While science fiction and fantasy may not be much in vogue with Italian contemporary writers, the locations of Italy have been used multiple times in these genres by big American productions. Lucasfilm, the production company founded by George Lucas, has certainly done the most work here shooting sequences that include key scenes in each of the three films in the new Star Wars trilogy (Star Wars: Episodes I, II and III) and, more recently, the spin off - Solo: A Star Wars Story.Print itinerary
In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, the marble columns, immense staircases and sumptuous frescoes of the Reggia of Caserta built in 1752 for Charles VII of Naples create the interior of the Royal Palace of Naboo belonging to Queen Padmé Amidala. Here high-level negotiations are held in the attempt to avoid the looming conflict. Italy was also used in Episode II for the exterior sequences of Planet Naboo, with the romantic location of Lake Como, between Tramezzo and Griante on the Western shore, providing the backdrop first for Anakin and Padmé’s Meadow picnic and the terrace of the spectacular Villa del Balbianello on the tip of the peninsula di Lavedo (Lenno), for their secret wedding at the end of the film. Built in 1787 on the site of a Franciscan monastery by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini, the villa today belongs to FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano.
At the end of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Gorge Lucas used a combination of live action footage of Mount Etna erupting, models and computerized special effects to create the planet Mustafar, the setting for a moment that is key to the entire saga: the duel between Anakin and his now-ex teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi which marks the definitive passing of the former to the dark side of the Force. Here Anakin attacks his wife Padmé, almost killing her, then is defeated and left to his fate in the incandescent lava by a tearful Obi-Wan who denounces his disappointment in his pupil and in his failure to fulfil the great prophecy which identified Anakin as the restorer of balance to the Universe. Anakin will be saved thanks to Palpatine who sentences him to the dark side, transforming him into Darth Vader. A baptism of fire – quite literally – that would not have had the same epic nature without the presence of the Sicilian volcano.
A young Han Solo, still looking for his place in life, is the focus of the spin off Solo: A Star Wars Story. Several scenes for the film were shot in the Belluno Dolomites. Here the production set up headquarters in the area of Lake Misurina, in the Auronzo di Cadore area, where scenes were shot on Lago d’Antorno near Misurina; near the Three Peaks of Lavaredo, on Monte Piana; in the village of Misurina, and in Val di Fassa in the Trentino Dolomites. The peaks can be seen in a series of breath-taking chase sequences and spaceship battles when Han joins a group of smugglers.