'Hotel Portofino' Will Open Its Doors for a Third Season

The cast of Hotel Portofino Season 2 around a poker table.

Hotel Portofino Season 2 Key Art

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

Period drama Hotel Portofino may have initially been billed as a sort of Italian version of Downton Abbey, but two seasons in, the series has settled into its own groove. A softer sort of show that often feels like a gentle escape, its beautiful setting and small-scale dramas make for an easy watch --- a fact that certainly helps explain its success, as well as the fact that it was renewed for a third season well before its second actually aired in America. 

Set on the Italian coast during the 1920s, the series follows the story of Bella Ainsworth, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist who has moved to the breathtakingly beautiful seaside town of Portofino with dreams of opening a quintessentially British hotel. The period drama leans into the long-established literary tradition of comic and idiosyncratic British travelers abroad and their various adventures, while exploring the liberating influence of Italy’s enchanting culture, climate, and cuisine on these more reserved foreign guests. But the show is also occasionally laced with darker themes and more serious storylines, understandable as it is set against the historical backdrop of the rise of fascism in Mussolini's Italy.  

The show was officially renewed for a third season back in February, following the conclusion of the second's U.K. broadcast. (Season 2 only just wrapped its run here on PBS last week.) Season 3 will reportedly see Bella and Cecil, now estranged, being forced to come together to figure out a way forward. Their negotiations are further complicated by the fact that Cecil has inherited his father’s title and now has an enormous inheritance tax bill to pay. However, Bella is reveling in her newfound independence and formulates her own plans for a new beauty venture. The series builds to an explosive climax with a party at the hotel, where one guest will get their ultimate revenge.

Lily Frazer as Claudine dances in a musical number in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Lily Frazer as Claudine dances in 'Hotel Portofino' Season 2

Eagle Eye Drama Ltd

Star Natascha McElhone (Ronin) will once again lead the cast as Bella Ainsworth. Mark Umbers (Home Fires) plays her charming but dangerous aristocratic husband, Cecil, and Lily Fraser (Saint Maud) will return as the hotel’s most famous guest singer turned movie star, Claudine Pascal.

"Hotel Portofino is Eagle Eye’s first original commission, so it’s wonderful to see the show being embraced by so many international audiences," Jo McGrath, CCO of Eagle Eye Drama, said in a statement. "The series has a strong ensemble cast of warm characters, beautiful locations, and compelling cliffhanger plotlines – all qualities that help explain its international appeal with audiences. Season three is set to be our most sumptuous yet, with new passions and old rivalries threatening the future of the Ainsworth family.”

All six episodes of Season 3 will once again be written by Matt Baker, who created the original Hotel Portofino series. Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino --- yes, he's the Walter behind "Walter's Choice" --- will again oversee the production as executive producers.

The new season was filmed over the summer along the Croatian coastline, where the show has been predominantly produced since the beginning, as well as in Portofino, Italy. There is no news yet about when we can expect to see Season 3 on either side of the pond, but a U.S. broadcast sometime in mid-2024 certainly seems possible. 

Hotel Portofino Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming with PBS Passport. 

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Hotel Portofino

Step into the 1920s at the Italian Riviera for drama and mystery in the aftermath of WWI.
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Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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