Many of us don’t need an excuse to visit Italy, even after multiple trips. However, getting in the mood before your getaway by watching some great movies is a fun way to prepare for an Italian escape.
Therefore, we are working on a series of posts dedicated to Italy as seen in the movies. We are going to start with a selection of relatively recent films that showcase Italy at its finest. If you have an suggestions, let us know and leave a comment! Tell us your favourite film from the list. Which movies would you like to see mentioned in the future? Likewise, share this post on Facebook or Instagram.
Look out for Part Two where we’ll be showcasing our favourite classic movies that make you want to visit Italy!
Life is Beautiful (1997)
Directed and starred in by Roberto Benigni, featuring Nicoletta Braschi
This bitter-sweet movie set in Italy during World War Two sees Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni play a Jewish Italian bookshop owner and father. The talented actor spends most of his time in the movie employing his furtive imagination and sense of humour to make life in a concentration camp bearable for his young son. Using comedy to explore the horrors of the Holocaust, the film generated much critical acclaim, and more than a tear or two among movie-goers.
The film was set in the beautiful town of Arezzo in Tuscany. You can easily visit Arezzo on a day trip when staying in the Chianti area. Il Vigneto Retreat is particularly convenient for visiting Arezzo as the bio wine resort lies just 20 minutes away from the Tuscan town.
It’s easy to agree that “life is beautiful” while enjoying a luxury getaway in Tuscany.
Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Directed by Ryan Murphy, starring Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem
This best-seller turned box-office hit stars Julia Roberts as real-life author Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert’s memoirs by the same name have inspired men and women alike to throw off their limitations and travel solo. While “finding oneself” by traveling may sound like a cliché, it is a popular cliché for a reason. Try it. You might just discover something wonderful about yourself.
Eat, Pray, Love was filmed on location in Italy, India and Indonesia. Scenes in Italy saw Julia Roberts film mainly in Rome and Naples, though the star enjoys her own private relationship with Italy. She was an honoured guest at Castello Vallone, a stunning villa located in the Chianti region of Tuscany. Flick through the coffee-table book about the villa upon arrival and look out for photos of the Oscar-winning actress.
Talented Mr Ripely (1999)
Directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Cate Blanchett
Despite its dark theme, this blockbuster thriller fabulously showcases quite a few Italian destinations including Rome, Venice, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. There’s plenty of eye-candy in terms of scenery as well as sculpted actors.
Set in the late 1950s, Matt Damon’s character weaves a web of deception and impersonation leading to murder. As the story unfolds, audiences get to enjoy the glitz and glamour of 1950s’ Italy, with plenty of sailing and schmoozing on yachts to inspire you to visit Italy.
Together, the town of Positano and other villages on the Amalfi Coast create the fictional town of Mongibello where much of the movie is set.
A Room with a View (1985)
Directed by James Ivory, starring Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter and Denholm Elliott
The 1985 Merchant-Ivory film adaptation of E.M Forster’s novel first published in 1908 provides plenty of inspiration to visit Florence and Tuscany. The narrative alternates between England and Italy. It follows the story of Lucy Honeychurch as she struggles with the restrictive Edwardian culture of the time. More struggles arise as she starts to fall in love with a passionate, free-spirited man.
You can find a fabulous room with a view of the Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini at the Palazzo Residence staying in the heart of Florence. Or, for rural views like the movie, choose Villa Traquilla where you can wander its gorgeous gardens imagining that you are part of a Merchant-Ivory production.
It’s time to visit Italy and create your own story.
Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)
Directed by Audrey Wells, starring Diane Lane and Raoul Bova
The kind of mid-life-crisis turned good we all dream about, Under the Tuscan Sun is a movie adaptation of Frances Mayes’ memoirs . It tells the tale of a recently divorced writer — much like the character in Eat, Pray, Love — who buys a Tuscan villa. Whether you watch the film or read the book, it provides lovely insight into Italian life as seen from the eyes of an outsider.
The majority of the movie is filmed in Cortona, Tuscany. However, there are also scenes of the Amalfi Coast, Florence, Rome and Montepulciano. Cortona is an easy day trip from most destinations in Tuscany and Umbria, though guests staying at Borgo Incantevole and Villa Nascosta will find it particularly convenient for a visit.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Directed by Marc Forster, starring Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko
Finally, the James Bond franchise needs no introduction. Nothings speaks more of chic jet-setting and glamour than 007.
Quantum of Solace is certainly not the only Bond movie to be filmed in Italy (nor the last). Nonetheless, the sensational scenes showing the annual Palio Horse Race in the Piazza del Campo, Siena followed by a dramatic rooftop chase certainly come to mind.
Other iconic Bond movies that were filmed in Italy include: From Russia with Love (1963), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979) and Casino Royale (2006).
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