The White LotusMike White’s razor-sharp eat-the-rich satire, has returned to HBO for its sophomore season, abandoning the paradisiacal veneer of Hawaii for the candy life Sheen of Sicily. A contemporary crop of characters—plus favourite returning trainwreck Tanya (performed masterfully by Jennifer Coolidge)—have descended on the titular resort’s Italian tackle for every week of Aperol Spritz-fueled decadence and debauchery.
As in season 1, a 4 Seasons property stands in for the Sicilian White Lotus resort and whereas the thrum of simmering stress and deadly doom that persistently looms over this privileged group is hardly enviable, the identical cannot be stated for these picturesque seaside environs they’re quickly inhabiting.
There’s extra to all of it than simply completely Instagrammable moments, after all. Sicily is an island—the Mediterranean’s largest—with an extremely wealthy and turbulent historical past. The earliest indicators of human exercise right here date again to 12,000 BC, and as a consequence of its geographic location, it has been invaded, conquered, and fought over by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, and French—all leading to what’s at the moment a vibrant, culturally various vacation spot. After which there’s its piece of resistance: Mount Etna, Italy’s largest volcano, that towers over the northeast, as magnanimous as she is risky.
A lot of The White Lotus takes place within the shadow of Etna within the charming clifftop city of Taormina, although our characters do regularly enterprise off-campus for cultural excursions, whether or not it is to discover historical villages or take a tour of The Godfather‘s filming areas. Within the spirit of the present’s second season, a T&C journey information for planning your personal idyllic—and, hopefully, drama-free—sojourn to Taormina and past.
the place to remain
San Domenico Palace, a 4 Seasons Resort
San Domenico Palace could also be a brand new 4 Seasons resort, however it’s one of many oldest properties in Taormina. It was initially constructed within the 14th century because the personal residence of 1 Baron Damiano Rosso d’Altavilla, who, upon his dying, turned it over to the Dominican non secular order for use as a monastery. By the late 1800s, it had a brand new proprietor, Prince Cerami, who reworked it right into a grand resort that might entice a glittering checklist of celebrities, royals, and literati over the following century, from King Edward VII and the Rothschilds, to Oscar Wilde and DH Lawrence, to display screen stars like Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1960 it even made a cameo because the setting of a celebration in Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Aventurestarring Monica Vitti (The White Lotus has up to now been ripe with references to the legendary Italian actress—extra beneath).
Perched excessive on a cliff with Etna within the yard and the Ionian Sea sprawled out in entrance, the 111-key 4 Seasons is all trendy luxurious with touches of interval appeal. need the reality white lotus expertise? Spring for one of many resort’s 5 spectacular specialty suites, which have personal plunge swimming pools and panoramic views—Tanya’s greige refuge, in case you are questioning, is the very best one in the home: the 1,500-square-foot Royal Suite.
Villa Sant’Andrea, a Belmond Resort
Favor to be nearer to the water? Nestled within the secluded Bay of Mazzaro, the 71-room Villa Sant’Andrea, a Belmond, feels extra like an aristocratic residence than a resort. And it has been attracting the sort because the ’50s. Lush landscaping, a personal seashore, and richly layered rooms (most of which face the ocean and have terraces) add to its rarefied patina. The middle of Taormina is only a 3-minute cable automobile journey away—or higher but, spend a number of additional nights at Belmond’s different property up there, the equally aristocratic Grand Resort Timeo.
Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Resort
Spending time in Palermo, Sicily’s capital, is a should. It has a distinctly everything-everywhere-all-at-once high quality, with its melange of bustling open markets, congested slim streets, grand palazzos, crumbling buildings bombed throughout World Conflict II, and architectural landmarks left over from nearly each conqueror, from 12-century Arab-Norman church buildings to Baroque piazzas. Which is to say the Villa Igiea will probably be a godsend after a whirlwind afternoon soaking all of it in. Rocco Forte Lodges spent two years restoring the previous Artwork Nouveau palazzo (it was in-built 1900 for the Florio household) again to its Belle Epoque glory. And regardless that it is simply 10 minutes from town heart, it should really feel worlds away due to its quiet seaside location and fabulous gardens.
what to see
Valley of the Temples
Sicily is residence to an unimaginable assortment of historical Greek artwork and structure second solely to the Acropolis itself—and several other are clustered at this 3,000-acre archaeological web site in Agrigento, residence to seven Doric-style temples from the interval, together with the remarkably well-preserved Temple of Concordia.
Historical Theater of Taormina
Constructed by the Greeks within the third century BC for music and drama, then later expanded by the Romans to accommodate gladiatorial sport, the Greek theater is as noteworthy for its archaeological significance as it’s for these magnificent views. Bonus factors in case you’re in a position to recount a story of Greek mythology to your journey companions.
Castello degli Schiavi
The 18th-century property the place Michael Corleone takes refuge in The Godfather makes a cameo in an episode of The White Lotus: Di Grasso patriarch Bert organizes a tour of the long-lasting film’s filming areas, an outing that ends with lunch—and a spirited debate on poisonous masculinity—within the courtyard. In real-life the Castello degli Schiavi is a personal residence, although its proprietor will personally lead personal excursions.
Whereas the Di Grasso males are off on their godfather journey, Daphne and Harper embark on a day trip-turned-overnighter to Noto. A part of a cluster of Late Baroque cities that had been reconstructed within the 1700s after an earthquake principally destroyed all the area, Noto is a interval gem clustered with ornate palazzos and hovering cathedrals.
The oldest royal residence in Europe dates again to the eleventh century, when the Normans conquered Sicily and constructed this palace. In 1132, Roger II of Sicily commissioned the Palatine Chapel (pictured above) to be added to the advanced. Varied monarchs who got here to rule Sicily for the following 700 years continued to make use of Norman Palace as their seat of energy. As we speak, the UNESCO World Heritage Website is the house of the Sicilian Regional Meeting.
the place to eat
The 16-seat Michelin-starred restaurant, in a bougainvillea-lined nook of the Grand Resort Timeo (Belmond’s different property in Taormina), is one among Sicily’s most original gastronomic experiences. Within the arms of chef Roberto Toro, the tasting menu is an revolutionary celebration of the island’s freshest substances—suppose prawns with caviar, amberjack flavored with saffron, mascarpone with persimmon, kohlrabi with burrata.
Dinners on the White Lotus could also be routinely awkward affairs however yours needn’t be on the 4 Seasons restaurant that stands in for the fictional model. The elegant, Michelin-starred Principe Cerami is helmeted by a local Silician, chef Massimo Mantarro, which means wonderful renditions of native flavors and substances are just about assured.
Pastries are obligatory. Sicily is, in any case, the birthplace of such classics just like the cannoli and granita. For the previous, drop in at Pasticceria Cappello, a Palermo establishment since 1950.
Over on the southeastern facet in Catania is one other establishment—this one round since 1897—that could be a should for its mastery of two Sicilian staples: cannoli and arancini.
Barone di Villagrande
And we won’t neglect in regards to the wine. The nourishment of Mount Etna means the southeast has a few of the most fertile vineyards in Sicily. This family-owned vineyard (now on its tenth technology) has been farming the slopes of the volcano for 300 years and has been producing Etna wines since lengthy earlier than the DOC was even established.
Leena Kim is an affiliate editor at City & Nationthe place she writes about journey, weddings, arts, and tradition.