Tuesday May 28th 2024

Fellini Satyricon | 1969

Fellini Satyricon filming location: Chiaia di Luna, Ponza, Italy
Fellini Satyricon location: Encolpio is taken aboard Lichas' ship: Chiaia di Luna, Ponza, Italy | iStockphoto: Lumase

With his adaptation of surviving fragments of the satirical writings of Petronius, director Federico Fellini erases memories of his neo-realist roots with his most visually extravagant fantasy – regarded as either wildly self-indulgent or the full flowering of the director's unique vision.

As usual, Fellini conjures up most of his surreal, satiric images in the controllable confines of Cinecittà Studios, Via Tuscolana in Rome.

The shipboard scenes where narrator Encolpio (Martin Potter) is captured by, and marries Lica (Alain Cuny) were filmed at Chiaia Di Luna, a beautiful crescent-shaped beach beneath 1,000ft high pale cliffs on the island of Ponza.

Ponza is the largest of the Pontine Islands (Isole Pontine), a beautiful archipelago off the Italian coast between Rome and Naples. Although the Islands have a long history – they're full of Roman ruins and cave-tombs – they're little-known to international tourists. Although there aren't too many tourist sights, the island's main appeal is its landscape and its shoreline. The other Pontine Islands, including the nature reserve of Zannone, can be visited by boat trips.

The principal port for ferries to Ponza is Formia, between Rome and Naples, and is reachable by train from both cities.

Ponza also became the island of ‘Port au Patois’ in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Satyricon ends as the friends of the deceased poet Eumolpo (Salvo Randone) follow the conditions of his will and chomp glumly on his dead body, while Encolpio joins the young people set off for new adventures from the flat beach and dunes of Focene in Fiumicino, on the coast near Rome's Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport.