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Embarking on a journey of self-discovery? Look no further than the path traced by Elizabeth Gilbert in her transformative memoir, Eat Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia. This introspective voyage, beautifully portrayed in the film adaptation Eat Pray Love, offers a roadmap to self-forgiveness, self-love, and a renewed zest for life.
Wego welcomes you aboard as we navigate through the destinations that shaped Elizabeth’s journey, illuminating them for you
Elizabeth Gilbert’s story may begin in New York City, but the winds of change guide her to Southern Europe. Italy emerges as her initial destination on this transformative journey.
As we delve into the Italian chapter of the film, we find Liz atop Castel Sant’Angelo, taking in the panoramic view of Rome. Constructed between AD 135 and 139 as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, Castel Sant’Angelo later served as a burial site for the Antonine emperors. Perched on the banks of the Tiber River, it continues to guard one of Rome’s ancient bridges, Ponte Sant’Angelo.
This historic edifice, once a military fortress and prison, now stands as a museum.
For those captivated by Renaissance art and history, Castel Sant’Angelo opens its doors from 9 am to 7:30 pm daily. The castle, spread across five floors, houses a collection of historical artworks, including the renowned sculpture of Archangel Michael on the roof. While the film offers but a glimpse of this, you can immerse yourself in a day of art and culture by booking tickets through the official website.
Via dei Portoghesi
Elizabeth’s Italian residence is nestled at 18 Via dei Portoghesi, in close proximity to Piazza Navona. This area, dotted with hotels, offers a chance to experience the same enchantment that Liz found in the film, or perhaps discover your own unique charm.
To truly walk in Elizabeth’s footsteps, a visit to Piazza Navona is a must. Situated in the heart of Rome, this square is a testament to the city’s beauty. A leisurely stroll here offers glimpses of exquisite Baroque art and architecture, immersing you in the quintessential Roman ambiance.
Ristorante Caffè Domiziano
Adjacent to Elizabeth’s apartment is Ristorante Caffè Domiziano at Piazza Navona. This café is where Liz forms her first friendship with Sofi during her year-long quest for self-discovery. Perhaps you too can forge new friendships over coffee and cake in this charming setting.
Following her morning coffee, we next see Elizabeth at the Fiumi Fountain, also known as Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or the Fountain of Four Rivers. The fountain’s four rivers symbolize the major rivers of the four continents under Papal authority: the Nile for Africa, the Danube for Europe, the Ganges for Asia, and the Río de la Plata for the Americas. Piazza Navona is also home to two other fountains – the Fountain of the Moor and the Fountain of Neptune.
Sant’Agnese in Agone
Elizabeth finds a moment of solitude on a bench outside Sant’Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona, sharing her gelato with two nuns. This Baroque church, whose construction began in 1652 and concluded in 1859, is steeped in Rome’s rich history. It hosts religious services and classical concerts, inviting visitors to marvel at its Baroque art. The church welcomes visitors from 9 am to 7 pm on weekdays (except for Mondays when it opens from 1 – 3 pm), and from 9 am – 8 pm on weekends (closed from 1 – 3 pm).
An aerial view of Rome in the film reveals the iconic Colosseum, the first amphitheater of its kind. A visit to Italy would be incomplete without exploring this historic landmark.
Antica Trattoria Della Pace
At Antica Trattoria Della Pace on Via Della Pace, we see Elizabeth dining with her Italian teacher. This restaurant continues to serve patrons today, offering a chance to savor the same flavors that Liz enjoyed.
Osteria Dell’Antiquario, Piazzetta Di San Simeone
Osteria Dell’Antiquario, located in Piazzetta di San Simeone via dei Coronari, is where Liz learns to embrace her inner child. She casts aside dining etiquette and calorie counts to indulge in pasta, cheese, and wine.
Santa Lucia Ristorante, Largo Febo
Santa Lucia Ristorante, situated in Largo Febo near the end of Via di Santa Maria Dell’Anima, is where Liz dines with her newfound friends in Rome. Here, she orders in fluent Italian for the first time. The restaurant, with its old-world charm, still welcomes guests today.
Mausoleum of Augustus
As highlighted in the film, the Mausoleum of Augustus was built by Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus to serve as his final resting place. Founded in 28 BC, this historic site is situated on Piazza Augusto Imperatore.
The Mausoleum has witnessed numerous transformations since its inception. Initially abandoned and looted during medieval times, it was repurposed over the years as a fortress, a garden, an amphitheater, and even a concert hall in the early 20th century. Following the demolition of the surrounding neighborhood, the Mausoleum was restored to its original appearance between 1936 and 1938, marking the construction of Piazza Augusto Imperatore.
The ruins of the Mausoleum of Augustus provide Liz with a serene space for introspection. It is here that she realizes, “A ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” For those seeking tranquility and a sense of rebirth akin to a phoenix, the Mausoleum is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased from the Mausoleum’s official website.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Via Cesare Sersale
Before bidding adieu to Italy, Elizabeth and her friends make a memorable trip to Naples. Their destination? L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele on Via Cesare Sersale. Here, Elizabeth and her friend Sofi indulge in the simple pleasures of life over good pizza, pasta, and wine.
