HBO’s massive TV hit ‘The White Lotus’ is back. The highly anticipated second season premiered on 30 October – and it’s already giving us travel envy. This comedy-drama starring Jennifer Coolidge, Aubrey Plaza and Theo James revolves around the debauchery and encounters between the guests and employees of a luxury resort chain… And the filming locations are just as lavish.
This season of The White Lotus takes us on a breathtaking travel journey through Sicily in Italy and we’ve rounded up the most picturesque filming locations you can actually visit. From ancient theatres and charming seaside towns to five-star luxury resorts, here is how you can travel through Sicily from your couch… Or get inspired to plan your own sun-soaked Sicily trip – minus the scandal.
GET INSPIRED BY: Southern Italy and Sicily
Where was The ‘White Lotus’ season one filmed?
The first season of The White Lotus was filmed at another five-star luxury resort – Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, Hawaii. Other scenes were shot on nearby Wailea Beach and other places in Maui. This location choice was inspired by director Mike White’s fond childhood memories there.
GET INSPIRED BY: Best of Hawaii
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Where was ‘The White Lotus’ season two filmed?
The second season of The White Lotus came through with another stunning, deluxe destination – Sicily in southern Italy. While many scenes were filmed on set at Lumina Studios near Rome, the rest of the season was filmed in Sicily. The star location was another five-star luxury hotel resort, the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace in Taormina.
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Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, Taormina
This lavish hotel is located on the eastern coast of Sicily in the hilltop town of Taormina. The hotel was originally a 15th-century monastery and it’s set on top of a rocky hillside overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna, Sicily’s famous volcano.
The whole property is absolutely breathtaking, with over 100 rooms and suites, a gym, a spa, two bars, and three award-winning restaurants, including a pool-terrace diner and a fine-dining restaurant. You can also walk in the footsteps of monks through the ancient courtyards and gardens. And you can’t forget the scene-stealing clifftop infinity pool that has (understandably) featured heavily in The White Lotus. If you ever want to venture from this breathtaking hotel, you can spend your time tasting local wines, hiking up Mount Etna, exploring ancient ruins, roaming the Isola Bella nature reserve, or simply lounging on the beaches.
For such an extraordinary hotel, it’s not surprising this isn’t its first appearance on the big screen. The hotel made its film debut in the 1960 classic L’Avventura. The White Lotus nods to this piece of history when Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) says her dream day in Italy would involve looking like Monica Vitti (leading star of L’Avventura) and she dresses like Monica as she and Greg (John Gries) explore the town on a Vespa.
San Domenico Palace has also featured in The Big Blue in 1988 and has played host to many superstars over the years, including Audrey Hepburn, Oscar Wilde, King Edward VII, and Princess Anne.
How to stay at the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace
Dreaming of a holiday here? Unsurprisingly, you’ll need to cough up quite a bit of cash to stay here. Rates start at around £480 ($580) per night, but if you want the most premium suites – with plunge pools, marble tubs, and ocean views – you’re looking at anywhere from £2,600 ($3,140) to £6,000 ($7,250) a night. But don’t need to spend big bucks to recreate Jennifer Coolidge’s perfect day in Sicily – you can simply join us on tour!
GET INSPIRED BY: Best of Italy and Sicily
If you don’t want to splash out on the San Domenico Palace, you can still travel through Sicily and visit the gorgeous town of Taormina. This ancient seaside town is dotted with beautiful beaches that you can get to via an aerial tramway. It also has a history dating back to Ancient Greece, including the ancient Greek theatre, Teatro Antico di Taormina.
In episode two, we see Bert, Albie, Dominic and Portia head to the theatre, just a short distance from San Domenico Palace. Built in the 3rd century B.C., you can still see its well-preserved stage and cavea. It’s so beautiful that Johann Wolfgang Goethe once wrote, “never has the audience of a theatre seen a similar spectacle”. From the theatre, you can also soak up the impressive views of Mount Etna and the Ionia Sea.
Nearby Taormina, you can visit other filming locations from The White Lotus. Take a 15-minute drive to the small coastal town of Giardini Naxos and have dinner at the beachside La Cambusa restaurant, which features in the show. Or make the gorgeous 30-minute drive to the coastal town of Fiumefreddo and you might recognise the Castello degli Schiavi (which also features in The Godfather).
Head to Sicily’s southeast to discover the beautiful baroque city of Noto. You might recognise it from the episode in season two when Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza) and Daphne Sullivan (Meghann Fahy) take a day trip here in an unforgettable scene.
If you travel through Sicily here, you can explore the gilded Hall of Mirrors in the Palazza Ducezio or admire the 18th-century Noto Cathedral just across the street. Nearby, you can also see the ornate balconies of Palazzo Nicolaci. Or walk underneath the 19th-century Porta Reale arch at the entrance to the city. Be sure to do it all with a slice of pizza and scoops of sweet gelato.
GET INSPIRED BY: Colours of Sicily
You can’t travel through Sicily without visiting the capital city, Palermo. And the cast of The White Lotus certainly didn’t miss it either. You’ll recognise the city from the shopping montage scene with Daphne and Cameron (Theo James).
When you visit, be sure to check out the Piazza Pretoria and the stunning Palatine Chapel. You can also head to the opera houses and explore ancient markets. Or tuck into delicious street food, like the refreshing granita.
Just one hour from Palermo is the medieval coastal town of Cefalù. This was the filming location for another day trip for the hotel guests in The White Lotus and you might recognise the Piazza Marina from these scenes. You can also admire the Norman cathedral or sun yourself at the beautiful beach. This town is tiny but oh-so-lovely.
We get plenty of views of the Ionian Sea in season two of The White Lotus, as many of the characters spend their days on luxury yachts in this glittering sea. One of the most iconic scenes is at the start of the season, when Harper, Daphne, Cameron, and Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe) toast to the good life on board a yacht on the Ionian Sea across from the San Domenico Palace.
Have you experienced our Sicily tours? Or would you love to travel through Sicily after watching season two of The White Lotus? Let us know in the comments below!