Discover the inspiring Italian interiors of Ripley

Discover the inspiring Italian interiors of Ripley

Ripley has us all mesmerised with its bewitching locations, inspiring Italian interiors and array of desirable objects.

The Netflix eight-part series reimagines the cult classic The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller. The 2024 adaptation follows con artist Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott) in 1960s Italy, hired by a wealthy American shipping magnate to retrieve his son Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) who is on a permanent vacation in Italy. Tom ingratiates himself into Dickie’s life, and although Dickie’s girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Dakota Fanning) has suspicions, Dickie’s ignorance leads him into disaster ending with Tom on the run, posing as Dickie.

Created, written, and directed Steven Zaillian, the series is shot beautifully and entirely in black and white. Venice, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Capri and Atrani are all atmospherically captured in meticulous frames. Zaillian, together with production designer David Gropman, set decorator Alessandra Querzola and cinematographer Robert Elswit, deliver stunning scenes and inviting spaces that leave us hankering for a trip to Italy.

Objects and props are crucial in Ripley. Tom’s obsession with Dickie extends to Dickie’s possessions, revealing much about Dickie’s wealth and personality as well as Tom’s plans. From a pen to a ring, a typewriter to a hefty glass ashtray, these objects carry hidden narratives.

The production design team tackled over 200 sets and locations, with researchers in New York, London, and Italy ensuring historical accuracy. Querzola, an Italian herself, shares her inspiration and takes us on a virtual tour of these exquisite interiors, each piece and design choice offering a glimpse into the luxurious world of Ripley: “The Italian post-war period was a time of great economic growth and renewal in fashion, design, and architecture. It’s one of the most elegant and stylish moments in recent history” she says.

Dickie’s Atrani home

Dakota Fanning as Marge Sherwood, Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf and Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley in Ripley. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Set in the an Italian Belle Epoque villa in Atrani, built in 1902, Dickie’s home features lemon and olive trees, wisteria, and a spectacular gazebo. With Arabesque decoration, vaulted ceilings, Moorish colonnades, towers, arches, and twisted columns, it’s a blend of bohemian and Italian luxury. Marge lives nearby, working on her travel book.

The production team scouted extensively for a suitable location, eventually settling on Atrani: “Most have been too modernised or gentrified for a story taking place in 1960, but there was one we came upon, a village of about 800 people called Atrani, that we found perfect” says Zallian.

The beach scenes were filmed in the picturesque town, while those in Dickie’s home were shot at Villa Torricella on Capri, against the backdrop of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Naples.

Details of Dickie's home in Ripley. Bookcases by Titti Fabiani, Ideal Form 1960 Italy
​​​​​from Compasso-design Milan. Lamp: Oscar Torlasco by LUMI 1950 from Officina Antiquaria Milan
Details of Dickie’s home in Ripley. Bookcases by Titti Fabiani, Ideal Form 1960 from Compasso-design Milan. Lamp: Oscar Torlasco by LUMI 1950 from Officina Antiquaria Milan

Querzola drew inspiration from a Gianni Berengo Gardin photograph of a mid-1950s relaxed group of well-to-do people, aiming to recreate a high-class, understated atmosphere. Dickie’s interiors include contemporary pieces like Gio Ponti chairs in the dining room and period items such as a Radice sofa, some 1940s Terragni deck chairs, a 1950s Pierluigi Colli coffee table and Dickie’s large desk. Reflective surfaces and glass details add to the sophisticated ambiance.

The sitting area has a timeless sideboard and a collection of portraits of the period from the Accademia Belle Arti in Naples.

The kitchen was custom-built and inspired by an old piece of furniture seen at the abandoned palace Villa Reale in Maiori, discovered during a scouting trip on the Amalfi coast. Purchased for a nominal price, the pieces were restored and reproduced, maintaining the authentic charm (deer legs included).

Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf in Episode 102 of Ripley. Cr. Courtesy of NETFLIX © 2024

The interiors are filled with artwork, mostly the work of Dickie himself who is an aspiring artist as well as some notable inclusions such as Picasso’s 1910 Cubism masterpiece The Guitarist (a reproduction for filming) which plays a central role in the story.

Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley scours Dickie’s desk in Episode 102 of Ripley. Cr. Philippe Antonello/NETFLIX © 2021
Decor details from Dickie’s desk in Ripley: Lamp – Stil Novo 1950 Brass and Leather, Clock – nautical C1 tableclock by Mangiarotti 1956

Find vintage and period Gio Ponti, Radice, Terragni and Pierluigi Colli furniture on Etsy, eBay, Chairish and 1st Dibs.


Tom Ripley’s Rome apartment

Tom's Rome apartment in Ripley
Tom’s Rome apartment in Ripley

Tom rents a tastefully decorated, spacious apartment in Rome, reflecting Dickie’s impeccable taste. Though already furnished, Tom adds a few personal touches: a distinctive ashtray (more on that later), some records, the typewriter, and Dickie’s art in the corner. The apartment offers beautiful views of the capital, perfectly aligning with Dickie’s preferences.

