A movie treasure hunt?
Tuscany, oh Tuscany… so full of charm, history and mesmerizing landscapes! Unsurprisingly, many directors have decided to use this picture-perfect backdrop for their movies since the early days of cinematography.
If you are a film fanatic who loves traveling and good food, Tuscany is the place to go for unforgettable movie itineraries that combine cultural visits with foodie delights.
At Italian Special Occasions DMC, we love creating family and friend reunions that involve a good fun challenge… and if you are planning a special get-together with your loved ones, we have an idea for you: a movie treasure hunt in Tuscany! Dare yourself and your group to identify the exact shooting locations while learning about local traditions and typical cuisine along the movie itinerary that comes to life as you follow the hints hidden around Tuscany.
If, for now, you’d rather test your memory or learn about Tuscan movie locations online, let’s embark on this journey together on this blog post!
Most movies have been shot in Tuscany’s capital, Florence. If you are traveling in this beautiful city and need to book a hotel, chances are that you would try your best to get a room with a view.
A nice sight is exactly what British tourist Lucy Honeychurch (played by Helena Bonham-Carter) expects to find when she arrives in her hotel in the movie A Room with a View (1985). The disappointment is what launches the story (based on a 1908 novel by E. M. Forster), which depicts the contrast between Edwardian English stuffiness and the overwhelming beauty and sense of possibility of Florence. Filming locations include Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio and Villa di Maiano.
But Florence is not only the setting of romantic movies: in Ridley Scott’s psychological thriller from 2001, serial killer Hannibal Lecter gives a lecture in the Sala dei Cinquecento (Palazzo Vecchio) and commits horrible crimes in Piazza della Signoria and Piazza della Repubblica. The war drama and semi-autobiographical film Tea with Mussolini, directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1999), shows practically all of Florence’s greatest monuments, including Piazza del Duomo, the English Cemetery and Piazza Santissima Annunziata.
The town of Arezzo is the setting for Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning masterpiece, La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful, 1997). The beauty of the city is evident in the romantic-comical scenes where Benigni’s character tries to conquer the schoolteacher that he then marries; but also in the dramatic scenes when anti-Semitism takes over the town. You’ll spot locations like the Cathedral, the Logge Vasari, the Petrarca Theater, Piazza Grande and Via Garibaldi.
Nicole Kidman’s character in the period movie The Portrait of a Lady (1996) is mirrored in the Luccan villa where she lives. The beautiful house with typical Baroque gardens is full of mysteries inside, just like the protagonist plays the part of a perfect wife but hides her desperate soul. The movie was filmed outside of Lucca.
Moving from the larger jewels to the smaller gems, we reach Cortona. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) tells the story of American writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) who visits the Italian region, buys the abandoned Villa Bramasole in Cortona and transforms her life in the new social and natural context. The English Patient (1996) features the Monastery of Sant’Anna in Camprena (Pienza) and Montepulciano, among others in Tuscany. Montalcino is the setting for the Shakesperean classic Midsummer’s Night Dream (1999), while one of the latest teenage blockbusters – New Moon (2009) of the Twilight saga – was partly filmed in Montepulciano.
If you have watched Ridley Scott’s The Gladiator (2000), you surely remember the scenes where Maximums rides back home from war, and where he dreams of paradise at the end. Both scenes are filmed in the Tuscan countryside around Siena. More precisely, the wheat fields representing paradise are located in the famous Val d’Orcia.
What is your favorite movie in a Tuscan setting? Feel free to share more movies that were not covered by this blog post in the comments below!
Are you looking for ideas to organize the perfect reunion for family and friends in Italy? Contact Italian Special Occasions DMC now for creative experiences and customized itineraries
Image from Under The Tuscan Sun. From imgkid.com
Movie poster for Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
What a view! [From the movie “A Room with a View” (1985)]
Movie locations of “La Vita è Bella” (1997) in Arezzo. From visitarezzo.com
Val d’Orcia, Siena, appears in The Gladiator (2000)