The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) | 1963
The location for Luchino Visconti’s lavish version of Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s epic novel could only be Sicily, and it is – mainly around Palermo.
Visconti initially wanted to use the medieval village of Palma di Montechiaro to represent ‘Donnafugata’, the family home of the princes of Salina, but this would have meant building a road, and that’s where the men in dark glasses stepped in (allegedly) to ask for their piece of the action.
Wisely, Visconti moved the production to the decaying village of Ciminna, 30 miles south of Palermo. The Piazza of Donnafugata is Ciminna’s square, and it’s here that the façade of Salina’s palace was constructed.
The family mansion is the gorgeous palazzo of Villa Boscogrande, Via Tommaso Natale 91, in Mondello, a seaside resort north of Palermo. If you like the look of the villa, you can rent it for your wedding or, less romantically, that corporate event.
The grand ball was staged in the Palazzo Valguarnera Gangi, Piazza Croce dei Vespri in Palermo itself. The famous ballroom can be hired for functions, but the remainder of the house is a private residence.
And though the red-shirted Garibaldini filmed on the real streets of Palermo, a section of the town was rebuilt for the film.