After watching "The Two Popes" you will definitely want to go on vacation in Rome

Movies and TV can open your mind to a world of possibilities, and they can also be a catalyst for wanderlust. Take the two popes, for example. Set primarily in Rome, the film explores dozens of historically significant locations in the Italian capital that will make you want to experience the city as soon as possible. But where exactly was The Two Popes filmed, and was it shot on location?

Indeed. Filming began in late 2017, starting in Buenos Aires. The production team shot scenes with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (played by Jonathan Pryce) here to capture his backstory before traveling to Rome. These include flashback scenes filmed "in the exact location where [he] decided to become a priest," and also include "the village where [Bergolio] served as cardinal for several years," entertainment website The Cinemaholic notes.

Filming then moved to Rome, where filming included the exterior of Casa Gandalf ("the summer residence used by Pope Benedict during his pontificate"), as well as other important locations in the capital and Vatican City. The world-famous Sistine Chapel, known for its strict filming and photography policies, plays a major role in the film. According to the Los Angeles Times , the actual Sistine Chapel "limits daily attendance and prohibits photography of any kind." They also noted that the Vatican "does not allow any narrative project to be shot on location" except for documentaries that are "approved on a case-by-case basis."


With this in mind, the team didn't even bother trying to get permission to film in the church. Instead, production designer Mark Tildesley used Rome's Cinecitta Studio to recreate the world-famous attraction. It took 10 weeks to make and is truly breathtaking. "Ours is actually an inch or two larger than the original, so technically we can say we built a bigger Sistine Chapel," Tildesley told the Los Angeles Times .

Under the guidance of historian and art expert Enrico Bruschini, artistic director Stefano Maria Ortolani was tasked with rebuilding the building together with Tildesley The interior of the building. Enrico Bruschini "organized weekly group visits to the church." It was a massive undertaking, but thanks to some production wizardry, the team was able to make the detailed artwork throughout the church as realistic as possible.

As the Los Angeles Times explains, this is accomplished using a "tattoo wall" technique, in which "the image is printed onto film, transferred to the surface, and coated with a substance that absorbs the paint into the plaster cover". "It had to be of the highest quality possible because we knew there were going to be close-ups," Tildesley said.

The end result is a remarkable rendition of the Sistine Chapel that could easily be mistaken for the real thing. If you've never experienced a church, or Rome in general, for yourself, The Two Popes is a great reason to explore the city.