Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

Written by on January 13, 2021 in Italy Stories


Venice's Rialto bridge in the evening lights - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

Travelling is difficult at the moment. But we can still immerse ourselves in the extraordinary beauty of Italy through watching films at home. So let’s take a cinematic journey through Italy with this great collection of light-hearted comedies, romances and even some action movies.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010)

spaghetti with tomato sauce

Julia Roberts falls in love not just with Rome, but also with her spaghetti, pizza and her gelato. Liz Gilbert (Julia Roberts) thought she had everything she wanted in life. A home, a husband and a successful career. Now newly divorced and facing a turning point, she finds that she is confused about what is important to her. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali.

Her first stop is in Rome where she becomes the part of a fun and kind group of people through her Italian language teacher. She enjoys the food and discovers the joys of  “la dolce far niente”. Personally I found the book much better than the movie. However it is enjoyable to see the beautiful locations!

A Room with a View (1985)

Florance, Pontevecchio at night with the charming lights - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

In this British drama, based on the novel by E.M. Forster, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter), a young upper-class Englishwoman, is touring Italy with her older cousin (Maggie Smith). Capturing the romance and beauty of the age of the Grand Tour, this movie is set in the early 1900s.

Disappointed that her room in a Florence hotel lacks a view on the Arno River, so she agrees an exchange with some other English guests, Mr Emerson and his son George. George’s non-conformism, free-spirit and the vitality of the city of Florence impress Lucy. Stunning views of Piazza della Signora and Pontevecchio. The “Pensione Bertolini” is actually the Hotel Degli Orafi where you can spend a few nights and relive the romantic scenes of the movie.  Room 414 is on the 4th floor and has a magnificent terrace.

Roman Holiday (1953) 

Colosseum and piazza Venezia in Roma


This iconic movie with Audrey Hepburn (Ann) and Gregory Peck (Joe) from 1953 is one of the greatest films of the XX. Century.

It tells the story of the adventures of Ann, a princess who sneaks away from her diplomatic duties to visit Rome as a normal tourist. Joe finds her wondering on the streets and helps her to achieve her dream. The most emblematic scene is Ann riding a Vespa together with Joe, whizzing along past the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. A great way to see Rome during the ’50s, through the eyes of a delightful, innocent and enthusiastic young woman.

Letters to Juliet (2010)

Verona, Juliet's balcony with the bronze statue of Juliet in the garden

While young Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is visiting Verona with her busy fiancée, she visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet Capulet. Finding one such letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write to its now elderly author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave). Inspired by Sophie’s actions, Claire sets out to find her long-lost lover, accompanied by her disapproving grandson (Christopher Egan) and Sophie.

The film is a real love story that is inspired by a “service” that actually exists in Verona called “Juliet’s Club“. Every year thousands of letters from all over the world are sent to “Juliet, Verona” and a team of volunteers reads, replies and keeps all the messages.

We get to see some of the beautiful sights of the city of Verona, including Juliet’s house and its famous balcony. Then the scene shifts from Verona to the Tuscan countryside.

Only You (1994)

colourful houses of Positano on the Amalfi Coast - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

This romantic comedy starring  Marisa Tomei (Faith) and Robert Downey Jr (Peter) takes place in Rome, Venice, Tuscany, the Amalfi coast. It finishes in the stunning seaside village of Positano.

The story is slightly silly maybe, but it is a very charming, innocent and funny romantic comedy.

As a teen, Faith was told that her destiny is a man named Damon Bradley. Years later, Faith is about to marry another man and a Damon Bradley calls to wish them all the best. Faith blows off the wedding and follows Damon to Italy to find her destiny.

A perfect movie to switch your mind off and have some fun while admiring a beautiful tour of Italy without leaving your sofa.

Under The Tuscan Sun (2003)

Rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

When Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) learns her husband is cheating on her, her life is turned upside down. Her best friend, Patti (Sandra Oh) encourages Frances to take a tour of Italy to bring her out of a deep depression. She agrees to go and during her tour on the bus ride through Tuscany she impulsively decides to purchase a rural Tuscan villa in Cortona. And so starts the tale of how she rebuilds the house as well as her life.

Under The Tuscan Sun was filmed in multiple locations in Italy, including Cortona, Florence, Montepulciano, Positano and Rome.

The Trip to Italy (2014)

dishes of Italy - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

The is a sequel of the original series called The Trip. A travel and food tasting journey around northern England with comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In this series they embark on a culinary road trip through Italy. They visit locations in Piemonte, on the Ligurian Riviera, in Rome, on the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Genova etc. It is very entertaining if you like English humour, impressions of famous people and Italian food & wine.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

amazing coasts of Ischia and Sorrento

The film is set in the 1950s. Its a thriller set in Ischia, Rome, Venice, Naples, Sorrento, Livorno, Palermo and Sanremo. A real virtual tour of some of the most magnificent Italian towns.

