities that have resonated with audiences worldwide. Renowned directors such as Giuseppe Tornatore and Luca Guadagnino, and celebrated actors like Al Pacino, whose parents were both from Sicily, have played significant roles in shaping the portrayal of Sicily and its culture on the global stage. This vibrant industry continues to inspire and captivate, contributing significantly to the world's cinematic landscape.

Let’s check together some of the most famous movies about Sicily.

Divorce Italian Style (1961)

"Divorce Italian Style" is a dark comedy directed by Pietro Germi. This film offers a satirical glimpse into Sicilian life in the 1960s, focusing on an impoverished Sicilian nobleman who hatches a macabre plan to get out of his marriage. Shot in the baroque town of Ispica, this classic Italian film offers an evocative portrayal of Sicilian social mores and traditions, while also showcasing the region's stunning architecture and landscapes. Its rich blend of comedy, drama, and cultural commentary will surely inspire a deeper exploration of Sicilian culture on your trip.

The Godfather Trilogy (1972, 1974, 1990)

Francis Ford Coppola's epic trilogy, "The Godfather," needs no introduction. These films, embedded in the consciousness of popular culture, vividly portray the life of a Sicilian-American Mafia family. Beyond the intricate plot, they showcase stunning Sicilian settings. The scenes shot in the town of Savoca, with its rustic charm and panoramic views, and the grandiose Baroque architecture of Palermo, will entice you to explore these locations in person and walk in the footsteps of the Corleones in a Godfather Tour.

Inspector Montalbano (1999 - ongoing)

Based on Andrea Camilleri's novels, "Inspector Montalbano" is a crime drama series that offers a fascinating blend of suspense, humor, and Sicilian charm. The titular character's investigations take viewers on a scenic journey across the southeastern part of the island. The historic town of Ragusa, with its Baroque buildings and sun-drenched streets, serves as the series' primary location. The delectable Sicilian dishes featured in the series might also inspire some culinary adventures during your trip.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

No list of films about Sicily would be complete without Giuseppe Tornatore's Academy Award-winning masterpiece, “Cinema Paradiso." Set in the fictional town of Giancaldo, this heartwarming tale of friendship, love, and cinema, is a beautiful tribute to post-World War II Sicily. The movie's enchanting Sicilian landscapes, from charming piazzas to azure seas, serve as a testament to the island's innate beauty and will undoubtedly stir up a desire to experience the same vistas.

Malèna (2000)

Another Giuseppe Tornatore’s cinematic spectacle, "Malèna", portrays the life of a beautiful war widow in a small Sicilian town during World War II. The movie is not just a poignant narrative of longing and innocence but a visual love letter to Sicily. The captivating scenes, filmed in the idyllic coastal town of Syracuse and the bustling city of Messina, beautifully depict Sicily's timeless charm and might lead you to these stunning locales.

Movies and TV series have the incredible ability to transport us to different worlds, ignite our imaginations, and inspire us to explore new places. These cinematic creations, each deeply connected to Sicily, offer a vivid taste of the island’s rich history, distinctive culture, and captivating landscapes. They illustrate the magic that awaits in Sicily, inviting you to experience the island's charm firsthand. So, as you plan your next Sicilian adventure, let these films and TV series be your guide, stirring your wanderlust and leading you to the captivating corners of this Mediterranean jewel.
After all, in the words of Cinema Paradiso’s Alfredo, “Life isn't like in the movies. Life is much harder.” But, fortunately, choosing your next travel destination doesn’t have to be.

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