Looking for the best movies set in Italy? Look no further! From iconic classics to modern favorites, we’ve curated a list of the top films that capture the beauty and charm of Italy. Get ready to indulge in the stunning landscapes, rich culture, and unforgettable stories that these movies have to offer.
There is no shortage of cinematic masterpieces set in Italy. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best movies that capture the essence of Italy, from classics like “Roman Holiday” and “The Godfather” to more recent favorites like “Call Me By Your Name“. Whether you’re a fan of Italian culture or just love great movies, you’re sure to find something to enjoy on this list. So, grab some popcorn (or a slice of pizza) and get ready to discover the best movies set in Italy!
Italian culture has been the backdrop for countless cinematic masterpieces. With its romantic language, exquisite cuisine and unparalleled art, Italy continues to capture the imagination of filmmakers and audiences alike, making it a perennially popular subject in the world of cinema.
Our culture and history have had a profound influence on movie culture.
It has inspired filmmakers to capture Italy’s beauty and character on the silver screen.
From the snow-capped Alps in northern Italy to the sun-drenched beaches of the Amalfi Coast in the south, there are a ton of stunning backdrops for filmmakers to explore.
Ancient ruins, Renaissance art and Baroque architecture provide a rich historical tapestry.
The same you’ve seen in many iconic movies.
From the romantic comedies of Fellini to the epic dramas of Coppola, Italy has played a significant role in shaping the world of cinema.
Heck, we even filmed quite a lot of “spaghetti westerns” here!
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Classic Italian Movies Based in Italy
La Dolce Vita (1960)
“La Dolce Vita” is a 1960 Italian classic movie directed by Federico Fellini.
The picture tells the story of Marcello Rubini, a journalist who is trying to find meaning in his life while navigating the decadent and hedonistic lifestyle of Rome’s high society in the 1950s.
Marcello is played by the iconic Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni.
He delivers a mesmerizing performance as a man torn between his responsibilities as a journalist and his desire for a more fulfilling life.
The flick also features the gorgeous Anita Ekberg, who plays the role of Sylvia, an American actress who Marcello becomes infatuated with.
La Dolce Vita was filmed in Rome, Italy, and features some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
Like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Federico Fellini was known for his distinctive visual style, and “La Dolce Vita” is no exception.
Featuring stunning cinematography and memorable scenes that have become cinematic classics.
Not many know that some scenes were considered scandalous at the time!
Like the one of Anita Ekberg wading in the Trevi Fountain in a strapless dress. Probably one of the most memorable scenes in cinema history, that caused quite a stir at the time of the movie’s release.
Even now, in modern times, sometimes tourists try to imitate Anita by wading into the Trevi Fountain. They even search for the best time to visit Italy just for that.
Only to be fined by the Italian police.
Do not be like them!
Worried you’ll need a bit of help?
Download the FREE Italian Travel Phrasebook here! It includes the correct Italian pronunciation and lots of useful sentences that you’ll be able to use on your trip to Italy!
Not many people know that while filming in Rome, the actors managed to create a new Italian drink.
They used to sip Sambuca while throwing coffee beans at each other.
That is how “Sambuca con la mosca” saw the light!
“La Dolce Vita” was a critical and commercial success, winning the Palme d’Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and receiving four Academy Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
Have you planned your next trip to Rome and you want to feel La Dolce Vita?
Book a hotel in the Fontana di Trevi area.
So you’ll avoid having to get up super early in the morning to take decent pics and you’ll be able to enjoy it more!
Click to find the latest rates for the closest hotel to the Fontana di Trevi.
Also on Expedia!
Ladri di Biciclette (1948) – Bicycle Thieves
“Ladri di biciclette” or “Bicycle Thieves” is a 1948 another neorealist movie about Italy, directed by Vittorio De Sica.
The movie follows the story of Antonio Ricci, played by Lamberto Maggiorani.
A poor man in post-World War II Rome, who gets a job putting up posters around the city.
His new job requires him to have a bicycle, but when it is stolen, he and his son Bruno, played by Enzo Staiola, set out to find it.
The picture was shot in Italy, and specifically in Rome.
De Sica used non-professional actors to create a realistic depiction of the struggles faced by the working class in Italy at the time.
Ladri di Biciclette also features iconic locations in Rome, such as Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and the Tiber River.
“Bicycle Thieves” received critical acclaim upon its release and has since become a landmark of Italian cinema.
It won the Academy Honorary Award in 1950 for being the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during the years 1949 and 1950.
