Sicily starring in The White Lotus

When the location becomes the star.

The second season of The White Lotus, set entirely in Sicily, has captivated audiences worldwide. Taormina, Noto, Cefalù, and various other locations on the island don’t just serve as backdrops for the episodes, they become as popular as the stars of the series.

Immediately after the season finale, Sicily experienced a surge in foreign tourist arrivals, particularly from the United Kingdom and the United States. The significant increase led to discussions of a genuine ‘White Lotus Effect’.
While the locations featured as filming locations in the series are undoubtedly worth exploring, they may not be easy to identify to the untrained eye. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of these locations to make it easier for you to decide which ones to include in your upcoming itinerary.

Taormina and surroundings

Let’s start our journey from Taormina, the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea”, and the main setting of the series. The town, which needs no introduction, reveals itself in all its beauty. The Ancient Theatre, Isola Bella, the main square, and the alleys of the old town, with its restaurants and bars, the magnificent view of the sea and Mount Etna: every corner is worth visiting, both by land and by sea.

Not far from Taormina, is the medieval village of Castelmola, perched on top of a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, which was seen on several occasions in the series. In one of the episodes, Dominic and Bert decide to visit the locations of “The Godfather”: the historic Bar Vitelli in Savoca and the Castello degli Schiavi in Fiumefreddo.

A little further south, we came across Giardini Naxos beach, where some scenes were filmed by boat and at sea. Instead, heading towards the northern slope of Mount Etna, a few kilometers from Taormina, we reach Castiglione di Sicilia. Here, the Tenuta Sciaranuova di Planeta hosted the wine tasting scenes filmed in the fifth episode.

Noto and its baroque splendor

Noto, whose historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its Baroque style and the uniqueness of its light. The sun’s rays constantly illuminate the streets and embrace the limestone monuments, giving the whole city a warm and enveloping color.

The White Lotus 2 features the majestic Cathedral of San Nicolò, the Ducezio Palace with its Hall of Mirrors, the Church of San Francesco with its magnificent staircase, and the sumptuous Villa Elena, a former 17th century monastery restored by the French architect Jacques Garcia.

Cefalù, a charming seaside village 

The White Lotus 2 also features Cefalù, with its fishermen’s houses and ancient megalithic walls. The beach seen in some episodes of the series is the Lido di Cefalù, which offers a splendid view of the Rock of Cefalù and the Cathedral, famous for its mix of styles: Romanesque, Sicilian, Norman, and Byzantine.

As it hadn’t happened in a while, The White Lotus 2 managed to show some of Sicily’s most beautiful locations in an unconventional way.

Another interesting fact! In the fifth episode, the scenes shot at the theater used the exterior of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and the interior of the Teatro Massimo in Catania. A true homage to Sicily’s historic theaters.

Photo credits: Alfio Garozzo; Ilona Bellotto via Unsplash, Pappalardo Rosario via Wikimedia