Dreaming of a trip to Italy? Travel might be on hold, but you can still get a taste of the Mediterranean country, from its tranquil islands to the busy streets of Rome, with these must-see movies. You’ll feel like you’re living “la dolce vita” in no time.
1. “Roman Holiday”, 1953
Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck
The plot: Joe Bradley is an American journalist posted in Rome. Romance blooms when he meets Princess Ann who is looking to escape from her royal duties.
Italy features: See the wonders of Rome through the wide-eyed gaze of a first time visitor. Notably, the movie made the Vespa scooter famous around the world. It doesn’t get much more Italian than that! Relive the magic and hop on the back of a Vespa yourself, and let an experienced guide take you on a future tour of the city.
You’ll love the film: for the light-hearted love story. The scooter ride through the chaotic streets of Rome is the stuff of film legend.
2. “La Dolce Vita”, 1960
Marcello Mostroianni, Anita Ekberg
The plot: Marcelo Rubini is a womanizing photojournalist who searches for “the sweet life” during one week in Rome.
Italy features: The scene where Anita Ekberg steps into the Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic in the world of cinema. When you visit Rome in the future, find out more about the intriguing history of the city’s squares and fountains on a walking tour.
You’ll love the film: for capturing the magic of Rome in black and white and for the glamor of its leading stars.
3. “A Room With a View”, 1985
Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith, Daniel Day-Lewis
The plot: Based on E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel, the film tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch, a young upper-middle-class woman who feels stifled by English society. She experiences a different way of life in Italy that liberates and inspires her.
Italy Features: This movie will make you fall in love with the city of Florence. Several scenes are shot along the River Arno and at Piazza della Signoria. A bike tour of the city will offer you a different perspective on Florence’s most iconic sites.
You’ll love the film: for its romantic depiction of Italian life at the turn of the century.
4. “Cinema Paradiso”, 1988
Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret
The plot: Salvatore is a successful film director living in Rome. When he hears of the death of his childhood mentor he relives his youth spent in Sicily. For young Salvatore, the local cinema was the most important place in his life. This is a film about the history of cinema and how for many people it provided an escape from reality.
Italy features: The movie shows what life was like for poor people in rural Sicily in the middle of the 20th-century. It’s a sentimental portrayal that adds to the charm of this classic.
You’ll love the film: because it’s a love song to the power of cinema and a romantic portrait of life in post-war Sicily.
5. “Il Postino” (The Postman), 1994
The plot: Mario is a humble fisherman who is in love with Beatrice, a beautiful barkeeper. When the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, is exiled to the island Mario becomes his personal postman. A friendship develops between the men and Mario learns to appreciate poetry and express his feelings to Beatrice. We seem to be headed for a happy ending, but get your tissues ready for a real tearjerker.
Italy features: The film is set in the Gulf of Naples, on the island of Procida. Life on the island is slow-paced and tranquil. Procida maintains much of the same atmosphere today and can be reached by ferry from Naples. Enjoy a day trip to the island and have lunch in one of the traditional local restaurants when travel safely resumes.
You’ll love the film: for its depiction of the rustic charm of mid-century Mediterranean life.
6. “The Talented Mr Ripley”, 1999
Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law
The plot: Dickie Greenleaf is the son of a wealthy shipping magnate. He is leading a hedonistic lifestyle on the Amalfi coast. His father sends a master manipulator Tom Ripley to try and bring him back to America. The pair initially strike up a friendship, but things soon turn dark in this psychological thriller.
Italy features: The film captures all the glamour of the Amalfi Coast. The twisting story reaches its climax in the shadowy streets of Venice.
You’ll love the film: for the tense atmosphere that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
7. “Call Me By Your Name”, 2017
Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer
The plot: Elio is a teen passing a tranquil summer playing the piano and hanging out with friends when Oliver arrives. Elio’s father is an academic and Oliver is a graduate student who has come to work with him. Elio is disarmed by this handsome, confident stranger. Both characters struggle with their feelings, but a romance begins to blossom that will change both of them forever.
Italy features: Much of the film takes place in a 17th-century villa near the town of Crema in Lombardy. The characters enjoy relaxed meals on the terrace, bathed in glorious sunshine. The area has a rich gastronomic history. The nearby town of Franciacorta offers wine tasting tours to whet your appetite.
You’ll love the film: for its honest portrayal of first love during a long hot summer. Prepare to have a romance of your own with the beauty of Lombardy’s countryside.