It was also awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film in 1950 and the Grand Prize at the 1949 Cannes Film Festival.
Read the news about the new visa requirements for Europe and ETIAS Authorization you need from 2024!
The picture’s impact on Italian cinema was significant, as it inspired a generation of filmmakers to embrace neorealism and make movies about the struggles of everyday people.
Its influence can be seen in flicks like Federico Fellini’s “La Strada” and Roberto Rossellini’s “Roma, Città aperta“.
Have you planned your next trip to Italy and you want to visit the locations from this movie?
Book a room with a view of Ponte Palatino on Tiber River!
Click to find the best one with updated rates.
Also on Expedia!
8 1/2 (1963) – Otto e Mezzo
“8 1/2” (Otto e Mezzo) is a 1963 Italian flick directed by Federico Fellini.
The movie follows the story of Guido Anselmi, played by Marcello Mastroianni, a director who is struggling to make a new flick.
8 1/2 is a semi-autobiographical account of Fellini’s own experiences as a filmmaker and his struggles with creative blocks and personal relationships.
This movie was also shot in Italy, including Rome, Venice, and the iconic Cinecittà studios in Rome.
It features a stellar cast of Italian actors, including Claudia Cardinale and Sandra Milo.
Otto e Mezzo is also notable for its soundtrack, composed by Nino Rota, which includes the iconic main theme “La Passerella di Addio“.
“8 1/2” was a critical and commercial success upon its release and is still considered one of the best movies set in Venice.
It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1964 and the Grand Prix at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival. Since then, it has influenced countless filmmakers around the world.
Do you want to experience the authentic Otto e Mezzo experience?
While this is one of the movies set in Rome, Fellini referred to his time spent in Chianciano Terme (Tuscany).
Roma, Città Aperta (1945) – Rome, Open City
“Roma, città aperta” that you might know as “Rome, Open City” is a 1945 Italian neorealist picture directed by Roberto Rossellini.
Like many other neorealist movies that take place in Italy, it was set in Rome, during the Nazi occupation.
It follows the story of a group of resistance fighters who are working to undermine the German occupation.
Roma, città aperta is one of the best movies shot in Italy. Known for its gritty realism and its depiction of the struggles faced by everyday people during wartime.
The flick was filmed entirely in Italy. Specifically in Rome.
Rossellini used non-professional actors to create a realistic and authentic depiction of life in the city during the war.
Throughout this movie you will see iconic locations in Rome, such as the Tiber River and Piazza di Spagna.
Rome, Open City won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Some of the most iconic scenes were shot at Piazza di Spagna.
Here is our favorite hotel in Rome, super close to the Spanish Steps.
Also on Expedia!
Il Gattopardo (1963) – The Leopard
“Il Gattopardo” or “The Leopard” is a 1963 Italian epic historical drama flick directed by Luchino Visconti.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, which tells the story of a nobleman during the Risorgimento, the period of Italian unification in the 19th century.
It stars Burt Lancaster as Prince Don Fabrizio Salina, who is struggling to maintain his family’s aristocratic traditions in the face of societal and political changes.
Other super famous members of the cast were Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, and our beloved Terence Hill.
The movie takes place in Sicily, Italy. And it was filmed in Palermo, Trapani, and the Sicilian town of Scopello with its gorgeous beaches.
Visconti’s use of authentic locations, period costumes, and meticulous attention to detail created an immersive experience that transports viewers back to 19th-century Italy.
“Il Gattopardo” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it went on to win the Palme d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.
It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
Il Conformista (1970) – The Conformist
“Il Conformista” or “The Conformist” is a 1970 Italian drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia and tells the story of a man named Marcello who is struggling with his identity and political beliefs in Fascist Italy.
The film stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as Marcello, and also features a talented ensemble cast, including Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda.
The movie was shot on location in Rome, Turin, and Paris, with Bertolucci using a mix of real and recreated historical locations to create an immersive experience.
“Il Conformista” was a critical success upon its release, and it went on to win the prestigious Italian film award, the David di Donatello, for Best Director and Best Film. It was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Art Direction.
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (1988)
“Nuovo Cinema Paradiso“, also known as “Cinema Paradiso“, is by far one of my favorite movies set in Italy when it comes to the classics.
It came out in 1988 (with a story set in the 1980s) and it was directed by Giuseppe Tornatore.
This movie tells the story of a filmmaker named Salvatore, who returns to his hometown in Sicily after hearing of the death of a childhood friend.
