The legendary TV drama The Sopranos first hit our screens back in 1999, and it did so with a bang.
It got us hooked from the very first episode with its stellar performances, production quality, and its unusual portrayal of an Italian Mafia capo.
The popular crime/drama series introduces us to Tony Soprano, a slightly overweight and balding mob guy living in suburban New Jersey that’s struggling to navigate personal affairs and professional power plays in a manner that hadn’t previously been portrayed on TV.
The hit HBO series was among the first to center on a deeply flawed male antihero, paving the way for shows like Breaking Bad, The Shield, and House of Cards, among others.
But it wasn’t just Tony Soprano — and James Gandolfini’s unforgettable acting — that made The Sopranos one of the most popular TV shows of all time.
The wide pool of interesting supporting characters added to the show’s brilliance and complemented the series’ near-perfect plot.
From the very first episode, we’re introduced to the rest of the Soprano family: Tony’s wife Carmela, and their kids, Anthony Jr. and Meadow.
But it’s another ‘main character’ that stole our hearts — and one that remained a fan favorite throughout the show, despite its lack of lines — namely the Soprano family home.
The Soprano house: a character in its own right
The house is, in a way, the first character in the series that we’re introduced to, right at the end of the opening sequence.
From the very start, Tony and his New Jersey home are inextricably linked, and the iconic mansion is the setting for many joyous and humorous scenes, as well as the backdrop for some of the darker moments in the life of the Soprano family.
The first episode of the series gives us a glimpse into Tony’s seemingly-normal family life, starting with his early-morning ritual of walking down the long and winding driveway to pick up the newspaper.
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The end of the driveway has reached cult status for the show’s fans, who come here to take pictures of themselves in a robe, picking up the paper like Tony.
The first episode is also when we get to see the backyard in all its splendor, with a gorgeous swimming pool nestled among tall lush trees that offer privacy and seclusion.
The pool is Tony’s territory; it’s here that he swims with wild ducks, has his first panic attack, throws parties and family gatherings, stands on guard to protect the family from a bear, and, in one of the darker scenes filmed here, saves his son from an attempted suicide.
The heart of the Sopranos’ home is, however, the kitchen.
This is where all the important and unimportant conversations take place, where Carmela cooks up delicious Italian food for the family, and where Tony has his cereal every morning.
The kitchen is where the family members come together, and the amount of food served here might explain Tony’s weight.
The kitchen is even more important than the dining room, where the family gathers every evening with Tony at the head of the table.
These dinners are a lot more uptight and formal, as the Sopranos always have over friends or family for dinner. Putting various strong Italian characters in the same room means that these family dinners almost always end up in a fight.
Another important area of the house is the basement/laundry room. This is where crucial, secret conversations take place between Tony and his ‘associates,’ as it’s the only place in the house where he feels safe that nobody’s listening.
That hypothesis is valid until the first episode of the third season, when FBI agents successfully bug Tony’s basement and join in the fun. The scene is filmed flawlessly and features one of the best song mashups we’ve ever heard.
The real-life Sopranos house is in North Caldwell, NJ
Just like Walter White’s home in Albuquerque, the iconic home of the Soprano family is quite real. It’s located in North Caldwell, New Jersey and has long been owned by the Recchia family.
Famously set 14 Aspen Dr in North Caldwell, New Jersey, the Sopranos house was home to Patricia and Victor Recchia, who lived on the property since they built it in 1987.
The two opened the doors of their North Caldwell mansion to the production crew and cast of The Sopranos, though they likely didn’t expect it to reach cult status — and have their home forever immortalized in TV history.
The 5,600-square-foot house and its fabulous-yet-cozy backyard was used for filming somewhere between 30 and 50 times throughout the show’s six seasons.
Most of the interior is recognizable from the TV series, even if the indoor scenes were mostly shot at Silvercup Studios, where the producers constructed a replica of the home.
According to the owners, the cast and crew were quite fond of the house, and Gandolfini greatly enjoyed filming his poolside scenes.
The Recchias had only wonderful things to say about their interactions with the production crew and cast:
“Throughout the years of filming, the cast and crew were always thoughtful of us and respectful of our home, helping us create such wonderful memories.”Victor Recchia, owner of the Sopranos house
As expected, there were quite a few unusual — and highly memorable — moments.
“Among them, filming that had an actual bear in our backyard (his name was Bonkers and he had a trainer next to him),” Victor Recchia shared in an email.
Specs and features of the famous TV house
Besides the obvious nostalgic feeling that the house gives us die-hard fans, it also has plenty of modern amenities to offer.
The New Jersey property that played the role of the Soprano house throughout the show’s six-season run is located in North Caldwell, a borough in northwestern Essex County, New Jersey.
Clocking in at 5,637 square feet, the house has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a powder room, a two-car garage, and a detached guesthouse.
The detached guest house adds one extra bedroom, and there’s also two two-car garages on the property and, of course, the pool.
The homeowners told the Times that property taxes are $34,005/year.
The owners have actually tried to sell the house in recent years, giving us, laypeople, the option to live in Tony Soprano’s mansion. They listed the property for sale back in June, 2019 — asking $3.4 million for the iconic TV home.
But public records show no recent sale deed, so it’s likely that the Recchias have since decided to take it off market, and continue owning the home that made TV history in their backyard.
Too bad, since it does look like a great place to live — and raise a family. The only negative to this house, as far as we can tell, is that you’ll never know if that car parked at the end of your driveway is packed with FBI agents waiting to tap your house while a Henry Mancini/The Police mashup plays in the background.
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