‘A Discovery of Witches’ is one of those unique fantasy dramas that compel the viewers into a deep state of contemplation. The plot revolves around a book that unravels shocking secrets about magic. Quite unexpectedly, it falls into the hands of a historian Dr. Diana Bishop (Teresa Palmer), who wants to solve these mysteries and also protect this mystical manuscript. Based on a series of books by Deborah Harkness, it is about a book wedged between unseen crevices of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
The show is dark and mysterious, especially the library’s haunting interiors where the book is chanced upon. The remaining scenes take us to a dimension where vampires and witches co-exist with the rest of humanity. But because of that, there is also a clash between murder and magic. This intriguing arrangement made us curious about the series, especially about its filming location. So, where is ‘A Discovery of Witches’ filmed? Let’s find out.
A Discovery of Witches Filming Locations
The production of ‘A Discovery of Witches’ invested magnanimously as far as filming locations are concerned. Shooting for Season 1 took place in the UK and ended on February 16, 2018, after around six months. Season 2 was filmed in mid-2019 as the team found their way to Italy apart from the UK. The production clearly worked hard in conjuring a setup that reflects a sweltering darkness characteristic to the plot. Let’s discover more about the locations!
The dark allure of the Bodleian Library is mostly a product of studio work, but fortunately, a couple of scenes were actually filmed in The City of Dreaming Spires. The production included New College, Brown’s Cafe, parts of the Bodleian Library (the real one), and The White Horse pub in the series’ making. The limited time and resources allotted to the production deemed it impossible to film all the scenes within the University premises. Hence, they spent eight weeks creating a mock-up of the library, which nevertheless looked fascinating.
Several scenes were shot in Bristol featuring The Rummer bar-restaurant at All Saints Lane in the first episode. Season 1 also features the Bristol Harbour Hotel at Corn Street and the Highbury Vaults pub on St Michael’s Hill. A few scenes were filmed in Deanery Road, not far from Bristol Cathedral. The production returned to Bristol in July 2019 at Berkeley Square for the filming of season 2.
— A Discovery of Witches (@adiscoverywitch) June 15, 2020
The de Clermont family lives in the Sept-Tours, which in reality is the Castello Cini Monselice in Venice (both the interiors and exteriors). The Congregation island is actually San Giorgio Maggiore island, one of Venice’s islands. The production team conducted most of the exterior shots in its backstreets and alleys. Gerbert’s (Trevor Eve) Palace is located in Palazzo Contarini Polignac except for the staircase, actually situated in Palazzo Pisani Moretta.
Located in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy, the village of Arqua Petrarca stands in for the fictional village of St Lucien based in France. The second season presents a (scary yet refreshing) hoard of witches, demons, and other beings that dominate Venice’s aesthetic.
The interiors of various locations in the series were materialized in the Wolf Studios located in Cardiff, most significantly, the Bodleian Library with a row of books stacked over every nook and corner. The Oxford food market was additionally recreated in Cardiff Market, which was predominantly used during odd hours when the buzz of people was significantly less. The Insole Court in Llandaff was also used as Matthew Clairmont’s (Matthew Goode) abode, not very different from the stereotypical example of a vampire’s lair.
As for the period interiors–the Hart and Crown, Rudolf II's palace, and Sept-Tours–they were built in the studio. I will be showing you interior details in next week's #Book2ScreenMagicMonday.
— Dr Deborah Harkness (PhD, LHD) (@DebHarkness) December 14, 2020
Another place that was taken because of its wilderness and versatility of space is the Brecon Beacons National Park near Llyn y Fan Fach, situated in Carmarthenshire. It comprises a hunting scene with Matthew Clairmont and Hamish Osborne (Greg McHugh), a very appealing environment that could easily substitute the Scottish Highlands. Another location is Aberglasney Gardens, which posed as the garden outside Sept-Tours: the fictional castle of the de Clermont family. St Donat’s Castle is also additionally featured.
The Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire assisted in creating Gerbert’s home: the ruins of La Pierre. The castle overwhelmingly sits on an estuary, and an army of bats apparently joined the production!
— ADiscoveryOfWitchTV (@ADiscoveryOfWTV) December 13, 2020
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