The picture stars Philippe Noiret as Alfredo, the projectionist at the local cinema, and Salvatore Cascio as Totò, a young boy who spends his days at the cinema, fascinated by the world of film.
The movie was shot on location in the Sicilian towns of Palazzo Adriano and Cefalù.
“Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.
It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The movie’s heartwarming story and stunning cinematography have captured the imaginations of audiences for decades, cementing its place in cinematic history.
If you haven’t already, please watch it because you’re going to fall in love with this classic!
Those planning to visit Southern Italy should definitely visit the movie locations in Sicily.
Here’s our favorite hotel in Cefalù. It offers super romantic views and it’s within walking distance from the beach.
Also on Expedia!
Il Posto (1961)
“Il Posto“, directed by Ermanno Olmi and released in 1961, is an Italian neorealist picture that follows the story of a young man named Domenico as he enters the workforce for the first time.
The movie explores themes of social mobility, class, and the challenges faced by working-class people in post-war Italy.
The cast includes non-professional actors, with Sandro Panseri playing the lead role of Domenico.
The movie was shot in Milan, with many scenes shot in the city’s bustling Piazza del Duomo.
“Il Posto” won the Silver Ribbon for Best Director at the 1961 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Awards and was also nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
If you’re planning to visit Milan, make sure you book a room at our favorite hotel with a view on Duomo.
Also on Expedia!
Ieri, Oggi, Domani (1963)
“Ieri, oggi, domani” (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow) is a 1963 Italian comedy anthology directed by the legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini.
The movie features three segments, each starring the iconic Neapolitan actress Sophia Loren and her co-star Marcello Mastroianni.
In our house there’s a story my mom keeps on telling everyone. With pride.
“I used to work with Sofia Loren’s cousin!“
That is just how much this iconic actress is part of our history.
You can easily say that Sofia Loren is in the heart of every Napoletano!
The first segment, “Adelina of Naples“, takes place in Naples and follows Adelina (Loren), who is married to Carmine (Mastroianni), a petty thief.
Adelina repeatedly gets pregnant to avoid jail time for her husband’s crimes, but eventually, the law catches up with them.
The second segment, “Anna of Milan“, is set in Milan and centers on a wealthy industrialist’s wife, Anna (Loren), who falls in love with her lover, Renzo (Mastroianni).
However, she soon realizes that she is not cut out for a life of poverty and returns to her husband.
The final segment, “Mara of Rome“, takes place in Rome and follows a prostitute, Mara (Loren), who falls in love with a timid seminary student (Mastroianni) who tries to reform her.
“Ieri, oggi, domani” was shot on location in Naples, Milan, and Rome, capturing the essence of each city’s distinct character.
The movie was a commercial and critical success, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1965, as well as several other international awards.
In case you’re planning to visit Naples, make sure you check our guide to the best hotels in Naples!
La Ciociara (1960)
“La Ciociara” is a classic Italian picture released in 1960, directed by Vittorio De Sica and starring our beloved Sophia Loren.
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Alberto Moravia and is set during World War II.
The plot follows a widow named Cesira and her teenage daughter Rosetta, who flee Rome to avoid the dangers of the war.
They settle in Cesira’s hometown in Ciociaria, a region in central Italy.
The film explores the struggles of the mother and daughter as they try to survive in the harsh conditions of war and the traumatic events that occur during their journey.
We are particularly fond of La Ciociara.
Not only because it’s one of the best movies about Italy.
Aldo’s family, in fact, is from Ciociaria, and they still live there, in the countryside.
By watching this movie he remembers his nonna, who passed away a few years ago.
It’s super authentic because it shows scenes that happened for real in that part of our country!
Sophia Loren’s performance in La Ciociara was widely acclaimed, and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in 1961.
The flick was also awarded the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and the BAFTA for Best Actress.
The filming of “La Ciociara” took place in Italy, with several scenes shot in Rome and Ciociaria.
Pane, Amore e… (1955)
“Pane, amore e…” is a 1955 Italian picture directed by Dino Risi, starring Vittorio De Sica and Sofia Loren, set in the 1950s.
The movie is set in Sorrento, Italy. Here a new marshal (De Sica) is appointed to enforce the laws and regulations of the town.
He falls in love with a beautiful woman named Sofia (Loren), who is already engaged to a local baker.
There’s a mambo dancing scene in this movie with Sofia Loren and Vittorio De Sica that has become the symbol of the Italian comedy movies in the ’50s.
You’ve probably already seen it a lot of times on tv and online!
“Pane, amore e…” was a box office success in Italy and was also well-received internationally.
