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Have you just finished watching The White Lotus 2 and are curious about the show’s locations in Sicily? Want to spend at least one night in the resort featured in the second season? This guide is for you. Find out which amazing villas the protagonists stayed in, which beaches they bathed in, and which wineries they visited.
The White Lotus 2 locations in Taormina
The vast majority of scenes in The White Lotus 2 were shot in Taormina. In fact, this little Mediterranean gem, nestled between the Strait of Messina and Mount Etna, is where the fictional White Lotus Resort is located. The director and cinematographer also did a great job enriching each episode with glimpses of Corso Umberto, Piazza IX Aprile and the Castelmola Cathedral.
San Domenico Palace Hotel
We begin this guide to the locations of The White Lotus 2 with what is the centerpiece of the entire series, and that is the hotel. It is the San Domenico Palace, a 16th century convent that was converted into a hotel in the late 19th century. Oscar Wilde, Guy de Maupassant and DH Lawrence stayed here in the days of the Grand Tour, and in the 1950s all the biggest Hollywood stars stayed here. Among them, to name but a few: Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In 2019, the hotel was purchased by the Four Seasons chain and finally reopened to the public after a two-year renovation. Architect Valentina Pisani was responsible for the restyling of the 111 rooms and all common areas, while the Italian gardens were redesigned by landscape architect Marco Bay. The San Domenico Palace is also home to a Michelin-starred restaurant run by chef Massimo Mantarro.
Greek Theater of Taormina
In the second episode, entitled Italian Dream, the Di Grasso family decides to explore Taormina and they invite Portia to join them. Their tour can only begin with the most famous monument: the Ancient Theater. Built by the Greeks in the 3rd century B.C., it was later transformed into an amphitheater during the Roman Empire. With the fall of the Empire, the monument was completely abandoned until its rediscovery in the period of the Grand Tour. Since the 1950s, Taormina’s Teatro Antico has been used as an open-air stage for various forms of entertainment, such as symphony concerts, classical plays and Greek tragedies, operas and ballets. From Taormina’s Teatro Antico you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views in all of Sicily. The Strait of Messina, Capo Sant’Andrea and Mount Etna create a breathtaking view.
In one of the most ambiguous scenes in The White Lotus 2, Daphne invites Harper to take a walk on Isola Bella. This is one of the most picturesque spots in Taormina and one of the most famous beaches in Sicily. A thin strip of sand connects the mainland to this small island, which is easily accessible on foot. In 1890 it was bought by Lady Florence Trevelyan, an English noblewoman and wife of the mayor of Taormina, Salvatore Cacciola. The couple embellished the island, built a small house and added very rare plants and trees. Since 1990, Isola Bella has been owned by the Region of Sicily and can be visited every day, except Monday, from 9 a.m. to one hour before sunset.
In addition to the San Domenico Palace, there is another hotel that is featured in the second season of The White Lotus. In the fourth episode, titled In the Sandbox, Mia joins Lucia on the beach by going through a small tunnel carved into the rock. What we see is the private beach of the Unahotels Capotaormina. Another location of this Una Group hotel was also used in the series. The beach club that appears in the same episode is actually the restaurant of the hotel Le Grand Bleu.
The White Lotus 2’s other locations in Taormina
Throughout the series we also see many other views of Taormina, starting with Corso Umberto, where Lucia often walks with Mia or has ice cream with Albie. Other shots show the Piazza IX aprile, which has one of the most beautiful views of Taormina, and the nearby Porta di Mezzo or Clock Tower. The café where Valentina stops for coffee every morning is the Bam Bar, an absolutely recommended stop where she enjoys delicious granitas. In the sequence of Ethan’s morning jog in the first episode, several corners of Castelmola are seen. It is a small village above Taormina that has been named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Among the various places of interest, you can see the square where the Cathedral of Castelmola and the famous Bar Vitelli are located.
