Venice, Rome, Naples… Italy is brimming with gorgeous locations, all boasting breath-taking scenery, decades of cultural heritage and mouth-watering traditional food. Italy is truly a feast for all the senses! Whether you’re planning your next trip or hopelessly fantasising about Italy, is there any better way to satisfy those cravings than by escaping into a good movie set in Italy? One that combines the beauty of Italian scenery and a gripping plot?
There is no shortage of movies about Italy and considering the astounding beauty of its surroundings, this is unsurprising. To make it easier, we’ve narrowed down this extensive list to the top 15 movies filmed in Italy, starting with the most recent releases and working its way back. Without question, these Dukes Avenue favourites are guaranteed to get anyone thinking about bella Italia!
- The Dukes Avenue Top 15 Movies About Italy
- 1. The Two Popes (2019)
- 2. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
- 3. When in Rome (2010)
- 4. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
- 5. Angels And Demons (2009)
- 6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
- 7. The Italian Job (2003)
- 8. The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
- 9. La Vita è Bella / Life is Beautiful (1999)
- 10. Only You (1994)
- 11. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
- 12. A Room With A View (1985)
- 13. The Godfather (1972)
- 14. La Dolce Vita (1960)
- 15. Roman Holiday (1953)
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The Dukes Avenue Top 15 Movies About Italy
1. The Two Popes (2019)
Set in the recent past, The Two Popes dramatises the events which unfolded within the Vatican walls, in light of the infamous Vatican leaks scandal. Driven by frustrations towards the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests Pope Benedict XVI‘s (Anthony Hopkins) permission to retire. Instead, Pope Benedict urges his future successor to reconsider his retirement, whilst confiding a secret of his own. This movie beautifully captures the opposing characters of two influential Popes of our time whilst treating audiences to the beautiful interior of the Vatican and the breath-taking landscape of Rome.
Based on Anthony McCarten‘s play The Pope, this 2019 film was very well received by critics and audiences alike. In fact, both leading actors, as well as McCarten’s stunning screenplay adaptation, were nominated for their stellar work at the Golden Globes, Academy Award and British Academy Film Awards. Yet, for enthusiasts of Italian scenery and architecture, it is this movie’s stunning Italian backdrop that steals the show.
2. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Based on the André Aciman’s novel by the same name, this coming of age story was filmed and set in northern Italy. The story unfolds during one steamy summer in 1983, when 17-year old, American-Italian Jewish boy Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) embarks on a passionate romance with 24-year old, American Jewish scholar Oliver (Armie Hammer). As their love blossoms beneath the hot, Italian sun, their lives are forever altered.
Showing off some of the most gorgeous locations in Italy, Call Me By Your Name captures Italy’s stunning architecture in Crema and the unique character of Italian countryside. Each scene is a delight to watch, as the camera captures one stunning view after the other.
3. When in Rome (2010)
Recently single, Beth (Kristen Bell) takes a trip to Rome to attend her sister’s wedding. Having just been dumped for being too career-focused and ditched by best man, Nick, Beth takes a drunken stroll to the Trevi fountain – also known as the fountain of love – and steals a few coins. Little did she know that her actions would set a curse in motion, one she’ll need to undo whilst roaming around Rome and being chased by handsome Italian men.
Taking audiences from New York to Rome, this movie shows off Italy’s most beautiful historic sights with comedic flair. This light-hearted romantic comedy is perfect to watch with friends over a glass of wine and Italy-inspired snacks.
4. Eat, Pray, Love (2010)
Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling memoir, this inspirational movie stars Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert: a freshly divorced woman who decides to create the change she needs in her life. Taking a courageous leap forward, she embarks on a spiritual, as well as physical, journey that helps her to reclaim her life and find happiness.
Whilst Italy is not the only country Liz Gilbert visits, it is certainly shown off at its best. As she rediscovers herself and samples some of the most mouth-watering food Italy has to offer, the movie invites viewers to drink in the beautiful scenery of Rome and Naples.
5. Angels And Demons (2009)
Based on Dan Brown’s best selling novel Angels and Demons, this action-packed mystery follows the Brown’s famous protagonist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) as he works with a nuclear physicist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) to solve the murder of Father Silvano Bentivoglio. Tasked with preventing a terrorist act against the Vatican and uncovering dark secrets, Langdon and Vetra must run all over Italy in order to solve the clues and prevent millions from getting killed.
For those who love art, history and Italian antiques this movie is a definite must-see. With a fast-paced plot that gives audiences the opportunity to drink in all of Rome’s beauties and a front row seat to all its historical gems, Angels and Demons is the perfect combination of mystery and culture.
6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
When recently divorced young writer, Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany, her life is turned upside down. As she works to fix up her newly purchased villa and start her life afresh in Italy, Frances comes across various interesting characters and of course, a hint of romance. Based on Frances Mayes’ 1996 memoir of the same name, this movie immerses the viewer in the Tuscan way of life, with its gorgeous landscapes and unique culture. Viewers will find it hard to resist taking a leaf out of her book and buying their own Tuscan villa to enjoy!
7. The Italian Job (2003)
Originally released in 1969 and then remade in 2003, The Italian Job is an action movie all about thieves, Italian gangsters and gold. Professional safecracker John Bridge (Donald Sutherland), assembles the perfect team to steal $35 million worth of stolen gold bars from a safe in Venice, whilst it is being guarded by its own band of intimidating Italian gangsters.