It won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 6th Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival.
The main locations where it was shot include Marina Grande in Sorrento and Vico Equense.
Two places you can easily get to with a day trip from Naples!
If you are planning an Italian honeymoon, Marina Grande is absolutely perfect.
Make sure you book at least one night in our favorite hotel there.
Also on Expedia!
Contemporary Italian films set in Italy
La Vita è Bella (1997) – Life is Beautiful
“La vita è bella” is a 1997 Italian flick directed by and starring Roberto Benigni.
The movie is set in Italy during World War II and tells the story of a Jewish Italian man named Guido, who falls in love with a non-Jewish woman named Dora.
The couple gets married and has a son named Giosuè.
When the family is sent to a concentration camp, Guido uses his imagination and sense of humor to protect his son from the horrors of the camp and convinces him that they are playing a game.
In addition to Benigni, the movie stars Nicoletta Braschi (Benigni’s wife and real-life muse) as Dora and Giorgio Cantarini as Giosuè.
The movie was a critical and commercial success, winning multiple awards including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and three Academy Awards including Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Actor for Benigni.
The main 3 things that everyone in Italy knows about this movie are the way Guido greets Dora whenever she sees her “Buongiorno Principessa” (Good morning Princess, in Italian).
Then Benigni walking on chairs when it was announced he’d won a Best Actor Oscar.
And also the way Sofia Loren’s smile shone when she announced “Roberto” had won.
We all feel super proud!
The shooting locations include the city of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy. Another easy day trip from Florence.
La Grande Bellezza (2013) – The Great Beauty
“La Grande Bellezza” is a 2013 flick directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
It’s about a writer named Jep Gambardella, who is played by Toni Servillo.
He has a house in Rome and has been living off the success of his one and only novel that he wrote years ago.
At 65, Jep starts to feel lost and unfulfilled, realizing that he has not yet found the meaning of life.
The picture was critically acclaimed and won numerous awards, including the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, the Best European Film at the 26th European Film Awards, and the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
La Grande Bellezza was also nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.
Toni Servillo, won the Best Actor award at the European Film Awards for his performance in the movie.
This flick was shot entirely in Rome, with some of the iconic locations like the Colosseum and the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola in the Gianicolo featured in the movie.
The title of the movie, “La Grande Bellezza” means “The Great Beauty” which refers to the beauty of Rome.
Romanzo Criminale (2005)
“Romanzo Criminale” is a 2005 crime drama directed by Michele Placido.
The movie is based on Giancarlo De Cataldo’s novel of the same name, which is inspired by the true story of a criminal gang in Rome in the 1970s.
The “Banda della Magliana“.
The flick features an impressive ensemble cast, including Kim Rossi Stuart, Anna Mouglalis, Pierfrancesco Favino, Claudio Santamaria, and Stefano Accorsi.
The main character, known as “Il Libanese” (The Lebanese), is played by Favino and is the leader of the gang.
The story follows the rise and fall of the gang as they become the most powerful and feared criminal organization in Rome.
The picture was nominated for numerous awards, including the David di Donatello Awards and the Nastro d’Argento Awards.
It won the Best Film award at the 2006 Italian Golden Globe Awards and was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2006 Academy Awards.
“Romanzo Criminale” was shot in Rome, and the city plays a prominent role in the movie.
Gomorra (2008) – Gomorrah
The movie depicts the Camorra, the organized crime syndicate based in the region of Campania and the city of Naples.
It features a large ensemble cast of mostly non-professional actors, including Toni Servillo, Salvatore Abruzzese, and Gianfelice Imparato.
The story follows several characters as they navigate the dangerous world of the Camorra.
Including a tailor who becomes involved in counterfeit high-end fashion, a young boy who dreams of becoming a gangster, and a pair of teenage friends who get caught up in a deadly feud.
The flick was a critical success, receiving the Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, as well as numerous other awards and nominations.
It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.
“Gomorra” was shot on location in the Campania region of Italy, including Naples and Caserta.
The filmmakers were able to shoot in some of the real locations where the events of the movie took place, adding to the authenticity of the story.
Sky Atlantic also shot a Gomorrah tv series that lasted 5 series.
It was a huge success that led to a spinoff movie “L’immortale” (2019).
This one was following the story of part of the crime family from the Gomorra tv-series.
Here it led to mixed reviews.
Many people, due to this movie and related tv-series, now worry if it’s safe to visit Naples.
I personally felt quite bad when, during a press trip in London, one of our guides told us that Gomorra was amazing!