The locations in Noto of The White Lotus 2
The White Lotus 2 location scouting tour in Sicily now takes us to Noto. The art historian Cesare Brandi called it the “Garden of Stone” and when we visit it, we immediately understand why. In fact, the walk along the main street is a succession of stone masterpieces created when the city was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1683. In 2002, UNESCO declared sixteen monuments in Noto a World Heritage Site and included them in the itinerary of the Late Baroque Towns of the Val Di Noto.
In the fifth episode of the series, Tanya, left alone in Taormina by her husband Greg, decides to follow Quentin and his friends to their villa in Palermo. The location used is the beautiful Villa Elena, which is actually just outside the town of Noto. It is a former 17th century convent that interior designer Jacques Garcia bought and renovated. Watching the episodes, it is immediately apparent that the home’s furnishings have a special charm. In fact, Garcia was inspired by the Baroque decor of the Pallavicini Rospigliosi, Doria Pamphilj and Colonna palaces in Rome. Inside you will find François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter mahogany chairs, a magnificent Caltagirone ceramic fireplace, tapestries and even a Mary Magdalene by the French painter Ingres. If desired, it is possible to stay in Villa Elena or in one of the other three rooms provided by Jacques Garcia. Prices can be found on the official website.
Church of San Francesco
In the episode Bull Elephants, Harper and Daphne decide to visit Noto. After settling into a beautiful villa and swimming in the pool, the two girls move into town. The scenes in which Harper is convinced that she has the eyes of all the male inhabitants of Noto on her take place on the steps of the church of San Francesco. Built between 1704 and 1745, it is one of the monuments included in the World Heritage List. The staircase is the most characteristic element of this church. It has three flights, the lowest of which was added in 1840, when the street level was lowered by about two meters. Inside there are beautiful stuccoes, tapestries and three 19th century memorials.
The White Lotus 2’s other locations in Noto
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. The Cathedral of Noto was built in the first half of the 18th century, only to collapse in 1996. After seven years of work, the church has been completely restored to its original appearance. More than 100,000 blocks of stone were used. The interior, however, is not a reproduction of the old church. Through an international competition, contemporary artists were selected to work on the frescoes, stained glass windows and furnishings. Among them are Oleg Supereco, Bruno d’Arcevia and Giuseppe Ducrot. Palazzo Ducezio is the seat of Noto’s town hall. Inside is the splendid Salone degli Specchi (Hall of Mirrors), an oval room decorated with sumptuous mirrors, stucco and gold in the style of Louis XV.
The locations in Cefalù of The White Lotus 2
Following the events of the protagonists, the next stop to discover the locations of The White Lotus 2 will be Cefalù. It is a small town by the sea, an hour’s drive from Palermo. Its magnificent cathedral is certainly the most famous monument to see, but it is certainly not the only one. It is no coincidence that Cefalù is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.
Lido di Cefalù beach
It may seem strange, but most of the scenes shot on the beach, like the one that opens the first episode, were shot more than 200 kilometers away from Taormina. What you see is actually the Lido di Cefalù beach. In fact, if you look closely, in the background you can see the Cathedral of Cefalù and the Rocca that dominates the whole city. Director Mark White, due to the requirements of the movie, preferred to use a much larger beach than the one in Taormina. The Lido di Cefalù beach is sandy, about 1.5 kilometers long, with a shallow bottom in the first section and a gradual slope. The beach of Isola Bella, on the other hand, is made up mainly of pebbles, is much smaller and there are some rocks on the seabed that come up to the surface. Nevertheless, both are fantastic beaches and both deserve to be enjoyed.
Piazza Marina is definitely one of the most fascinating views of Cefalu. In the space of a few meters a small world is enclosed. The sea, the small beach, the old fishermen’s houses and the ancient Megalithic Walls create a magical environment. Enjoy it early in the morning when no one is around. Sit on a bench and watch the sea and a feeling of peace will come over you. If you are not an early riser, you can do what Jack and Portia do. Enjoy an ice cream or a beer, perhaps at sunset, and reflect on the beauty of this planet.