Gropman and Zaillian visited numerous Roman apartments for inspiration. The final set, built on a studio soundstage at Cinecittà, drew heavily from these explorations. “The sofa in Tom’s Rome apartment was the sofa that we saw in a villa in Rome that we both fell in love with, so we just built an exact replica,” Gropman reveals. A leather chair spotted in a shoe store in Rome was replicated, bringing authenticity to the set.

Furnishings of Tom’s Rome apartment in Ripley

The apartment features original Italian paintings, mid-century furniture, a console for the record player and albums, a rotary dial telephone, parquet floors, and a bar cart. Above the fireplace hangs a large painting by Filippino Lippi, adding a touch of historical elegance

Imagined to be located on Via di Monserrato, all exterior shots were filmed in the Regola district, known for its Renaissance architecture. “We are in full renaissance. All the buildings in the area reflect the character of papal Rome. Severe and bold. This was the foundation of my approach to furniture research,” says Querzola.

Embracing dark, reflective surfaces and the richness of black and gold, the interiors were meticulously planned, with every piece of furniture placed and adjusted to perfection. Querzola adds: “My initial concern was the dark character of the furniture and paintings, typical of the era we were exploring, but I must say that by courageously embracing pure black I discovered that the reflection of the surfaces, of the floors, of the satin blacks of the consoles, were key. Even the gold frames transformed into a pure source of reflection and light”.

Freddie in Tom’s Rome apartment in Ripley

The apartment was prepped four weeks before shooting which afforded time for actors to rehearse and for cinematographer Robert Elswit to perfect the lighting: “It was a long and precise process. We sat on a place holder with Steve and David in the living room looking at the space, hanging the mock up of the large chandelier above the sofa. One morning we moved the the 1920s original caolin bath tub into place in the bathroom but it wasn’t quite ready for installation, and in the afternoon I found Steve lying on it!”

A photograph by Gianni Berengo Gardin influenced the design of the kitchen
A photograph by Gianni Berengo Gardin influenced the design of the kitchen

The kitchen, a favourite of set designer Querzola, is another Ripley film set inspired by a Gianni Berengo Gardin photograph – one of a large marble washhouse found in noble homes. “Gardin is one of the best storytellers through black and white images of our period” she enthuses. Rebuilt in veined Carrara marble to match the floors of the apartment, the sink is two meters wide.

Scenes from Tom's apartment in Ripley with the ashtray
Scenes from Tom’s apartment in Ripley with the ashtray

Then there’s THE ashtray, an object of Tom’s fascination and unlikely weapon. It’s a 1960s Flavio Poli Murano Glass ashtray to be precise.

A selection of Flavio Poli Murano Glass ashtrays currently available at Etsy
A selection of Flavio Poli Murano Glass ashtrays currently available at Etsy

Find your Flavio Poli ashtray on Etsy.

Ripley Rome apartment, bedroom

The bedroom maintains this severe simplicity, with a masculine, monastic intimacy. The bedspread in green velvet adds a soft volume, beautifully interacting with the light.

The landlady’s office in Ripley

Signora Buffi’s small set, reflecting the era’s Italian character without falling into clichés, emphasises simplicity and severity.

The Grand Tour continues

Ripley’s grand Venice palazzo was filmed in the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, known for its contemporary art gallery the Gallerie dell’ Accademia. The interiors include massive chandeliers, tall ceilings, and an imposing canopy bed, which makes a statement along with the Italian damask covered walls.

Ripley. (L to R) Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley and Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf in Episode 102 of RIPLEY. Cr. Courtesy of NETFLIX © 2024

In Rome Ripley scenes also made use of the Spanish Steps, Palazzo dei Congressi, Park of the Aqueducts, and the Galleria Borghese. Hotel Excelsior in the series is an amalgamation of different filming locations, including Hotel Hassler and Grand Hotel Plaza in Rome.

“Throughout Tom’s itinerary from Atrani, Amalfi, San Remo, Rome, Venice and so forth, a lot of research work was undertaken to create the public spaces. My favourite, Banca della Republica was shot at the EUR Palazzo degli Uffici by Arch Gaetano Minucci where Italian rationalism becomes pure classicism. Neat and simple” shares Querzola. “We searched everywhere and managed to gather 32 identical rationalist desks from all over Italy. We cleaned them, changed all the wooden handles and made new sets in brass for each desk – 190 in total, in order to create a series of hinted and reflective lines in the ocean of desks, together with all the table lamps”.

Given the high contrast monotone look of the series, it’s no surprise we find a lot of work by the Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio which Tom is introduced to in the Galleria Borghese in Rome and at the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. During the series we see his The Seven Works of Mercy (1607), David With the Head of Goliath (1610), and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1600).

Each element, from furniture to art, contributes to the storytelling, immersing viewers in the opulent yet restrained world of Ripley.

The Italian interiors of Ripley await your viewing on Netflix.

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