Established in 1870, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is revered as one of the finest and oldest pizzerias in Naples. Its culinary excellence has earned it a Michelin star, making reservations a necessity for those planning a visit.
This gastronomic adventure marks the end of Elizabeth’s four-month sojourn in Italy. Although she departs from Italy, the lessons she learned about self-understanding and forming a healthier relationship with food continue to influence her life journey.
Following her culinary and cultural immersion in Italy, Elizabeth Gilbert sets her sights on India, the next destination in her journey of self-discovery. Her objective? To delve deeper into her spiritual side and foster a more profound connection with the divine.
The Ashram Hari Mandir – Pataudi
To protect the privacy of the holy place and prevent it from being overcrowded by tourists, Elizabeth Gilbert never actually revealed the true location of the ashram she stayed at. However, the scenes of the Hari Mandir Ashram we get to see onscreen were shot at the Pataudi. The cast and crew stayed at the Pataudi Palace while they were filming there if you want to make your way to the palace, which used to be the home of the former ruling family of Pataudi. It is located in the town of Pataudi in Gurgaon district in the state of Haryana, India.
Mirzapur Village – Uttar Pradesh
This is where we get to see Elizabeth and Richard enjoy chai and Thumbs Up.
Mirzapur is in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located by the Ganges River, surrounded by several hills and waterfalls. It presents itself with quite a beautiful bucolic scene if you want to escape for a day or 2 within India.
Vembanad House – Kerala
One of the final locations we see Elizabeth visiting outside the ashram during her stay in India is the Vembanad House, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Balakrishnan.
Vembanad House is a bungalow ensconced on three sides by the vast Vembanad Lake. The property, enveloped by paddy fields, tropical gardens, charming villages, and beautiful temples, offers rooms for booking through their official website. This serene retreat is located in the state of Kerala.
Often referred to as “God’s Own Country,” Kerala boasts an abundance of picturesque locations for visitors to explore. Each destination in this verdant state offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty of nature.
As Elizabeth Gilbert’s transformative journey unfolds, she finds herself drawn to the enchanting landscapes of Indonesia. Here, her spiritual exploration that began in India continues, taking on new dimensions in the culturally rich and diverse archipelago.
But Indonesia offers more than just a continuation of her spiritual journey. It is here, amidst the lush tropical forests, serene beaches, and bustling local markets, that Elizabeth encounters love.
The narrative of the movie commences in Bali, where we witness Elizabeth cycling amidst verdant paddy fields and visiting a healer named Ketut Liyer. Ketut prophesies her return in a year, a prediction whose significance Elizabeth only comprehends later. A year on, we see her back in Bali, lighter in spirit yet eager to continue her journey of self-discovery.
Liyer Spirit House, Ubud
Upon her return to Bali, Elizabeth’s first stop is Ketut Liyer’s Healing House, also known as the Liyer Spirit House, located in Ubud, Bali. Ketut Liyer, a real-life healer who resided there, passed away at the age of 102. His son, Mr. Nyoman, continues his legacy and traditions. The Liyer Spirit House, a serene sanctuary for healing, is a short 15-minute drive from Ubud Market.
The Ubud Market, or Pasar Seni Ubud, is a bustling marketplace where we see Elizabeth and Philippe strolling in search of coffee. This is also where viewers catch a glimpse of the “Temple of Prosperity” — Pura Melanting. Situated opposite the Puri Saren Royal Ubud Palace, the Ubud Market is open daily and offers a wide array of handmade goods crafted by local artisans.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Ubud
The picturesque fields where Elizabeth is seen cycling are the Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these terraced landscapes offer a tranquil setting for hiking, cycling, and savoring authentic Balinese coffee.
Padang Padang Beach
The beach scenes in Bali were filmed at Padang Padang Beach, also known as Pantai Labuan Sait. This popular surf spot is located in the village of Pecatu on the south-west coastline of the Bukit Peninsula. Unique for its secluded section accessible only via a flight of stairs through a hollow rock, this beach offers a distinctive charm captured in the movie.
The house where Elizabeth stays is now listed on Airbnb, allowing fans of the movie to experience the same serene setting. Rooms can be booked through the official website.
Reflecting on the onset of Elizabeth’s journey in Italy, we recall an old Italian joke she shared while standing atop Castel Sant’Angelo. It’s about a man who prays fervently before a giant saint’s statue, pleading, “Dear saint, please… let me win the lottery.” Eventually, the statue, driven to exasperation, comes to life and implores the man, “My son, please… buy a ticket.”
This joke, now understood by Elizabeth, symbolizes her own journey. She has “bought” three tickets, each representing a leg of her journey in Italy, India, and Indonesia.
While we may not be Elizabeth Gilbert, we can certainly embark on our own journeys to these three remarkable places. Each location, steeped in rich history and culture, offers us the opportunity to delve deeper into the essence of the joke and perhaps arrive at our own conclusions. As we traverse these lands, we might just find ourselves, just as Elizabeth did, in the process. Happy traveling!