She was always watching it with her boyfriend!
And are really that many shootings in the middle of the day in Naples?
As a Neapolitan, I suggest you visit my hometown and decide for yourself.
Do not let a book or a movie, or a tv-series influence your trip!
Here is an amazing hotel with a view of Castel dell’Ovo in Naples you can book.
Also on Expedia!
La Meglio Gioventù (2003) – The Best of Youth
“La meglio gioventù” (The Best of Youth) is a 2003 flick directed by Marco Tullio Giordana.
It tells the story of an Italian family from the 1960s to the 2000s, following the lives of two brothers, Matteo and Nicola, and their family and friends.
The movie explores important historical events that shaped Italy during this period, including the 1966 flood of Florence, the Red Brigades terrorism, and the Mafia’s influence in Italian society.
You can consider it a bit of a journey to Italy, as it was shot in various locations, including Florence, Turin, Rome, and Sicily.
The main stars were Luigi Lo Cascio as Matteo, Alessio Boni as Nicola, and a talented ensemble cast that includes Maya Sansa, Valentina Carnelutti, Sonia Bergamasco, and Fabrizio Gifuni.
“La meglio gioventù” was a huge success in Italy and abroad, winning several awards, including the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard prize in 2003.
It was also nominated for the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
Its title, “La meglio gioventù“, which translates to “The Best of Youth“, is a reference to a line from a poem by Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti: “Youth is the best that life has to offer“.
Ricomincio da tre (1981) – Starting Over from Three
“Ricomincio da tre” is 1981 comedy directed by Massimo Troisi.
The title translates to “Starting Over from Three” and refers to one of the most popular quotes from this movie.
It tells the story of Gaetano, a shy, young man living in Naples, who is struggling to find his place in the world.
He works as a cinema usher and spends his free time with his two best friends, Enzo and Maria.
One day he decides he wants to change something in his life. He then starts his journey to Florence, where one of his aunts lives.
Along the trip many things happen. Including the fact that his best and most annoying friend, Lello, decides to follow him.
The picture stars Massimo Troisi as Gaetano, along with Lello Arena as Enzo and Anna Pavignano as Maria.
It was shot in Naples, showcasing the city’s colorful streets, and in Florence.
“Ricomincio da tre” was a critical and commercial success in Italy, winning several awards including the Silver Ribbon for Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Troisi’s performance was also praised, earning him the Silver Ribbon for Best Actor.
All in all it’s one of the funniest movies about Italy to watch.
One of the classics, if you ask us Neapolitans.
Massimo Troisi in Naples is as famous as Diego Armando Maradona.
Our heroes, who have always loved our city and who were proud to be Neapolitans.
Lo chiamavano Trinità (1970) – They Call me Trinity
“Lo chiamavano Trinità” (They Call Me Trinity) is a 1970 Italian Spaghetti Western comedy directed by Enzo Barboni.
While not exactly an Italy movie, since the main characters were traveling through the US West Coast, it’s considered a classic here.
It stars Terence Hill as Trinity, a skilled gunman who, along with his brother Bambino (played by Bud Spencer), arrives in a lawless town in the Wild West to confront a gang of ruthless bandits.
Terence Hill (real name Mario Girotti) and Bud Spencer (real name Carlo Pedersoli, born in Naples!) have shot a lot of scenes together.
Yet Lo Chiamavano Trinità is possibly one of the greatest movies they played.
It was almost completely shot in my beloved Abruzzo region, at Campo Imperatore, Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga.
Some scenes were shot in the Rome outskirts and at Parco Regionale dei Monti Simbruini between Lazio and Abruzzo.
Which is where I used to ride on horseback when I was younger!
“Lo chiamavano Trinità” became a huge box office success in Italy, and its popularity even reached beyond Italian borders, becoming a hit in several countries, including Germany and the United States.
Although the flick was not nominated for any major international film awards, it became a cult classic and helped to solidify Terence Hill and Bud Spencer’s status as international film stars.
The picture also spawned a sequel, “Trinity Is Still My Name“, which was released in 1971.
Never thought about visiting the Abruzzo region?
It’s one of the most underrated places in Italy!
Check out our favorite hotel in Roccaraso (Abruzzo).
It’s a great base to explore this movie’s shooting locations!
Also on Expedia.
Il Postino (1994) – The Postman
“Il Postino” (The Postman) is a movie that, for all of us in Southern Italy, carries a lot of sadness.
Directed by Michael Radford, it was the very last movie starring Massimo Troisi.