Dick Greenleaf (Jude Law), son of a wealthy New York family lives “La Dolce Vita” in Italy with his beautiful expatriate girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow). Dickie’s father asks Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) to bring his errant playboy son back home to America. Dickie and Marge never imagine the dangerous extremes to which Ripley will go to make their lifestyle his own.

One of the best scenes is with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Rosario Fiorello singing the song “Tu vuo fa’ l’americano” together in a club in Ischia.

The Italian Job (1969)

Turin setting for the Italian job film

The original Italian Job movie staring Michael Caine dates back in 1969. A group of English robbers arrive in Turin to arrange a robbery. This film helped Turin to become famous all over the world. The most symbolic scene is the car chase when the robbers evade the police. In a fleet of Mini Coopers they, race over the domed roof of the Palavela indoor arena and on the test track built on the roof of Fiat’s Lignotto factory.

Other locations include the Aosta Valley’s Great St Bernard Pass. The the legendary finale with the bus hanging over a cliff was filmed near Ceresole Reale, on the Colle del Nivolet. A great winding mountain road just 50 km from Turin.

In 2003, a remake was released that kicks off in Venice where some expert robbers manage to steal some golden ingots. They escape from the police through the Italian Alps. Then the scene shifts to the US.

The Two Popes (2019)

Vatican - the Pope's window and the Piazza di San Pietro

This Oscar-nominated movie chronicles the relationship, and differences, between Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and his successor, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce). Behind the Vatican walls, Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.

The two great actors and a first-rate script elevate The Two Popes above its dry subject matter. The film was shot in various locations in Rome. A full-sized replica of the Sistine Chapel’s interior was created at the Cinecittà studios.

007 – James Bond movies 

James Bond film sets - Lake Garda views, Siena il Palio, Venice with the gondola and lake Como villa in the hills

James Bond movie directors Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman liked shooting in Italy.

Daniel Craig especially has had the pleasure of filming a lot in Italy, including for the upcoming “No Time to Die”. Set in Matera in South Italy, the movie is coming out in 2021.

In Spectre (2015) there is a famous car chase in Rome along the river Tiber.

In the Quantum of Solace (2008) the opening scene is another car chase from Torbole, Lake Garda, through the Fantiscritti marble quarries of Carrara. Then all the way down to Siena in Tuscany holding its annual horse race, il Palio di Siena.

Casino Royal (2006) was filmed at two villas on Lake Como. In Villa del Balbianello, Bond recuperates after his torture by La Chiffre. The Villa is near Lenno, which is on the western shore of Lake Como. This Villa has also featured in Star Wars movies. Villa La Gaeta, near San Siro and Menaggio also made an appearance before things headed over to Venice for the finale.

Venice was also the setting for the gondola chase in “Moonraker”, in which also appear the famous Hotel Danieli and Piazza San Marco.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Trevi fountain with evening lights on - Take a virtual visit to Italy through these fabulous films

A masterpiece by Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita has become a “Made in Italy” icon and a wistful emblem of the fabulous Rome of the 1960s. This memorable film tells the life of Marcello (Marcello Mastrianni), a gossip journalist attracted by society life and beautiful women. The main setting is the well-known Via Veneto and its bars where the celebrities and trendy people hang out. The best known scene is that of Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain.

The word ‘Paparazzo’, referring to intrusive tabloid photographers comes from the name of the photographer character in the film. The title of the film itself “La Dolce Vita” has become a commonly used saying to define a rich and luxurious lifestyle.

Cinema Paradiso (1988) 

castle in Bagheria, Sicily

“Cinema Paradiso” is a charming drama about friendship, childhood and the magic of cinema. Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio are the standout performers in the movie. The film is set after the World War II in Sicily.

It’s a beautiful movie of two mischievous souls and their mutual love for cinema. The story builds around Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), the projectionist of a village cinema called “Cinema Paradiso”. And a sweet young boy Toto/Salvatore (Salvatore Cascio). They complemented each other for one’s lack of his father and the other’s loss of his son. Legendary Ennio Morricone composed the beautiful soundtrack. You might need to prepare some tissues, its a bit of a tear-jerker this one!

Marriage Italian Style (1964) 

beautiful view over Naples with Vezuvio vulcano at the background

Mastroianni and Sophia Loren cemented their status as one of the all-time great screen couples in Vittorio De Sica’s classic movies. This comedy is set largely in Naples. It tells the story of a rich man Domenico, a suave, bourgeois business owner and his mistress, Filumena, a Neapolitan prostitute. Filumena will stop at nothing to keep her man. Their tempestuous 22-year relationship unravels when Domenico intends to marry another woman—but Filumena has other plans. Loren makes an Oscar-nominated performance in this movie.


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