Movies shot in Trapani and surroundings

There are several movies shot in Trapani and its nearby.  I will mention a few below.

Movies shot in Erice

A movie which has had a considerable success is “At war for love“, directed by Pif. Some places of the film are in Erice and Custonaci.

The story starts in New York in 1943. While the world is in the midst of World War II, Arturo lives his troubled love story with Flora. The two love each other, but  she has to marry the son of a powerful Mafia boss. To be able to marry Flora, Arturo needs the permission from her father  who lives in a Sicilian village. Arturo, young and penniless, has only one way to reach the island. That is to enlist in the American army which is preparing for the landing in Sicily. This is the event that will change forever the history of Sicily, Italy and the Mafia and their personal story.

The same year the historic centre of Erice and the Venus Castle were the scenes of the film “Aquaman”  by James Wan were taken in The plot tells of Acquaman, hero of the “DC Comics”, exiled king of the lost civilization of Atlantis, raised by dolphins and then adopted by a lighthouse keeper.

Another beautiful movie shot in Trapani is “Mary Magdalene“. In 2016 the actors Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix were Mary Magdalene and Jesus in the American production film dedicated to the most controversial female religious figure.

The film, by the Australian Garth Davis, resumes the atmospheres and events narrated in the Gospels. It makes an accurate reconstruction of the environments in some of the most suggestive places in the province of Trapani. These places are between the Mount Cofano Reserve, the Tuna fishery at San Vito Lo Capo, Erice, Zingaro Reserve and  San Vito Lo Capo Beach.


A film shot between the San Vito Lo Capo Tuna fishery, Trapani and the Island of Favignana is “Viola di mare” (2009).

This movie, by Donatella Maiorca, tells the love story between Angela and Sara set in Sicily around 1860, during the landing of the Thousand. To survive the scandal, Angela’s family makes her look like a boy by even changing her birth certificate. Angela wears short hair and hides her feminility. Based on a true story, this movie portraits family, community and gender roles in a 19th century Sicilian village.

The island of secrets – Korè“, (2009) by Ricky Tognazzi, is another movie about Favignana. It is a mixed genre, not only mystery, but also comedy and  melodrama.

Mafia movies shot in Trapani

The popular TV series “The Octopus” was broadcasted from 1984 to 2001. Some actors as Michele Placido and the very young Barbara De Rossi became very popular thanks to this fiction. The first series, directed by Damiano Damiani, was the best in my opinion.

In the “First light of dawn” by Lucio Gaudino released in 2000, a young Gian Marco Tognazzi has to deal with the murder of his parents killed by the mafia.

More movies

My Name Is Tanino” is a 2002 film by Paolo Virzì, shoot in Castellammare del Golfo, San Vito Lo Capo, New York and Toronto.

Everybody’s Fine“, by Giuseppe Tornatore, has the great Marcello Mastroianni  as main actor. A father leaves Sicily to visit his children who live throughout Italy. The scenes on the island were filmed at the Saltpans of Marsala and at the Macari beach.

Some scenes of “The snack thief“,  an episode of Montalbano Inspector series, written by Andrea Camilleri, take place in the  Mangiapane cave, near Monte Cofano.

Inspector Maltese, a movie shot in Trapani

The most recent “Inspector Maltese” is a 2017 TV miniseries, directed by Gianluca Maria Tavarelli.

Kim Rossi Stuart plays the Inspector investigating in a reconstructed 70s-style Trapani. In the movie we can see Palazzo Cavarretta as seat of the municipal council and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The inspector meets his daughter Noa in the Lazzaretto, today seat of the Naval League. In the ancient walls of Tramontana Maltese walks with the judge Montano. Palazzo Mokarta, behind the Cathedral, is the inspector’s home. The interiors, shot in an apartment in Via Cuba, are the same ones which Damiano Damiani used in 1983 for the first “Piovra”. Piazza Lucatelli is the place of the bloodiest scene in the fiction. Palazzo D’Alì, the town hall, become a police station. Maltese’s favorite restaurant is the “Sicilian winery”, in Via Giudecca. There he eats a plate of couscous.

Historic movies

Among the historic movies some tell the story of Garibaldi and Expedition of the Thousands.

Viva l’Italia“, for example, is a historical movie of 1960, directed by Roberto Rossellini.

The film tells how Italy’s historic national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi led a military campaign known as Expedition of the Thousand in 1860 to conquest the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Having landed in Marsala, after the first rapid successes, Garibaldi found the forces of old General Landi against him.

“Cefalonia” is a historical  film of 2005,  by Riccardo Milani, with Luca Zingaretti as main actor.

It tells, in a romantic way, the events that took place from 8 September 1943 that saw the destruction of the Acqui division by German forces. Most of the shooting took place at the “Tonnara del Secco” in San Vito Lo Capo. We can see in the movie also the oriented nature reserve  of Cofano Mount, the Mangiapane Cave, the tower of Cofano tuna fishery . But also the Zingaro oriented nature reserve,  the Ettore and Infersa salt marshes,  the ruins of Poggioreale and the Port of Castellammare del Golfo .


A  movie about life in the saltpans, featuring the actress Claudia Cardinale, has been shot in the Stagnone saltpans. The book by Antonio Saltini “Caccia alla luna. Tre racconti“,  published in 1990, ispired the movie.

The film “Briciole sul Mare” by director Walter Nestola, featuring the comedy actor Sergio Friscia, came out in 2016. Its location is the Natural Reserve of Stagnone Lagoon.

The film tells the story of a Salento fisherman who every day goes fishing with his boat to find peace and relaxation. But for a strange case of destiny one day he falls asleep and when he wakes up he realizes he is in the Sicilian waters. He is in the Stagnone Lagoon of  Marsala.

In this land he knows Salvo, and becomes a witness of a murder. So his stay on the island become a bit of a thriller. Everything seems to go towards a tragic ending. A turn of events turns it into a grotesque and comic one, with romantic implications.

Ristabbanna is a 2010 drama  by Daniele De Plano and Gianni Cardillo. It take place among the saltpans and the Stagnone Lagoon of Marsala.