Audrey Hepburn’s vespa rides with Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday incontrovertibly influenced multiple generations into supporting cinetourism at a time when cinetourism as an idea did not actually exist. Ever since William Wyler’s film, every international production that has shot in Italy appears to have a marked preference for the picturesque! There is too an unimaginable number of films that are not blockbusters featuring mega stars and art city itineraries. There are films starring actors who would only become famous years later and stories that offer glimpses of the Belpaese worth exploring by those not born in Italy.Print itinerary
In Only You (Amore a prima vista), a delightful Marisa Tomei grows up believing that her future husband has a certain name and surname and spends her life looking for him which leads her to Italy. We see her pass by a turning point on the Strada di Strove in Monteriggioni, near Siena and spend time in San Gimignano. In Rome, she stays with a friend in a hotel (actually Palazzo Maccarani Odescalchi) and meets the then virtually unknown Robert Downey Jr. in via Giulia where he gives her information about her beloved. They will all eventually meet again in Positano at the panoramic Le Sirenuse Hotel which overlooks the bay of the jewel of the Amalfi Coast.
This is not far from where the events play out around a wedding celebration in Love is all you need. Patrick and Astrid have chosen to marry in Italy in a villa belonging to his father: this is Villa Il Pizzo, a 18th century residence surrounded by lemon trees in Sant’Agnello di Sorrento (province of Naples) in the Gulf of Naples. The film also includes locations in Borgo di Marina Grande (Sorrento) where Ida clears the air with her son and the Chiostro di San Francesco, in Sorrento, where Philip speaks with his son Patrick. Ida and Phillip meet at Sedil Dominova, an ancient noble residence built between 1200 -1300 in Via San Cesareo in the heart of Sorrento.
The coastline was also popular as the final setting for the Italian adventures of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip to Italy, which they reach after passing through Pompei, Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (SA) and the Terrazza dell’Infinito, a natural overlook which offers a spectacular view of the Amalfi mountain. Their trip, winding through great meals and drinking sessions, actually started in the sun-kissed vineyards of Monforte d’Alba, an area noted for the production of Barolo wine, 40 km east of Cuneo in the Langhe. The duo even found the time for a cultural sidebar, visiting the Villa Saluzzo Mongiardino, an early 18th century palace in Albaro, a neighbourhood in east Genova and home to Lord Byron in 1822. East of Genova on the Riviera di Levante, the multicoloured houses of Camogli overlooking the Paradise Gulf welcomed the two visitors. Nearby the fishing village of San Fruttuoso provided the perfect setting for a culinary stop on the beach. Then they were off again on the traces of Byron with a boat trip along the end section of the Riviera di Levante known as the Golfo dei Poeti. Heading South, through the gently rolling hills of Tuscany, Coogan and Brydon stop near Pisa for lunch and then in Pievescola, hamlet of Casole d’Elsa (province of Siena), where they stayed in Relais La Suvera whose origin dates back to the High Middle Ages when it was a fortified castle.
Letters to Juliet, inspired by the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, sees Sophie heading off on holiday to Verona with her boyfriend Victor. The demands of his work, however, mean that the pair are often apart and, as she wanders the city, by Piazza delle Erbe, Ponte Scaligero, Piazza Bra and, of course, the Arena, Sophie discovers that four women gathers the letters left in the wall of Juliet’s house (via Cappello 23) to read them and answer the people who are looking for comfort from the most unfortunate of lovers. Sophie decides to try herself and finds one from fifty years previous, left by Claire Smith: she sends an answer and, several days later, Claire and his grandson Charlie, go to see her. Claire and Sophie immediately spark a friendship that takes them through Tuscany in search of Lorenzo Bartolini. Before meeting the right one, they visit Villa Arvedi in Grezzana, a private residence now conference centre, just outside Verona. On arriving in Siena, they visit the historic centre including piazza del Campo and piazza San Giovanni facing the baptistery and the area around the Duomo, staying at the luxurious Relais Borgo Scopeto in Caparzo (province of Siena). Here they find the vineyard of the ‘right’ Lorenzo Bartolini who produces Brunello di Montalcino.