Italy has long been famous as a favorite filming location for Hollywood movie makers. I love movies and am particularly interested in the behind the scenes information and shooting locations. When I can recognize places I have been in Italy as I watch a film, I get a little excited.
The classics which easily come to mind for many of us include Cleopatra, Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, Cinema Paradiso, Summertime, and of course, The Godfather.
In the past 17 years, quite a few popular American films have been shot on location in Italy, and as a result, tourism in the smaller towns has dramatically increased. Here are just a few of the more well-known films made in Italy.
Call me by Your Name,nominated for 4 Oscars, is a story of first love between a 17-year-old student and the older man, who is his father’s research assistant. The movie was filmed in the Italian city of Crema, as well as other northern cities such as Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, and other smaller villages.
American Assassin, is an action thriller film about counterterrorism starring Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien. Some of the locations were filmed in Rome.
Wonder Woman features scenes filmed in the southern regions of Italy, including the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Castel del Monte near Bari in Puglia, and Matera in Basiicata. Many of these were enhanced by CGI technology.
Dan Brown’s Inferno was filmed in Florence and Venice and anyone who has been to those Italian cities will immediately recognize the familiar scenes.
The highly anticipated action adventure James Bond film Spectre was filmed in various international locations. The scenes shot in Italy centered in and around Rome and Vatican City. I recognized plenty of familiar landmarks in Rome while watching the night car chase scenes.
Mel Gibson’s remake of the classic movie Ben-Hur was filmed and shot on location in Matera in the Basilicata region. Over 1000 locals starred as extras in the film.
The Trip to Italy was a comedy that took Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on a road trip through Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and ending in Capri.
Some exterior scenes of Pompeii were shot in Naples and Pompeii.
The Great Beauty, or La Grande Bellezza, was the 2014 Oscar winner that everyone is still talking about. The cinematography of the scenes in Rome is breathtaking. I could see that movie over and over just for the scenery.
The Woody Allen movie, To Rome with Love was filmed in Rome, beginning with the first scene in Piazza Venezia. Other locations include Trastevere, the Rome Termini station, Trevi Fountain, and other famous places.
In The Tourist, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp star in a thriller set and filmed in Venice. Scenes were filmed on a balcony overlooking the Grand Canal and near the Rialto Bridge.
Eat Pray Love was filmed partly in Italy in the Naples area. One of the scenes was filmed in Pio Monte della Misericordia Church and another at the famous pizzeria , L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele.
The American, starring George Clooney, was filmed in the Abruzzo region of Italy, in the small towns of Sulmona and Castel del Monte.
Letters to Juliet was shot in the lovely town of Verona, and since the success of the movie, Verona has even more tourists than before. Most of the film was actually shot in Tuscany near the Castelnuovo Berardenga area.
When in Rome, starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, obviously was shot in various famous locations throughout Rome, many of which are easily recognized.
The popular Angels and Demons starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, was shot in various locations in Rome.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon was filmed in Montepulciano, and the huge success of the movie added to the the curiosity of tourists, with even more of them flocking to this town, which had already become famous with the 2003 film, Under the Tuscan Sun.
Quantum of Solace, the James Bond thriller, was filmed in the Italian Alps, with the opening chase scene taking place in the town of Carrara and along Lake Garda. Other scenes in the film were shot in the Tuscan city of Siena during the yearly Palio in Piazza del Campo.
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ was filmed in Matera since the landscape could easily be made to look like Jerusalem.
The Merchant of Venice, starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons, was filmed in Venice, Italy in such prominent locations as the balcony of the Doge’s Palace, the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge.
This remake of the original 1969 film, The Italian Job, starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, features scenes shot in Venice on the Grand Canal and at Campo San Barnaba and Marco Polo airport.
Under the Tuscan Sun was shot in several locations, one being Montepulciano, in Piazza Grande, where Diane Lane was mesmerized by the traditional festival flag throwing contest. Of course her beloved Bramasole (in reality VillaLaura) was located and filmed in the hill town of Cortona, which has not been the same since. A small village, basically unknown prior to this film, Cortona has had hundreds of thousands of visitors since becoming famous in this film. Many of them have actually purchased homes here, not unlike Diane Lane’s character in the film.
The Bourne Identity, starring Matt Damon, was shot in various locations in Europe, including Rome. The opening scene, in which Damon’s character was rescued by a fishing crew, was filmed at the Imperia harbor on the northwest coastline of Italy in the Liguria region.
