Italy Today

Discovering Italy’s beauties through the eyes of movie directors

Abruzzo, Basilicata, Sicily, but also Liguria and Tuscany: a long list of movies talking about Italy

Claudia Astarita

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There are many ways to discover Italy's beauties and one that is becoming increasingly popular is through the eyes of movie directors. Several Italian cities and villages have been chosen as locations and sets for famous foreign films.

A good starting point would be the central region of Abruzzo, where both "The American" with George Clooney and the historic "Lady Hawke" have been filmed. Going South, we will be able to discover the quaint villages of Basilicata, which were used to represent ancient Israel in "King David" and "the Passion of Christ" by Mel Gibson, and to offer an adequate landscape to the incredible adventures of 007 in "Quantum of Solace". Luc Besson and Francis Ford Coppola preferred Sicily as a background for their masterpieces.

If we are travelling North instead, we are able to spot the areas where "The Wolf of Wall Street" by Martin Scorsese was shot: the most picturesque scenes were actually set in Portofino, Cinque Terre and Chiavari - all located in the coastal Liguria. Tuscany was also chosen by some well-known film-makers: Florence, a city of art and heritage, has been immortalized in "Bobby Deerfield" by Sydney Pollack, "Portrait of a Lady" by Jane Campion and "Obsession" by Brian De Palma, a chapter in the James Bond series were set. The beautiful cities of Milan and Turin in Piedmont and Lombardy were selected to locate "The Italian Job" by Peter Collinson. Venetian palaces, streets and channels have made it the setting for many movies such as "Othello" by Orson Welles and the "Merchant of Venice" with Al Pacino, "Death in Venice", "Nikita" , "The Tourist," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," and various episodes of the James Bond saga.

Rome of course is the most loved town by film directors and at least 130 films have been shot here, including some unforgettable scenes included in the Oscar-winning film "La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty)" by Sorrentino and the "Dolce Vita" by Federico Fellini, tow Italian directors who become Hollywood stars. Furthermore, no one can forget the ride on a Vespa in "Roman Holiday", the chases between the churches and Castel Sant'Angelo in "Angels and Demons" or the stunning scenery of "To Rome with Love" by Woody Allen.

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