After defeating the odds and successfully pulling off the heist, one of the team members, Steve (Edward Norton), double crosses his team by attacking them to take the gold for himself. Left for dead in Italy, team mastermind Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) and the rest of his crew plan their elaborate revenge strategy to win back their gold and give their former team member what’s coming to him. Shot on location in the unique city of Venice, this movie combines the beauty of the Italian landscape with the thrill of action-packed gold heists.
8. The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is quite the talented young man. After pretending to be a Princeton graduate, New Yorker Tom is sent to Italy to retrieve handsome millionaire Dicky Greenleaf (Jude Law) and take him back to America, at the request of Dicky’s father. Failing in his errand and seduced by Dicky’s privileged lifestyle, Tom is soon compelled to use his many talents to secure the delights of Dicky’s life for himself, and he is prepared to take some very extreme measures.
Apart from the opening scene in New York, this movie was shot entirely in Italy featuring Naples, Positano, Venice, Rome and Sicily. Indeed, the unique Italian scenery forms a gorgeous backdrop to this movie’s thrilling plot!
9. La Vita è Bella / Life is Beautiful (1999)
This multiple-award winning Italian movie is possibly one of the most sublime movies ever made. Set in rural Italy during World War II, a Jewish waiter and his young son fall victim to the terrible events of the Holocaust. Wishing to lighten the burden of being trapped in a concentration camp for his son, Guido (Roberto Benigni) convinces his son that they are both part of a game in which the winner wins a tank.
An unparalleled tale of love, positivity and the power of imagination, this movie elicits laughter and tears in equal measure. Acted out by Italians and shot in Italy, this movie gives viewers an authentic taste of Italian culture whilst memorialising one of the most important events in history.
10. Only You (1994)
When still in her teens, Faith (Marisa Tomei) is told by a fortune-teller that the love of her life is a man name Damon Bradley. Despite searching for the allusive Damon, 14 years later Faith finds herself engaged to a boring podiatrist. Yet, before the wedding, she receives an unexpected congratulatory call from her fiancé’s old classmate called Damon Bradley, who happens to be flying to Italy. Determined to meet her destined match, Faith rushes after her soulmate and follows him straight to Italy. Its romcom plot, combined with the spellbinding splendour of scenery that shows off Venice, Rome, Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast, makes this one of those feel-good movies one can re-watch time and time again.
11. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Cinema Paradiso is an Italian masterpiece. Filmed on location in Italy and Sicily, audiences are taken on a journey of how a Sicilian filmmaker first fell in love with the magic of movies. Combining the beauty of traditional filmmaking with the sweet nostalgia of youthful passion, this film is both a celebration of youth and movies. The splendid Sicilian backdrop – showing off some of the most beautiful parts of Sicily – and the unassuming charm of Sicilian culture merely add to this movie’s appeal, making for a memorable movie that is loved by many.
12. A Room With A View (1985)
Based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel, the 1985 adaptation of A Room with a View brings the story to life filming in on location in Florence, Fiesole and Tuscany. When Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) and her chaperone Charlotte Bartlett (Dame Maggie Smith) travel to the gorgeous city of Florence and find themselves staying in rooms without views, they endeavour to rectify this unacceptable situation. In the process, they get to know the Emersons and their handsome son George, whose acquaintance forever changes Lucy’s life.
In watching this movie, spectators are able to roam the glorious streets of Florence, climb the Tuscan hills and feast their eyes on sublime works of art, all in addition to experiencing a great work of literature being brought to life on the screen. The result is a recipe for wanderlust that is difficult to suppress.
13. The Godfather (1972)
Written by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather is perhaps one of the most famous movies ever made (and our editor’s personal favourite!). Michael Corleone’s father, Don Corleone, is head of the Corleone mafia family in New York, but Michael has spent his life trying to steer clear of the “family business”.
Nonetheless, when Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) becomes a victim of an assassination attempt, Michael (Al Pacino) is forced to wage a mob war with rivalling Mafia families and lead the family he had tried so hard to free himself from. Featuring stunning Sicilian scenery and following the lives of an Italian-American mob family, this movie is designed to get anyone thinking about all things Italian! If that’s not enough, The Godfather Part II (starring Robert de Niro) is equally as enthralling and a must-see for any lover of the original 1972 classic.
14. La Dolce Vita (1960)
Literally meaning, ‘the Sweet Life’, this Italian movie is a celebrated Italian comic drama. Written and directed by the talented Federico Fellini, this 1960s masterpiece had shocked critics when first released, thanks to its daring filmic structure and innovative filming techniques. Set in 1959 Rome, the story follows Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) – a tabloid journalist – as he works to get the latest scoops, getting himself into various scrapes in the process.
Perhaps, one of this movie’s most iconic scenes is that of Anita Ekberg traipsing in the Trevi Fountain, a scene which reportedly took a week to shoot in the freezing winds of March. Nevertheless, the entire movie captures many of Italy’s splendour; all in high contrast black and white, and accompanied by Nino Rota’s powerfully emotional original score.
15. Roman Holiday (1953)
When European princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) escapes her guardians to freely explore Rome, she quickly meets Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) – a dashing American reporter that happens to find her asleep on a park bench. Little did he know that she was the very subject that he was meant to be interviewing the following morning!
What ensues is a romantic comedy that takes place entirely within the glorious streets of Rome. This movie delights with its sweetness and charm whilst showing off landmarks like the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum and the Spanish Steps. This 1953 classic not only captures the gorgeous Roman architecture on the screen the old-fashioned way, but inspires joy in all viewers. For all old-movie fans who have a soft spot for Italy, this movie is a definite must see!
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