Rumors from the set let us know that Massimo was already very sick and weak while filming. He had to be helped on the bike his character used most of the time.
Yet we didn’t expect that he’d pass away the day after the end of shooting.
As I already mentioned, Massimo Troisi in Napoli is as loved as Diego Armando Maradona.
A piece of our heart.
So if you haven’t seen any of his movies like the ones listed here, do yourself a favor and watch them!
It’s the only way to understand Naples in Italy!
The Postman is based on the novel by the same name written by Antonio Skármeta.
The story is set on the Italian island of Salina, in the Aeolian archipelago.
It tells the tale of Mario Ruoppolo, a humble postman who becomes friends with the exiled Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda.
As the two men bond over their shared love of poetry, Mario learns important life lessons and finds the courage to pursue his own dreams.
The main actors are Massimo Troisi, who played the role of Mario, Philippe Noiret, who portrayed Pablo Neruda, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta, who played Beatrice Russo, the woman that Mario falls in love with.
Il Postino was a commercial and critical success, and it won several prestigious awards, including the Academy Award for Best Original Score and a nomination for Best Picture.
Massimo was posthumously nominated for Best Actor.
While he didn’t win, The Postman won the BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language, as well as the César Award for Best Foreign Film.
The shooting of “Il Postino” took place mainly in the Aeolian Islands, particularly Salina, where the story is set.
The production crew also used several other locations in Italy, including the Amalfi Coast, Procida island and Naples.
Heck, some were even shot in Rome!
Hollywood Movies Set in Italy
Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
And yes, being Italian I’m super biased, I know!
Yet many filmmakers seem to agree with me, because they have chosen Italy as the setting for some of the greatest pictures of all time.
From classic romances to thrilling adventures, there is no shortage of Hollywood movies set in the country.
Woody Allen definitely wasn’t the only one!
Whether you’re a film buff or simply looking for movies that showcase the beauty of my home country, these Hollywood productions are definitely going to inspire your wanderlust.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
“Under the Tuscan Sun” is an American romantic comedy-drama directed by Audrey Wells, based on the best-selling memoir of the same name by Frances Mayes.
The flick stars Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Lindsay Duncan, and Raoul Bova.
The story follows Frances Mayes (Diane Lane), a recently divorced writer who decides to take a tour of Tuscany, where she impulsively buys a villa named Bramasole.
She then starts renovating the villa and soon makes new friends and learns to embrace life again.
The movie was shot entirely in Tuscany, with scenes shot in the cute towns of Cortona, Montepulciano, Pienza, and Siena, among others.
All easy day trips from Florence!
The stunning landscapes and picturesque settings perfectly capture the beauty and charm of Tuscany.
Under the Tuscan Sun in fact makes sure to include many of the cutest Tuscany villages.
It can be great to get ideas for your Italian honeymoon!
While the picture did not win any major awards, it received positive reviews for its heartfelt performances and beautiful scenery.
Letters to Juliet (2010)
Letters to Juliet is a romantic comedy movie that was released in 2010.
It revolves around a young American girl named Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, who travels to Verona (Italy) with her fiancé.
While in Verona, one of the most romantic cities in Italy, she stumbles upon a group of women who respond to letters addressed to Juliet Capulet.
As you might know, that’s a character from Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.
Intrigued by their mission, Sophie begins to help the women answer love letters written to Juliet.
While at work, she comes across a letter dated 1957 and decides to help the woman find her lost love.
Letters to Juliet takes the audience on the journey of Sophie and the woman’s grandson as they try to locate the lost love.
Along the way, Sophie begins to question her own love life and her fiancé.
The movie also features the actors, Gael García Bernal, as Sophie’s fiancé, Victor, and Vanessa Redgrave, who plays the elderly woman searching for her lost love.
If you’re looking for movies that feature different locations in Italy that aren’t Rome or the Amalfi Coast, this one is a must!
They shot a lot in Verona and Tuscany.
Some of the movie’s locations are still used for romantic couples photos by tourists visiting Italy!
In case you decide to add Verona to your Italy itinerary, we have a tip for you.
This is our absolutely favorite place to stay in Verona. The perfect one you can use as a home base to explore the city by foot.
Also on Expedia!
Apparently James Bond was often sent to Italy, did you know?
Out of the 25 (canon) movies, 8 were filmed and set in the Bel Paese!
