'Hotel Portofino' Season 3 to Return for Soapy Summer Fun

The main cast of 'Hotel Portofino' Season 3 seated in the drawing room

The main cast of 'Hotel Portofino' Season 3

Eagle Eye Drama

After seeing if the autumn weekends would be better for visitors with Season 2, Hotel Portofino is returning to where it belongs for Season 3, the height of summer. The Eagle Eye Drama original (one of the few they produce that isn't an English-language remake of a popular foreign-language series from sister company Walter Presents) has quietly grown into a PBS fan favorite despite not getting nearly the same amount of marketing as shows that air under the Masterpiece banner. The combination of over-the-top soap opera, gorgeous Italian vistas, and period clothing has produced a perfect escapist fantasy, and viewers are unwilling to say "Ciao." 

Like most period dramas, Hotel Portofino advances one year per season, with each season beginning the next summer in Italy as the Ainsworth family throws open the doors to the upscale hotel matriarch Bella is working to establish on the edge of the titular Italian coastal city. Set during the interwar period, Season 1 began in 1926, four years after Benito Mussolini took office and his fascist thugs had gained a stranglehold on the country. Season 2 advanced to 1927, and Season 3 will begin in 1928. However, with this fact, there needs to be a bit of historical background, especially for Americans, who are taught the "roaring Twenties" ended with the Great Depression in October 1929 and the Great Stock Market crash.

While 1929 sealed the end of a decade of excesses and helped create the conditions for World War II, the downturn began a full year earlier in Europe. America had been funding the post-war boom across the pond since the end of the war, but as conditions started to deteriorate, those investments began to pull back, tariffs rose, and Europe began to lose money in a massive hurry. The Global Depression hit Germany first but quickly spread, especially among the elites of the U.K., precisely those Bella's posh hotel aims to bring in.

Here's the synopsis for Hotel Portofino's third season:

Bella is preparing for her father and sister’s arrival but is thrown off when Cecil appears requesting a divorce. Over the weeks, Bella must decide her future as well as avoid fascist leader Danioni. But with the Wall Street stock market crash, things get worse, and Bella and Cecil lose everything. Dark secrets are exposed during another adventure in this sun-soaked 1920s Italian drama.

Natascha McElhone once again returns as Bella Ainsworth, with Mark Umbers as conartist and philanderer husband Cecil, Oliver Dench as her wastrel son Lucian, and Olivia Morris as her spoiled, widowed daughter Alice. The two hotel regulars who have appeared in every season so far include Lily Frazer as American singer and actor Claudine Pascal, who has become Bella's BFF, and Daniele Pecci as the rich Count Albani, who is Bella's advisor and Alice's love interest. Louisa Binder is Constance March, the downstairs servant employed as Alice's nanny and Lucian's love interest. Pasquale Esposito plays Signor Danioni, the local fascist government agent trying to get Hotel Portofino shut down.

Matt Baker created and wrote the series, which is once again directed by Adam Wimpenny. Jo McGrath and Walter Iuzzolino, aka Walter & Friends, the same people who bring you Walter Presents, produce it for Eagle Eye Drama.

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Hotel Portofino

Step into the 1920s at the Italian Riviera for drama and mystery in the aftermath of WWI.
Hotel Portofino: show-poster2x3

Hotel Portofino Season 3 premieres Sunday, July 28, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET on most PBS stations and streams on the PBS app and the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel. PBS Passport members will have access to all six episodes on premiere day to watch as a binge. The series will air/stream weekly on Sundays through the beginning of September.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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