Where Have I Seen That? International Movies Set In Italy

Italy has been repeatedly considered the perfect set for a lot of unforgettable international cinematographic productions

by Sabrina Pusterla

In recent decades, Italy has been repeatedly considered the perfect set for a lot of unforgettable international cinematographic productions, due to its fascinating cities and gorgeous natural beauties spread across the country.

Despite there are many Italian directors who decided to portrait our country such as Vittorio De Sica or Federico Fellini, there is a long list of foreign colleagues that produced their features in Italy, providing an international allure to the country’s amazing ancient ruins and to the wide range of uniques landscapes, from mountains to seas.

In particular, the following Italian regions and cities appeared in world-renowned movies that you have probably already seen:

Abruzzo

The Name of the Rose (1986), starring the famous Scottish actor Sean Connery, is the adaptation of the namesake book written by the important Italian author Umberto Eco. The movie was partially set in Germany, but some scenes were shot in Italy, more precisely in Rocca Calascio, a small and remote ghost town in Abruzzo.

Basilicata

The Passion of the Christ (2004) by Mel Gibson and with Monica Bellucci in the role of Mary Magdalene, has been entirely produced in Italy in the city of Matera (Basilicata), which is also known as “the City of Stones”. Thanks to its unique scenario, Matera has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another recent biblical movie was set in the same place: Mary Magdalene (2018), starring the talented couple composed by Joachim Phoenix and Rooney Mara. This colossal also shows Gravina in Apulia and the cities of Naples and Trapani.

Tuscany

There are four renowned movies based in amazing Tuscany: the first one is A Room with a View (1985) with Helena Bonham-Carter, set in Florence. Stealing Beauty (1996) instead, featuring the young and delicate beauty of Liv Tyler, portraits the Tuscan countryside, as well as another movie called Under The Tuscan Sun (2003) with Diane Lane and the Italian actor Raoul Bova.

The famous and critically acclaimed film The English Patient (1996) with Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche, has been totally produced in Italy between the Tuscan cities of Forte dei Marmi and Pisa, but also in other cities such as Trieste, Venice, Rome – Cinecittà Studios – and Arezzo.

Sicily

A Bigger Splash (2015) is a movie by the Italian Oscar director Luca Guadagnino, starring his friends Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes. This thriller, inspired by The Swimming Pool with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, is set in Sicily, more specifically in the undiscovered island of Pantelleria.

Rome

Angels and Demons (2009), the world-renowned cinematographic adaptation of the first book in the Dan Brown trilogy, is basically a film where Rome is the co-star. It’s a blend of thriller and mystery, set between the historic city of Rome and the Royal Palace of Caserta, this latter used as a display replacing the inaccessible Vatican City.

There are two soft movies that were also shot in the capital: the first one is Eat, Pray, Love (2010) with Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts. This comedy mostly shows Rome, but also some streets of Naples. The second one is To Rome with Love (2012) by Woody Allen, with Alec Baldwin and Penelope Cruz. Finally, the latest James Bond movie Spectre (2015) with Daniel Craig and Monica Bellucci, is also partially set in Rome and we can’t forget his Aston Martin flashing down the Roman streets along the Tiber River.

Venice

A little part of The Italian Job (2003) with Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton, shows Venice. Anyway, the festival city has been portraited in all its glory in Casino Royale (2006), although Daniel Craig and Eva Green have their final kiss on the shores of Lake Como. Four years later, this unique city was chosen for another Hollywood movie called The Tourist (2010) with Johnny Depp and the beautiful Angelina Jolie playing in a sentimental spy story between Paris and Venice.

Inferno (2016) the last movie in the Dan Brown trilogy and sequel of Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones, has been mainly produced in Venice and Florence, but it also shows some scenes in another beautiful European country: Hungary.

Verona

Letters To Juliet (2010) with Amanda Seyfried, used the romantic and lovely Verona in the northeastern Veneto region as its background. As the title suggests, this movie is a soft and sweet love story taking place in the city famous for William Shakespeare’s best-known play, Romeo and Juliet.

Milan, Crema and Lombardy

Luca Guadagnino has always shown an immense love for its country. Indeed, his most famous movies have all been set there. I Am Love (2008) with Tilda Swinton shows an unprecedentedly dark Milan. Last but not least, Call Me By Your Name (2017) with Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, is mainly set in the city of Crema, but also in Sirmione on Lake Garda and in Bergamo, Lombardy. Also thanks to this movie, the small town of Crema is now able to welcome a great number of tourists from all over the world.

What’s next?

During this summer, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston have been at Lake Como for a future Netflix production called Murder Mystery.

Let’s see if, in addition to these cornerstones of the history of cinema, Italy will also become the perfect set for the growing TV series industry!