Passion on Pantelleria. Lust on a little Italian island. Murder in the Mediterranean. Is there a crossover genre more enticing than a sexy crime thriller in paradise? And the A Bigger Splash filming locations in Italy are so gorgeous, they almost make me want to trade my safety for the chance to stay on this stunning Sicilian hideaway.
A Bigger Splash (2015) follows Marianne (Tilda Swinton) and her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) as they seek respite from Marianne’s hectic music career in a remote villa. Their holiday is hijacked by Marianne’s eccentric former flame Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his long-lost daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson). Mild spoiler: One of them will not be returning home from this holiday. Dun dun DUN.
Director Luca Guadagnino set the majority of the action on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, situated between Sicily and Tunisia. Despite Truman Capote and Sting choosing this island for their exotic breaks, it is still largely untouched by the masses. I love this film and the locations so much that visiting is high on my bucket list. So let’s find out exactly where the A Bigger Splash film locations are in Pantelleria and elsewhere in Italy!
Where Was A Bigger Splash Filmed?
A Bigger Splash Filming Locations Elsewhere in Italy
1. San Siro Stadium, Piazzale Angelo Moratti, Milan
The first A Bigger Splash filming location is not on the main location of Pantelleria, it’s in Milan. Marianne Lane is performing in concert (though she looks more like she’s competing in a trashy David Bowie lookalike contest) to thousands of screaming fans. It’s at the San Siro Stadium which is the home to football teams AC Milan and Inter Milan.
A Bigger Splash Filming Locations in Pantelleria, Sicily
2. Mirror of Venus
It’s not long before we join Marianne and Paul on their holidays. Shagging, sunbathing, and swimming in Sicily, what more could you ask for in a romantic break? The first A Bigger Splash location on Pantelleria is the Mirror of Venus lake. The happy couple drives to this idyllic place and take a quick dip in this small, circular enclosed body of water and smear smelly sulphuric mud on each other.
3. Pantelleria Airport
Their quiet Italian Island break is quickly cut short by Harry’s unprompted arrival at the local airport. And it really is the local airport. Marianne and Paul pull up to the arrivals terminal at Pantelleria Airport. I do love it when filming locations are super authentic.
I’m not 100% sure about this A Bigger Splash film location but I know a little bit of information about it, so I had to include it here. Harry takes Marianne, Paul and his daughter to a small, local watering hole without a reservation. Luckily, a table recognises music sensation Marianne Lane so a table happens to free up.
I don’t think this is a real bar. It’s essentially a small, stone shack with a few plastic picnic tables dotted around outside. BUT, as they are walking up this hill, there is a sign which says “Sesi.” Sesi in Pantelleria is an archaeological museum/ruin, so the filming location must be somewhere near here.
5. Tenuta Borgia Dammusi Estate
Finally! The best out of all the A Bigger Splash locations and where the majority of the movie unfolds. Harry’s carefree (and careless) spirit forces Marianne and Paul to put him and his daughter up when they fail to book accommodation during a busy festival. Their luxury villa with a guest house and swimming pool is one of seven restored dammusi estates. These are traditional, ancient houses and there are seven different properties in total run by the Tenuta Borgia Estate in Pantelleria.
Marianne and Paul’s dammusi is, of course, the biggest and the only one with a private swimming pool. If you have a spare €3,400 for a week’s stay (in the offseason), there’s is Dammuso Grande. Honestly, this villa is perfect. Not too flashy, but has all the luxurious amenities and authentic fixtures you’d want to find in a large traditional, Sicilian villa. I did say this place was on my bucket list, right?
If that’s a smidge out of your price range, the cast of A Bigger Splash stayed at Dream Hotel, and most of the production crew stayed at Club Levante. Probably still very nice hotels, but less painful on the wallet.
6. Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Gaetano
The foursome, along with Harry’s two local pals, heads towards Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Gaetano in Pantelleria along Vicolo dell’ Attura which is a cracking little scenic walk. A Bigger Splash takes place in early August because that’s when the San Gaetano festival that they are attending in this scene takes place.
When Marianne goes off drinking with Paul, their conversation begins in Piazza San Gaetano just outside the church. Then, they turn a corner and stroll down Str. Perimetrale dietro Isola.
7. Cineteatro San Gaetano
This cinema appears a couple of scenes later as the exterior to the bar that Harry and Marianne pop in to perform some karaoke. Naughty Harry! He knows Marianne is on voice rest. And naughty Marianne too for falling under Harry’s spell. So, Cineteatro San Gaetano stands in for the bar which is called Circolo San Gaetano. But the sign in the film is also the sign still about the cinema’s door, so that seems a bit odd.
I’ll say one thing about Harry. He’s effing annoying, but he knows how to start a fun party. And if you want to know what song they are singing, it’s “Miss Manhattan” by Metropole. It’s about nine minutes long and not that well-known so I doubt a room full of Sicilians would be able to sing along to. But, you know, stranger things have happened.
Harry sings “Worried About You” by the Rolling Stones to Marianne when Paul and Penelope walk through the door.
8. Via Dante Alighieri
The next day, Marianne and Harry take a trip to the local supermarket for groceries. They first walk up Via Arciprete D’ Aietti and turn left up Via Dante Alighieri which is a hill with stairs.
9. Carrefour Supermercati
Even rockstars have to eat. Marianne and Harry walk around Carrefour Supermercati in Pantelleria. At the time, the supermarket was called Vecchione Supermercati (as you can see in the film when they leave) but it isn’t anymore. They walk down Via Giacomo Leopardi and end up on Via Borgo Italia which is by the port.
10. Laghetto delle Ondine
Penelope charms Paul into joining her on a hike which she is woefully underdressed for, not that she cares. They both end up at Laghetto delle Ondine, a small rock pool that people like to swim in. Penelope likes to do so sans clothes.
My research tells me that Arco dell’ Elefante (a rock formation by the sea that looks like an elephant’s trunk) is one of the A Bigger Splash filming locations. But if it is, I didn’t see it!
And those are all the top A Bigger Splash filming locations in Italy! Have you watched the movie or visited the island of Pantelleria? Let me know in the comments below!