Italy provides the background for the misdeeds of the talented Tom Ripley, who comes back to the screen in this beautiful take by director Steven Zaillian. Slow-paced, atmospheric and beautifully shot in atmospheric black and white, the 8 episode series ‘Ripley’ follows the protagonist as he leaves a trail of blood and deceit along the Italian peninsula, from the village of Atrani on the Amalfi coast, to Rome, Palermo and Venice.

In the Ripley TV Netflix series, Italy is depicted as a languid and mysterious place, where art imitates life and life imitates art. A place where the sun doesn’t seem ever to shine. Here we go on the trail of Ripley in Italy, and reveal exactly where this exotic misadventure was brought to life.

SPOILER ALERT => Be warned, this post reveals some of the plot!

Ripley TV Series Shooting Locations in Italy – Where was Netflix Ripley filmed?

Atrani, on the Amalfi Coast

Located on the coast near Salerno, the tiny stone village of Atrani provides a charmingly secluded background for the first episodes of the Ripley TV series. It’s here that Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott) first meets Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn), languidly enjoying la bella vita (good life) in a beautiful villa overlooking the sea (NB -> Villa Torricella, used in the series, is actually in nearby Capri Island, and some rooms are for rent).

The video camera follows the protagonists as they (repeatedly!) walk up and down a steep flight of stone stairs in Atrani, revealing a world made of fishing boats, silent Madonnas, salt-eaten walls, and a small post office. Suggestively rendered in black and white, Atrani reveals its appeal, quiet picturesque corners and majestic views.

The story takes place in 1961, and Atrani was a tranquil place back then. But if you’re thinking of visiting it now, consider going out of season. Atrani is soon to be saturated with tourists, according to the Guardian. Today the beach where Dickie sunbathes with Marge (Dakota Fanning) is crowded with sun-chairs and umbrellas, and the coastal road from Positano to Salerno is notorious for its traffic jams.

where is ripley series shot in italy
Image by lucia parrillo on Pixabay

The scenes set in nearby Naples are shot in the Rione Sanità, at the foot of the Capodimonte hills, a lively neighbourhood that still maintains the quintessential Neapolitan spirit. Here’s where you find the impressive palace that serves as the exterior of Tom’s hotel, the Baroque Palazzo San Felice.

The fatal boat tour in Sanremo (that costs Dickie his life) was in fact shot in Anzio, a coastal town near Rome.

Where was Ripley Tv Series filmed in Italy? Rome

A deeply noir atmosphere envelops the Eternal City as soon as Ripley gets there, after having murdered Dickie and stolen his identity. There are multiple locations around Rome, from Palazzo Ruspoli to 5-star Hotel Hassler Roma, but his apartment is actually built in the studios of Cinecittà, using custom-made furniture to create an opulent elegance. Stairs are a regular feature for the director, as he plays with the light, shadows and layers, creating dramatic labyrinthic-like scenes.

The director takes great pleasure in showing the smallest details of Rome’s beautiful architecture, and some of its famous sights, like Castel Sant’Angelo, with its bridge flanked by impressive statues, the Colosseum, the Altare della Patria monument.

Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome – Image by kang on Pixabay

Caravaggio paintings

But the real thread that links all the Italian locations and seems to mimic Tom’s destiny is the art of Caravaggio. As soon as he arrives in Rome, Tom goes to visit San Luigi dei Francesi Church, to see three paintings by his favourite artist, that tell episodes from the life of Saint Matthew. Later on, he’s in awe admiring the “David with the Head of Golia” at the Borghese Gallery.

Why is Caravaggio central to the plot? => Caravaggio is the perfect match for Ripley, as the Italian artist himself also murdered a man after a fight and had to flee to save his life. In the final episode this link is made even more clear, when we have a brief jump back in time to 1606.

The dramatic use of light and shadows in Caravaggio’s paintings is reflected in the use of black and white by director Zaillian, who in an interview affirmed “I hate clear blue sky”.

The Appian Way

Now we’re off to the Via Appia Antica, the setting of the superb tension-filled 5th episode (my personal favourite!). Freddie Miles (Eliot Sumner) has been killed, and to dispose of his corpse Tom drives a Fiat 500 to the outskirt of Rome, along the ancient Roman Appian Way. It’s a beautiful sequence, with the tall pine trees eerily illuminated, and a solitary Tom Ripley walking in the dark alongside the ancient aqueduct.

=> There are many tours that guide you to the discovery of the Appian Way – built in the 4th century BC to connect Rome to its colonies – and visit Rome’s catacombs and acqueduct.

Palermo

The very first shot of Palermo (the city in Sicily where Tom arrives on a ferry at the end of the 6th episode), shows the magnificent Cathedral. A few historic squares, like the octagonal Quattro Canti, the impressive Santa Rosalia Sanctuary and the Vucciria Market also make an appearance.

But the highlight is certainly the Oratorio di San Lorenzo where the protagonist goes in search of another work by Caravaggio, the “Nativity”. (NB -> This painting was actually stolen in the 60’s, and what we see today is a copy).

Venice. Life on the Gran Canale – One of Ripley TV series’ memorable filming locations in Italy

Most of the shots in Venice are interiors, but the views of the Grand Canal are truly impressive, and give a beautiful, final touch to this roundup of charming Italian filming locations in Ripley Tv series.

We see the Santa Lucia train station, San Marco Square, the interior of historic Cafè Florian, the Hotel Danieli. But this time Tom Ripley truly has overcome himself when it comes to choosing a residence. The stunning Palazzo Contarini Polignac, an early Renaissance building with a remarkable stone and marble facade overlooking the Grand Canal, doesn’t fail to impress even Marge, who seems to change her mind about Ripley when she sees where he lives.

where was ripley tv series filmed in italy
Venice, the Grand Canal – Image by T XP on Pixabay

The Italian Grand Tour of the screen’s favourite conman and killer comes to a halt here, as Ripley manages to escape justice, changing his name again in preparation for his next adventure. And we’re left with a series of unforgettable locations in Italy, given a noir effect by the superb photography.

Finally, Ferragamo

As Ripley takes on the character of Dickie, he literally steps into his shoes. These shoes are made by Ferragamo, a famous Italian brand, and we are treated to several close ups of the exquisite loafers in question. Freddie remarks that Florence is the perfect place to buy Ferragamo shoes, and we can confirm he’s right. In Florence there is in fact a Ferragamo museum too, where you can learn about the incredible story of Salvatore Ferragamo, who opened his first store in 1923, and went on to became a legend of Italian fashion.

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=> 8 Famous Films and Series shot in Italy

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Author: Sabrina Nesi, founder of Lovefromtuscany.com, passionate about sharing the beauty of Tuscany and Italy with the world.

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