My Brilliant Friend: Where Was the HBO Show Filmed?

My Brilliant Friend’ is one of the finest international television series that you will see today. Co-produced by HBO, the series is ” prestige Italian production, assembling the great and the good of the country’s cinema and TV,” according to The Guardian. 

The television series is an adaptation of the series of novels, The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante. The whole series is titled after the first novel of the series. The second season is called ‘My Brilliant Friend: The Story of a New Name,’ after the second book. The series is a dual coming-of-age drama revolving around the lives of two girls who developed a friendship in Naples in the 1950s.

My Brilliant Friend Filming Locations

‘My Brilliant Friend’ takes viewers on a spectacular journey to Italy from a bygone era. The story is set in a relatively poor neighborhood of Naples, a region known for its scenic beauty. The two protagonists grow up in an unnamed neighborhood that is thought to be Rione Luzzatti. Hence, many viewers of ‘My Brilliant Friend’ wonder whether the series was actually filmed in Naples.

Caserta, Campania

While ‘My Brilliant Friend’ is set in Naples, Italy, it is hardly filmed in the region. The show is almost entirely shot on a purpose-built set in the city of Caserta in the region of Campania, Italy. The set is 45 minutes away from Naples by car.

Calling ‘My Brilliant Friend’ a series with high production value would be an understatement. It is more of an art installation, crafted painstakingly with significant attention given to every tiny detail—the set sprawls over 2 hectares, which is the equivalent of four football fields. No wonder the set of ‘My Brilliant Friend’ is one of the largest in Europe. The production designer, Giancarlo Basili spent a week in Rione Luzzatti to research what the set should look and feel like. He spoke to the locals, took notes and used that information to replicate the neighborhood that the protagonists live in. Spending close to four months, 14 buildings were constructed to double as a working-class neighborhood in Naples, Italy. The set was constructed on the site of an out-of-use glass factory.

Naples, Italy

While most of the series is shot in Caserta, Campania, the makers of ‘My Brilliant Friend’ also make use of exterior shots that are filmed in Naples. These usually serve as establishing shots. However, a few scenes also make use of iconic places in Naples. For instance, a scene from the fourth episode is filmed in Lungomore, while one in the fifth episode was filmed in Molo San Vincenzo. Moreover, filming was also conducted at the famous bathing establishment, Sea Garden in Possillipo, Italy. 

Apart from that, a significant chunk of the story in the second season takes place on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. The character, Lenu spends a considerable part of her childhood living on the island. This part of the story takes up two whole episodes. Within the island, filming was carried out in Ischia Ponte and Maronti Beach. Apart from that, some of the other filming locations include Forio and Lacco Ameno. 

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