Throughout cinematic history, Italy has been captured on the silver screen enchanting movie buffs the world over. We have hand-picked a selection of some of our favourite movie destinations.
Universally considered the most beautiful city in the world, Venice has enticed directors from around the globe. The Grand Canal shines with a memorable star-studded chase including, “The Italian Job“ with Mark Wahlberg, “Moonraker“ with Roger Moore as James Bond, and the famous propeller scene from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Other famous films showcasing the beauty of Venice include “Don't Look Now“ with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider“ with Angelina Jolie, “The Tourist“ with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and “The English Patient,“ winner of the Best Picture Award in 1997, starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche.
In the chilling 1999 remake of “The Talented Mr Ripley“, director Anthony Minghella relies on a myriad of Italy's most spectacular landmarks for cinematic effect. The stunning seaside town of Positano was used as the inspiration for the fictional port of Mongibello. Sociopath Tom Ripley (Jude Law) stays at the luxurious St Regis Grand Hotel in Rome to maintain one-half of his double identity. Later in Venice's historic Caff√® Florian (which has been serving customers since 1720), Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) voices her concerns over Dickie's (Matt Damon) disappearance.
Piazza San Marco: St Regis Grand Hotel, Piazza della Repubblica
Caffe Florian: Piazza San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia, Italy
Procida and Salina
Set off the coast of Sicily, filming for “Il Postino“ took place on two separate islands: Procida in the Bay of Naples; and Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off the northern coast of Sicily.
“Il Postino" portrays the story of a shy postman who develops a transformative friendship with the exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The tiny bar in which Mario Ruoppolo (Troisi) romances barmaid Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) is real-life Bar La Taverna del Postino on the seafront of the fishing village of Marina di Corricella. Salina is the second largest of the Aeolian Islands, but sadly Pollara Beach where much of the filming took place, has suffered erosion thanks to curious tourist boats.
Bar La Taverna del Postino, via Marina Corricella, Marina Corricella, Procida
In a remote corner of Southern Italy lies the city of Matera in the Basilicata region, the setting for the crucifixion scene in the polarising 2004 film “Passion of the Christ“ by Mel Gibson. Gibson was much taken by the Sassi di Matera, stone houses carved out of the caves and cliffs said to date back more than 9,000 years, and this spectacular destination is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today, many buildings in the Sassi are crumbling and abandoned but a growing number have been restored and transformed into homes, restaurants and boutique cave hotels. Historians will delight in the Casa Grotta di Vico Solitario (off Via Bruno Buozzi) which gives a fascinating insight into cave furnishings and living conditions of the 1950s.
Image: Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute during sunset, Venice.