The fact that Medici: The Magnificent, an international co-production about the notorious banking dynasty, is shot in and around the city Florence is not the only reason the show has become such a massive hit in Italy.
But it has certainly helped.
“That was one of the first things Luca [Bernabei, producer] said to me – that we will actually shoot the show in Italy,” series co-creator Frank Spotnitz says. “So often in the past these shows go to central Europe, because it’s much cheaper. But it’s not the same; it doesn’t feel the same.”
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The series – produced by Lux Vide – is a sequel to Medici: Masters of Florence, which premiered on Netflix in 2016 with a stacked cast of actors including Brian Cox, Dustin Hoffman and Bodyguard’s Richard Madden.
Season two, which stars Sean Bean and Daniel Sharman, is set one generation down the line from its predecessor, in 15th century Florence. The story begins as a young Lorenzo “The Magnificent” Medici overthrows his father in the midst of a financial crisis. And that’s just the first episode…
Spotnitz and his crew decided to shoot the series in Italy to maintain the “beauty” of the show’s true setting.
Get the low down on all the locations in Medici: The Magnificent below…
Where was Medici: The Magnificent filmed?
Spotnitz and co opted to film in Tuscany to maintain authenticity – to the degree that they were willing to manoeuvre through the massive crowds of tourists in the centre of Florence.
However, at times they were restricted by Florence’s modernity, and opted to head to the smaller, better preserved towns of Pienza, Montepulciano, Volterra for certain shots.
“Florence is really tough, both because it’s swarmed by tourists, and because it has changed so much,” Spotnitz says.
“If you look at it, it’s a modern city. So most of the filming we did in Florence was either right up against the Duomo or inside the baptistry, because those bits have not changed.
“And then most of the exterior shooting you see are in these other medieval towns that are unchanged. There’s a lot of CGI in the show, but you’d be surprised how many shots are not CG. Where we’re looking at a vista in Montepulciano or something, it looks exactly as it looked at the time in which our show is set.”
The creator said that the difficulties of working on location in Italy more than paid off when it comes to the final product.
“It was really challenging, in Florence especially. We had extraordinary cooperation from the government of Tuscany, the government of Florence and from all these little towns outside Florence – Pienza, Montepulciano, Volterra,” he said.
“I think you feel it emotionally. Whether you have – I certainly don’t! – a sophisticated understanding of Italian architecture or not, you just feel it. There’s a beauty to it. It’s been a real privilege and joy to shoot there.”
Medici: The Magnificent is released on Netflix on Friday 25th January 2019