For years, Italy has been Hollywood’s default European go-to and given the wealth of cities seemingly unchanged by time, rolling vineyard landscapes and countless opportunities for boat chases through Venice, it’s easy to see why so many productions set up shop in this beloved country.
Classics from Roman Holiday to Ben-Hur were filmed in Italy, however the past 15 years has seen a resurgence of blockbuster film making, resulting in smaller towns receiving a boat load of tourists.
Whether you’ve booked your Italian escape or are simply looking to be inspired, read on for our behind the scenes guide to well-known films made in Italy.
Bond, James Bond
James seemingly has a number of hobbies, from gambling to driving, Martini binges to dating; it transpires that MI6 also promotes regular jaunts to Italy.
One of the most recognisable bond cars is undoubtedly the Lotus Esprit, in which Roger Moore hurtles around the north coast of Sardinia on the Costa Smeralda, before driving into the Mediterranean ocean to reveal he had in fact been driving a submarine, although the underwater scenes were in fact shot in the Bahamas. The most recent incarnation of our favourite spy has seen Daniel Craig racing around the Colosseum in Rome, jumping rooftops in Siena and a chase in Venice. Speaking of Venice chases, Bond isn’t exactly a stranger around those parts, given that Sean Connery in From Russia with Love and Roger Moore in Moonraker have both experienced their fair share of blurred Venetian sights.
As runner-up to France for the title of world’s most romantic country, Italy certainly takes first place when it comes to picturesque landscapes, particularly useful when trying to woo Angelina Joli. Several scenes of box office blunder The Tourist, were filmed on a balcony overlooking the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge in Venice. The mediocre Eat Pray Love starring Julia Roberts was filmed partly in Naples with scenes shot in Pio Monte della Misericordia Church and at the famous L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. The slightly more successful Letters to Juliet was shot in the picturesque town of Verona (of course) and has resulted in even more people flocking to the town, if however you’re wanting to avoid the crowds, most of the movie was in fact filmed in Tuscany near the Castelnuovo Berardenga area.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon was filmed in the medieval hill town of Montepulciano, resulting in flocks of teenagers now visiting this quaint abode, an abode that was already notable for the 2003 movie Under the Tuscan Sun.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli
We could not talk about Italy and movie making, without mentioning our favourite band of lovable rogues, the Sicilian mafia.
The most famous production surrounding the organisation is undoubtedly The Godfather. Following Al Pacino’s faux pas over dinner, he was forced to take a Sicilian vacation. The most iconic scenes were shot in Savoca in which the quaint Bar Vitelli and church are still standing and reside within a village so small it is seemingly untouched by tourists. Close by is Forza d’Agro, another small village seen in The Godfather Part II, where a young boy escapes, flees to America and grows up to be Robert De Niro.
Finally, we’ll take a look at a renowned classic, The Italian Job. The opening sequence of the Lamborghini was created in the Italian Alps, where it exploded in a tunnel in Aosta. Further trouble caused up the Italian Alps, saw the demise of an Aston Martin DB4 and Jaguar E-Type — heartbreaking. The infamous Turin portion of the movie was centred around a genuine traffic jam caused by the crew, enraging shopkeepers around Palazzo Carignano, resulting in the crew paying off the mafia. The rooftop leap was filmed on the Fiat factory’s roof, designed to look like a Turin street and the chase through the sewer was staged in England, although the entrance and exit were filmed in Turin. The famous ending, thought up by Paramount executives but hated by director Peter Collinson and Michael Caine, was filmed above a reservoir at Ceresole Reale, about 40 miles northwest of Turin.
Star in your very own off screen Italian adventure
Choose one of our Fully Escorted Tours, which include all flights, transfers, accommodation and entry fees to all sights, plus complete ABTA & ATOL protection
|Jewels of Sicily
||8 days||from £1029pp|
|Italy via the Swiss Alps
||11 days||from £1199pp|