I cant tell you how many times I have been watching a movie, or TV or even a [Super Bowl] commercial and started pointing at the TV and screaming
“LOOK LOOK IT’S [insert Italian town here]!!” (Pitigliano, for that awesome Fiat commercial)
A lot of movies and shows are set in Italy, can you blame them, it’s absolutely stunning! Before you go to Italy, here are my top 10 movies you need to see in order to be truly in the know!
- Under The Tuscan Sun: Frances Mayes
I am a real sucker for this one, such a girl power movie! After her marriage falls apart, a poet and her friend take a trip to Italy together. Falling in love with the lush scenery and the colorful people, she buys and restores and abandoned villa in the beautiful countryside.
Filmed in: Cortona, Positano, Umbria
- La Vita E Bella ( Life is Beautiful )
This may be one of the most amazing films ever made, both hysterical and serious, Life is Beautiful is a classic. Set in the 1930s a Jewish book keeper marries a woman in a city near his and have a beautiful son together. When German forces occupy Italy, he imagines that the holocaust is a game and the prize for winning, is a tank, all to help his son survive the horror of it.
Filmed in: Arezzo, Terni
- A Room With A View
This movie was remade in 2007, but the original from 1985 is largely more popular. Lucy, a young Englishwoman, makes her first visit to Florence, Italy in the early 1900’s. There, she meets a quiet yet eccentric young man named George Emerson. Upon her return to England, Lucy must decide whether to follow through with her marriage to her stoic fiance, Cecil, or follow her heart and her growing attraction to George
Filmed in: Florence
- The English Patient
Beginning in the 1930’s, “The English Patient” tells the story of Count Almásy who is a Hungarian mapmaker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics that is later revealed in a series of flashbacks while Almásy is on his death bed after being horribly burned in a plane crash
Filmed in: Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano
- La Dolce Vita
This one is an old black and white film, but an absolute must! Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome’s elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer.
Filmed in: Rome and Viterbo
- Bread and Tulips
A bit for “sake of”, a bit for choice, Rosalba, young and apart from anything a housewife of Pescara, during a bus trip after she found herself alone and…forgotten in a highway café, decides not to wait for her husband and sons to come back to pick her up but instead decides to find her own way home. She is a little offended that she has been forgotten by her family and has been told by her husband to stay put so, rebelling a little she finds herself hitch-hiking direct for Venice
Filmed in: Venice
- Tea with Mussolini
Luca to grow up to be a proper young man, much like the English. Luca has lived in an orphanage since his mother’s death, death a concept that Luca does not yet understand. As such, he often runs away looking for his mother. On a mutual agreement between Paolo and Mary, Mary becomes Luca’s guardian, she who will receive help in raising Luca by her fellow Scorpioni and financial help from Paolo as needed.
Filmed in: San Gimignano
- Only You
A schoolteacher believes she is destined to spend her life with a man named “Damon Bradley.” Just days before she is to marry a podiatrist she may not love, she receives a phone call a Damon Bradley who is on his way to Venice, and Faith decides to spend her Labor Day weekend pursuing her dream man.
(The main character looks a lot like my mom, so I really like this one)
Filmed in: Tuscany, Rome, The Amalfi Coast
- Letters to Juliet
An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered “letter to Juliet” — one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover’s Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by a the “secretaries of Juliet” — and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter.
Filmed in: Verona, Pienza, Siena
- When in Rome
This is probably the newest of the 10 I’ve listed, although I think I tried to include some newer movies with some older classics. Beth is a young, ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love. However, on a whirlwind trip to Rome, she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love, and is then aggressively pursued by a band of suitors.
Filmed in: Rome
- Extra Credit: The Borgias (TV Show)
Okay, I’m cheating here, this isn’t a movie, but don’t get mad at me yet! This is a good one, and I couldn’t leave it out! It follows the Borgia family as they rise to power in the Roman Catholic church. Rodrigo Borgia uses bribery, with the help of his son, to secure his position as Pope Alexander VI. But he has gained enemies in the College of Cardinals, who begin to plot against him.
Not filmed in Italy