The ones you should be looking for are:
- From Russia with Love (1963)
- The spy who loved me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For your eyes only (1981)
- Casino Royale (2006)
- Quantum of Solace (2008)
- Spectre (2015)
- No time to die (2021)
From Russia with Love, starring the amazing Sean Connery, was mostly filmed in Venice.
Some of the iconic shooting scenes in the Venetian canals are still unsurpassed!
Other filming locations in Venice were the Bridge of Sighs and St. Marco Square.
Which you can see here in our video.
The Spy who loved me, starring Roger Moore, was instead mostly filmed in the stunning Sardinia.
Bond and his “Bond Girl” (Barbara Bach) were staying at the luxurious Hotel Cala di Volpe, one of the most famous ones on Costa Smeralda.
You can even see the “Bond Suite“, which has been turned into a bar!
Other filming locations in Sardinia were the piazza in San Pantaleo and Romazzino.
Moonraker was another Roger Moore Bond movie filmed in Venice.
007 travels by gondola and there’s yet another iconic shooting scene on gondolas.
I must admit that back then, the Italian newspapers found the fact that Bond’s gondola became an amphibious vehicle in Piazza San Marco… quite laughable!
The most notable filming scenes in Moonraker, aside from Piazza San Marco, were the Hotel Danieli, Ca’ Rezzonico (Fondamenta Rezzonico 3136) and San Nicolò al Lido, which was used as a set for a Brazilian training camp.
Daniel Craig brought his Bond back to Italy with Casino Royale.
While some people seem convinced that they were shooting at Lake Garda, they were at Lake Como!
Casino Royale was filmed at Villa del Balbianello, also featured in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002).
Other notable filming locations were the Canal Grande in Venice, Piazza San Marco and Villa La Gaeta (San Siro, Co).
Quantum of Solace, starring once again Daniel Craig, was actually filmed in Lake Garda.
The very first road chase was actually filmed in Malcesine, a tiny village, then in Navene and Tempesta, ending near Riva del Garda.
The chase ends at Carrara in a marble cave.
Yet the truth is that the caves are over 149 miles (240km) south of Lake Garda!
Craig also shot some scenes in Siena, where his Bond walks near Piazza del Campo while they are running the Palio di Siena.
Several views of the gorgeous Maremma area in Tuscany were also seen in the movie.
This movie also featured our iconic Monica Bellucci!
Last but not least, No time to die.
Filmed in 2021 in Matera and Gravina di Puglia.
Daniel Craig has made these amazing places world famous.
Yet Italians have always loved vacationing in Puglia!
What you might not know is that some scenes were also shot in Sapri, which is located on the coast below Naples (Italy).
The Italian Job (2003)
“The Italian Job” is a 2003 heist film directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland and Edward Norton.
It is a remake of the 1969 film of the same name and follows a group of thieves who plan to steal gold bars from a safe in Venice, Italy.
The film was shot primarily in Venice, with additional scenes filmed in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
Some of the iconic filming locations include the canals of Venice and the famous Rialto Bridge.
Bourne Identity (2002)
It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man who is found unconscious with amnesia in the Mediterranean sea, and gradually discovers that he has a complicated past as a trained assassin.
Bourne travels to various locations around Europe in search of his true identity, including Rome and the Italian countryside.
The filming spots in Italy included the historic Piazza Navona in Rome, Imperia and Naples.
In addition to Damon, the film also stars Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, and Julia Stiles.
Eat, Pray, Love (2010) – Mangia, Prega, Ama
“Eat, Pray, Love” is a 2010 American romantic flick based on the bestselling memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert.
It follows the story of Liz, played by Julia Roberts, who, after a painful divorce, sets out on a journey of self-discovery to Italy, India, and Bali.
Along with Roberts, the film features a talented cast that includes James Franco, Javier Bardem, Richard Jenkins, and Viola Davis.
Filming locations include New York, Rome, Naples, and Bali.
Julia Roberts was welcomed with open arms in Rome, where part of her scenes were filmed.
Among the most famous filming locations that you can see while watching the parts where Liz is in Italy, there are Via Condotti (Rome), Borghese Gardens (Rome), Castel Sant’Angelo (Rome), L’antica pizzeria da Michele (Naples) where they make some of the best Italian pizza types!
The film did not receive any major awards or nominations, but it was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide.
It also attracted a lot of attention for its portrayal of spirituality and self-discovery, with many people finding inspiration in Liz’s journey.
Not only that: a ton of women in the world felt so inspired by Eat, Pray, Love, that they decided to start traveling on their own!
Name of the Rose (1986) – Il Nome della Rosa
“The Name of the Rose” is a 1986 mystery picture directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and based on the novel of the same name by Umberto Eco.