Another of the monuments seen in the episodes filmed in Cefalù is its magnificent cathedral. It is another of the monuments in Sicily that UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site, in this case within the itinerary: Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale. The façade of the church is characterized by two large square towers that symbolize the temporal power of the crown and the spiritual power of the church. If the exterior impresses you, once you enter, you will be enchanted. The sanctuary is completely covered with golden mosaics made by Byzantine artisans in the 12th century. If you look closely at the figure of Christ, you will notice that it has typical Sicilian features. Blond hair like the Normans, but thick black beard and eyebrows like the Arabs, straight nose and thin lips like the Greeks. The visit to the Cathedral of Cefalù is free, but with a separate ticket you can also visit the magnificent cloister, the cathedral treasury and climb the towers and roofs of the church.
The other locations in Sicily of The White Lotus 2
If you want to take a complete tour of The White Lotus 2’s locations in Sicily, there are still a few key locations missing. Following the events of the protagonists, you will arrive in Palermo, among historic villas and theaters, and then stop at an iconic location, also from The Godfather trilogy.
The other historic Sicilian villa featured in The White Lotus 2 is Villa Tasca. In the third episode, Harper and Daphne take a trip to Noto and end up staying in a beautiful villa. Actually, the location is not in the baroque city, but in Palermo. Built in the mid-16th century, Villa Tasca is a Sicilian villa steeped in history. In 1881, the composer Wagner wrote the third act of “Parsifal” here. The building has two levels and is surrounded by an 8-hectare park full of citrus groves and ancient trees. The interiors are characterized by 18th century majolica tiles and frescoes. The frescoes depict rock scenes, which are also used in the show’s theme song. Villa Tasca is open to groups of 20 or more people. The cost is €60 and includes: a coffee break, a tour of the gardens and a tour of the interior.
The Teatro Massimo in Palermo and the Teatro Vincenzo Bellini in Catania
In the episode That’s Amore, Tanya attends a performance of the opera Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. This theater, one of the most beautiful in Sicily, is where the final part of The Godfather Part 3 was filmed. A desperate Michael Corleone screams on the steps of the theater, one of the most famous screams in movie history. Perhaps that is why director Michael White would have loved to shoot the entire performance section of the opera here. 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 jewel worth seeing, was used for the interior scenes.
Castello degli Schiavi
Dominic and Bert Di Grado are two fans of the Godfather trilogy. So their trip to Sicily becomes a unique opportunity to see live one of the locations of Francis Ford Coppola’s trilogy: the Castello degli Schiavi, a noble residence located in Fiumefreddo, a small town half an hour’s drive from Taormina. In the movies, it is a house owned by the Corleone family. This is where Michael will move in with Apollonia after his marriage and where he will teach her to drive. The villa is owned by the Platania family and has been used several times as a set. It appears in the movie Porcile by Pier Paolo Pasolini and in the music videos Shock In My Town by Franco Battiato and Violet Hill by Coldplay. Visits to the Castello degli Schiavi must be arranged by e-mail with the owner. It lasts one hour and costs 25 euros.
Giardini Naxos Beach
Some scenes of The White Lotus 2 were also filmed on the beach of Giardini Naxos, which is located a few kilometers from the beach of Isola Bella. Giardini Naxos is one of the first colonies founded by the Greeks in Sicily. In addition to its beautiful beaches, it is worth a visit for its archaeological park and the Castle of Schisò. There are also several modern installations along the waterfront that recall the Greek world. In the beautiful bay of Giardini Naxos, the sequence of the arrival by boat of the new guests of the Palace of San Domenico was filmed. The scenes with Ethan and Cameron on jet skis were also filmed here.
Planeta’s Sciaranuova Estate
The second season of The White Lotus was also the perfect showcase for one of the most interesting wineries in all of Sicily. In recent years, a number of wineries have sprung up on the slopes of Mount Etna, taking advantage of the volcanic soil and unique microclimate of the area. If you are a wine lover, you should include at least one stop at one of these wineries in your itinerary. The one where scenes from the fifth episode, That’s Amore, were filmed is Planeta’s Sciaranuova winery. It is located in Castiglione di Sicilia, a small village at the foot of the volcano that is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. The winery organizes tastings of different types of wines and local products combined with experiences, all of which can be viewed on their website.