Italy has a long and glittering history within the film industry, from the glorious Cinecitta to the light hearted Telefoni Bianchi, Italy continues to thrive as a hub for cinematic expression. But not only has it produced some incredible stand-alone pieces as well as favourite genres like the spaghetti western, it has been the back drop of international films that have reached extraordinary fame. Whether you have booked a hotel in Sicily or have a short break in Tuscany on the cards, one of the world’s famous films will have a location there.
The Godfather- 1972
The Godfather is a movie that needs little to no introduction, often cited as one of the best films of all time, especially in American Cinema, this movie transformed the gangster genre. Though there have been many reports that filming was not all smooth sailing, they did manage to film on location in Sicily for the relevant parts. Though the town of Corleone was too built up for the film’s historical needs, they used Savoca and Forza d’Agro instead.
Inspector Montalbano- 1999- 2017
Sicily’s version of Sherlock Holmes has a much warmer setting than Victorian London. As Inspector Montalbano continues to search for the criminal behind the crimes, he wanders through sun soaked baroque architecture. Though the novels the series is adapted from were set in fictional Vigata, originally based on the author’s home town of Porto Empedocle, the studio chose to film in picturesque Ragusa instead.
IL Postino- 1994
Based on a novel and previous film, Il Postino directed by Michael Radford moves the fictional story of Pablo Neruda and an unlikely friendship out of Chile and onto a small Italian Island. As the friendship blossoms, Neruda and Mario overcome the gulf in education. The 1994 movie was filmed in Procida, and Salina which is one of the Aeolian Islands.
Il Gattopardo- 1963
Based on the novel by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa published posthumously in 1958, Il Gattopardo has been lauded as some of Italy’s most important modern fiction. The plot follows some of Sicily’s most tumultuous history, the unification of the two kingdoms of Sicily. The film is set all over Sicily, the author’s home island, Cimina, Palermo and Rome also feature.
La Dolce Vita- 1960
It is impossible to list Italian film locations and miss out La Dolce Vita. The most famous scene in the Trevi Fountain was filmed early in the year and the water was therefore rather chilly. This led to rumours that one of the cast had to drink a fair amount of alcohol before the water was tolerable. La Dolce Vita is set around Rome and mostly filmed either at Cinecitta or around the city.
This historical epic, though mainly set in Italy, has limited locations in the country. With ancient Rome being filmed in Malta and scenes in Morocco, the key flash backs are filmed in Tuscany. This beautiful landscape fits the nostalgic and romanticised element of the film and if you visit Tuscany, it is easy to see the appeal of the area.
La Grande Bellezza- 2013
A star studded cast travelled all over Rome to film this award-winning movie questioning the meaning of life. Not only does it showcase some of the eternal city’s lesser known monument, opting for Fontana dell’Aqua Paola over the more famous Trevi or four fivers, it also takes views from Tuscany as well. This film was met with much critical acclaim, winning academy awards and golden globes.
Hannibal – 2001
Set ten years after Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal drew in audiences to see the continuation of the crime thriller that had shocked the cinematic world. The early part of the film is set in beautiful Florence, at odds to the darkness of the actions that happen in its walls. Palazzo Vecchio is the location for a particularly gruesome scene.
One of the world’s most famous secret agents gets to go to fabulous locations in the name of queen and country, but over his many years in service, he has returned to Italy for some truly stunning scenes, which we’ve listed below.
The spy who loved me – 1977
With the villain’s base (Stromberg) in Sardinia, what better excuse does Bond need to visit the glorious beaches and azure stretches of sea. With his leading lady (Barbara Bach) in tow, Bond sets off for some stunning car chases and even stays in the Cala di Volpe Hotel.
Casino Royale – 2006
In Daniel Craig’s first Bond role, we go back to the earlier happenings in Bond’s career that does much to explain the suave and womanising character of later stories. Through a series of unfortunate events, Bond and Vespa end up in the glorious city of Venice, the perfect location for her final betrayal.
Spectre – 2015
The most recent of the James Bond sagas sees an early and humorous scene in the film following a typical car chase through the capital city’s winding streets, though held up by a Fiat driver and the general confusion of Rome’s roads, it is not long before he is back to business to get to the bottom of attacks in Mexico City.
The Tourist- 2010
A film starring two of the biggest names in Hollywood – Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, it defies genres as it straddles the line between Comedy and Drama and the Director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck defines it instead as ‘a travel romance with thriller elements’. With scenes in Paris and Venice, this film truly expresses the beauty of the waterlogged city and as Venice has always been wrapped in mystery, the narrative perfectly fits with its natural allure.
The Italian Job – 1969
This classic marries some of the UK’s best actors with Italy’s most incredible scenery. With a heist planned for the city of Turin, the wily British crew navigate the Alps and the Mafia in an effort to steal several million dollars’ worth of gold. While the ending is a cliff-hanger (literally), it showcases the stunning countryside around Turin.