The crime thriller film, Hannibal, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Anthony Hopkins, was filmed in Florence at various easily recognized locations. The scene in which Pazzi was hanged was shot in the Palazzo Vecchio, and Anthony Hopkins’ character, Dr Fell, purchased a silver bracelet on the Ponte Vecchio.
How many of these movies have you seen? Which of these is your favorite?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.
Grazie and ciao
Godfather Trilogy filmed in: Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola, numerous places in Sicily.
Right on Joe….I didn’t go back that far for the article or it would end up to be 5000 words!!!
Reblogged this on Livedinitaly's Blog and commented:
Yes, and yes, and no and …
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Fun to revisit and reconsider. Italian movies are terrific, well there is that one. . . The Tourist, hahaha. Love to start trouble.
Great post. I have seen most of the films on your list but I really enjoyed the Italian film, “Life is Beautiful.” It ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Have you seen this one? I’m assuming it was filmed in Italy.
Thank you Jim. I love that movie too. It was released in 1999 so I didn’t include it here. Great film and yes it was filmed in Arezzo, Italy
Fun post! I have seen most of these. I wrote a post about Letters To Juliet, called, writing inspiration. 🙂
Thanks Penny. I’ll have to check out your post.
Great Post! I particularly enjoyed Roman Holiday and When in Rome! 🙂
Lots of good films in your list but I take exception with The Tourist Margie as that was a complete turkey!!! They used lots of different locations in Venice but mixed them all up so they walked into one building and then looked out the window of a completely different one! A hideous film but thanks for the rest of the list!!!!
A film that bad rapidly joins the ranks of cult classic. Perhaps it was a film method to indicate the confusion of the tourist, that is, where am I, where am I going, come to think of it, WHO am I?
You’re clearly a little bit more charitable than me, it just ended up annoying us but the silver lining was that we got to see lots of beautiful Venice so I suppose we should be thankful for that!
That was the main benefit. I agree. Belissima Venezia
Thanks Bonnie for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am a sucker for any movies filmed in Italy
I think a lot of others agree with you and the story line was confusing as well. I mostly liked the scenes from Venice.
Grazie, Raleigh Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for checking it out
Fabulous, fun post!!
The Talented Mr. Ripley was a favorite of mine. The small island of Procida off the coast of Napoli was one of the many locations used in the film.
I’d still like to get to Procida. Looks so colorful
Great post, Margie. You know I love movies so this was really interesting to me. I always wondered if Hannibal was really shot in Italy. I’m sure this one required a lot of research, and I know I’m not the only one who appreciates your effort. This one was chock full of good stuff. Thanks for sharing.
Aww… Thank you Stephanie – I know you like the movies, so I appreciate this. It was fun to write the post
There were many more movies before these. One neat aspect of actual Italian movies is that their actors look like people. Who actually is surrounded by people who are dressed to the nines while escaping whatever, who stay clean nomatterwhat, and who’s make up is absolutely perfect at all times? Oh and all of whom have perfect noses and no wrinkles no matter how old they are? Give me real people if you want me to fall into the moment. There is more to Italy than the magnificent architecture. It is all attitude.
Once again, Bonnie, you say it so eloquently..Thank you for your perspective and appreciation
Thank you Bonnie. I always enjoy your perspective. And you’re right about the attitude!!
Great post! My husband’s family works in the film industry in Rome (special effects) and have taken part in many of the movies you listed. Great and unique article!
Thank you Diana for reading and taking time to comment. Sounds like a great job you describe!!
Nice post. Among films I would also include Miracle of Santa Anna filmed near where I live in Lucca province made in 2008 and with Spike Lee.
Interesting, Francis. Thank you. I was not familiar with that film. Lucca is a beautiful place. i was just there in October!
I’m not sure that it is such a good idea to remake Ben-Hur!
I am sure that the people of Matera like the idea…but we’ll see how it goes
How fascinating! Love the Lake Garda chase scene in the 007 film, and I’ll have to watch the Bourne Identity again to catch that opening glipmse of Imperia 🙂
Yes Chrissie – I was equally fascinated in Carrara when i saw the cuilding thatw as demolished in that James Bond flick.TY
I love this post Margie! What a great list 🙂 I have seen almost all of them *nerd alert*
LOL I know you like the movies, Ishita. Glad you enjoyed this post