After the worldwide success of “My Brilliant Friend,” the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante, and subsequent TV adaptation of the same name, the island of Ischia, where some of the scenes are set, has started organizing My Brilliant Friend-themed tours to show visitors the real locations appearing on the TV series.
Ischia is off the coast in the Gulf of Naples, some 30 kilometers from Naples itself. The island is featured in the first two books, “My Brilliant Friend” and “The Story of a New Name.” In Season 2 of the RAI/HBO series, “The Story of a New Name” (2020), which premiered in Italy last month, Lila and Lenù, the two protagonists, spend an entire summer on the island.
Some of the sights seen on TV include:
Ischia Ponte, where the vaporetto from Naples docks. Nearby are two of Ischia’s landmarks, the Aragonese Castle and Maronti beach. The Aragonese Castle, located on the east coast of the island, is almost 2,500 years old. It stands on an islet formed by an eruption that occurred more than 300,000 years ago. The castle is connected to the ancient village of Celsa, or Ischia Ponte, via a 220-meter long brick bridge.
Maronti beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. One of the island’s largest beaches, it is three kilometers long and is located in a part of Ischia that Frederick of Aragon gave to the island’s residents, so they could enjoy the natural beauty of the coast.
Another location nearby is the fish market of Ischia Ponte, located in front of the historic Palazzo Malcovati, also known as the ‘scuopolo’, meaning ‘rock’, one of the oldest buildings in the village. It is a defensive tower built in the mid-1500s to protect against pirate raids.
Some scenes are also set inland, in Forio, where the holiday home of Lila and her husband Stefano is located. In the center of Forio is Palazzo Cigliano, which corresponds to Bruno's house, a friend of Nino Sarratore, the boy with whom Lenù has always been in love.
In the north-western part of the island, Lacco Ameno is a village that extends along the sea and on the slopes of Mount Epomeo. This location became a popular destination for the international jet-set around the 1950s and 1960s after the construction of the first five-star hotel on the island. Among the many regulars who came to spend their holidays there were the Duke of Windsor, Clark Gable and Liz Taylor and the last Shah of Persia.
In Lacco Ameno, near Corso Angelo Rizzoli, a bar seen in the first two episodes of the second season of the fiction, and a location for one of the key scenes, is well recognizable.