It is set in a medieval monastery in Italy, where a series of murders occur and a Franciscan monk, William of Baskerville (played by Sean Connery) and his novice, Adso of Melk (played by Christian Slater), investigate the case.
The movie was filmed in various places in Italy, including the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Friuli, the Monastery of San Galgano in Tuscany, and the Castello di Petroia in Umbria.
“The Name of the Rose” received critical acclaim upon its release and was nominated for two Academy Awards. It won the BAFTA Award for Best Makeup and Hair and the César Award for Best Foreign Film.
The movie is considered a classic in the mystery and historical drama genres and is often regarded as one of the best book-to-film adaptations of all time.
Not many know, but quite a few scenes were filmed in a gorgeous castle in Italy (not mentioned often enough).
It’s in one of my favorite regions. Abruzzo!
The Castello di Roccascalegna, Eremo di Santo Spirito and Gole di Fara San Martino are the places you should check out if you’re looking for iconic movie locations.
They’re also in our Abruzzo video guides on Youtube!
To Rome with Love (2012)
“To Rome with Love” is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama flick written, directed, and starred by Woody Allen.
It explores various stories of people in Rome, from a young couple who discovers the city, to a retired opera director who has a talent for singing in the shower.
This picture features an ensemble cast, including Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig.
The filming locations include various famous landmarks in Rome, such as the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain.
To Rome with Love was a commercial success, and received a nomination for the Best Original Screenplay at the Golden Globe Awards in 2013.
Special Mention: The Godfather (1972) – Il Padrino
The film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S. Castellano, and Diane Keaton, among others.
The story follows the Corleone crime family, a powerful Italian-American mafia clan, as they navigate through a series of conflicts and power struggles in New York City in the aftermath of World War II.
While the majority of the film was shot on location in New York, some scenes were also filmed in Italy, including in the towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agrò in Sicily.
What makes The Godfather be part of this list is the fact that the story of this powerful Italian-American crime family has now become part of the Italian iconography.
Everyone and their mother knows Sicily and the Corleone family, no matter where you are in the world!
“The Godfather” was a critical and commercial success, winning three Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for Marlon Brando, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Puzo and Coppola.
It has since become one of the greatest films of all time and a cultural icon of American cinema.
Bonus: A Great Italian-American Movie
Chiamami col tuo nome (2017) – Call me by your name
“Call Me by Your Name” is a 2017 romantic drama flick directed by the Italian director Luca Guadagnino, based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman.
It is set in the Liguria region, Northern Italy.
Chiamami col tuo nome tells the story of a 17-year-old boy who falls in love with an older man, who has come to stay at his family’s villa in Italy.
Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer star as the main characters, Elio and Oliver.
Many believe that it was the stellar performance in Call me by your name that turned Timothée Chalamet into the world-famous actor he is today!
The film was shot in Crema, Lombardy, Italy, where Luca Guadagnino lives.
Some scenes were also filmed in the nearby towns of Moscazzano, Pizzighettone and Pandino.
The amazing villa is Villa Albergoni, located in Moscazzano.
It received critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as many other awards and nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars, and the Queer Palm and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Quick list of films set in Italy on Netflix (USA)
1. To Rome with Love (2012)
2. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
3. The Two Popes (2019)
4. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
5. Only You (2018)
6. Letters to Juliet (2010)
7. Roman Holiday (1953)
8. The Tourist (2010)
9. Angels & Demons (2009)
How many movies about Italy on this list have you seen?
Let us know in the comments!
You might also like:
– A taste of Italy – The best regional food in Italy
– Italian Christmas food you should eat on your next trip to Italy
– 30 types of Italian Pizza you should absolutely eat
– 23 romantic Tuscany villages you’ll fall in love with
– Abruzzo Food Guide: How do the Abruzzese eat?
– 38 Authentic Italian Cocktails & Wines You Should Try
– Guide to ETIAS Authorisation and Schengen Visa Requirements
– Discover the best time to travel to Italy
– 37 Movies about Italy to watch before your trip
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Travelling Dany – Danila Caputo
Danila Caputo is a bilingual travel writer living in between Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Italy), graduating from the University of Naples Suor Orsola Benincasa in Foreign Languages and Literature. She travels and works with her husband Aldo, photographer and videographer. Their blog chronicles their adventures around the world, their love for the USA (where they have family), Italian/European culture and tips on how to be responsible travelers. You can find out more about their latest trips and their life on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.