Turn off your mobile phones and start munching on popcorn, but don’t make too much noise… in Gaeta, the cameras are rolling for Bloodmoon, the prequel to Game of Thrones, the most popular American TV series in the world!
It’s impossible not to identify with the protagonists fighting for the conquest of power, amidst bloody battles, disasters and plot twists. Fruit of the creativity of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the TV fantasy series has been broadcast since 2011 on the HBO cable channel with eight seasons and 73 episodes, inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire, the series of fantasy novels written by George R.R. Martin.
The adventures narrated involve numerous characters and are set in an imaginary world divided into Westeros, the Western continent, and Essos, in the East. King’s Landing is the capital of the Western continent, and the largest and most civilized city where the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms is found. The struggle for the conquest of the throne leads to alliances and conflicts that result in the poverty of the common people, while the threat looms of the awakening of legendary creatures fallen into oblivion and of other dark forces.
Filming of Bloodmoon is underway and the set is taking shape in the Grotta del Turco (Turk’s Cave), inside the Montagna Spaccata (Split Mountain), a spectacular rock that plunges vertically into the cobalt sea of the Gulf of Gaeta.
A mystical place, where a crevice is hidden amidst the rocks rising up to 150 metres along the coastline.
Looking up, you will see the Sanctuary of the Santissima Trinità, perching miraculously on a slope of Monte Orlando for centuries. Among the many legends related to this place, which in itself inspires flights of fancy, one tells of St. Philip Neri, who seems to have lived inside the Montagna Spaccata, where a stone pallet known as “St. Philip Neri’s bed” still remains.
We are in the Park of Monte Orlando, a protected area within the Riviera di Ulisse Regional Park, characterized by an enormous rock that plunges from a height of 30 metres into the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the beach of Serapo and the Montagna Spaccata.
Why is it called the “Split” Mountain? Here’s another story. It is said that, at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus, the mountain actually split longitudinally during a terrible earthquake in Jerusalem, giving rise to the spectacular Grotta del Turco. But the story doesn’t end here: inside a crack in the rock, there is the imprint of a hand, the “hand of the Turk,” hence the name of the cave. It seems, in fact, that a Muslim, incredulous of the miraculous event, touched the karst rock, leaving his handprint impressed into the stone.
But back to Bloodmoon. The story takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, revealing the secrets of the past of Westeros and the origin of the mythology behind A Song of Ice and Fire.
The cast? “Only by living, we’ll find out,” sang Lucio Battisti, and then by going to the place that, we must admit, deserves a standing ovation all on its own. Okay, we won’t let you down, we’ll give you some more news. Among the protagonists you will meet Naomi Watts, Josh Whitehouse, Naomi Ackie, Denise Gough, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sheila Atim, Ivanno Jeremiah, Georgie Henley, Alex Sharp, Toby Regbo, Miranda Richardson, Marquis Rodriguez, John Simm, Richard McCabe, John Effernan and Dixie Egerickx. In which roles? No, we don’t know that yet, and the wait makes us impatient, too.
What did you say? Any indiscretions? Here you are. The shoots on the Gulf of Gaeta will take about 10 days and the first scene of Bloodmoon is set right in Gaeta, more precisely, in the Grotto del Turco, where the heroes of Game of Thrones will debark.
Lazio has always been a favourite destination of film and television producers, and not only Rome. Just think that on the wild beaches of Scissure and Arenauta, scenes of the Italian TV series L’amica Geniale were shot and some episodes of Storia del Nuovo Cognome, the second season of the fiction series based on the novel by Elena Ferrante, will also be set here.
Nicknamed “CineCittàGaeta,” and not without reason, it was also the location for Simone Godano’s Croce e Delizia featuring Alessandro Gassman, Jasmine Trinca, Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Filippo Scicchitano, just to mention one recently released film.
So, warm up the Dolby Surround, here comes a load of emotions and special effects to give you goosebumps!