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Travel buzz

9 movies filmed in Italy to inspire your next trip

Aug 02, 2021 by Kara Kramer

Italy’s vibrant local life, charming pastel cityscapes, and bucolic countryside make for stunning backdrops on the silver screen. Discover the dramatic cliff-top villages and exquisite Baroque architecture of Italy through film, then visit all the destinations on tour with Go Ahead. Here are nine movies set in Italy to inspire your next tour of Italy.

a bronze colored gate blocking the steps that lead up to the front of Teatro Massimo, a Roman style opera house decorated with large ornate columns and an Italian phrase carved right above them

1. The Godfather


This highly regarded film directed by Francis Ford Coppola is one of the best movies set in Italy. Marlon Brando and Al Pacino shine in this classic film from 1972. The movie is shot around the charming hillside town of Taormina, 100 miles east of Palermo, the capital city of Sicily—known as the birthplace of the Italian mafia.

a stone road wrapping around a cluster of stone buildings and cave dwellings, built on a hilltop in Matera, Italy

2. Wonder Woman


This action-packed Gal Gadot film highlights a beautiful area of Italy. The city of Matera doesn’t have the notoriety of other Southern Italian places like Naples or Sicily, but what it does offer is completely unique. In “Wonder Woman,” Themyscira is the island home to Wonder Woman and her Amazon tribe. In Italy, the fictional Amazonian island was filmed in Matera, famous for its ancient cave dwellings. Matera lends an extraordinary landscape to the fantastical world of Wonder Woman.

Discover Matera on our Food & Wine: Southern Italy & Sicily >

the baroque-style Roman Catholic church and basilica, Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute,  featuring a light blue dome and statues resting on the top of its octagonal structure, seen from the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

3. The Italian Job


This heist thriller featuring Mark Wahlberg weaves its way through St. Mark's Square, the Grand Canal, and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute—one of the most famous churches in Venice, and takes you along for the ride.

a terracotta and white stone balcony decorated with carved-out pointed arches next to Moorish style windows, seen from a tree

4. Letters to Juliet


The city of Verona is in Northern Italy between Milan and Venice, and it makes the perfect backdrop in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” This rom-com film revolves around the real-life wall in Verona where people leave love letters at the site believed to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for the famous balcony scene where Romeo and Juliet confess their love.

Discover 6 romantic places to visit in Italy >

a statue of the nude, long-haired Ganges River god, leaning against a rock and holding an ore between his legs, carved into the Fountain of the Four Rivers as water flows out of crevasses around the fountain

5. Eat, Pray, Love

Rome, Naples

Julia Roberts takes us on an enthralling culinary journey in “Eat, Pray, Love” and Italy is the main event. You'll spot prosciutto-wrapped melon framed on-camera like a Michelangelo. You'll catch a glimpse of the famous L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele as Roberts eats her Margherita pizza. You’ll zip on screen through Rome’s Piazza Navona, Villa Borghese Gardens, and the narrow cobblestone streets of the charming Roman Trastevere neighborhood.

Want to eat your way through Italy like Julia Roberts? See our Food & Wine Tours of Italy >

houses built into the side of a cliff in Positano, Italy, looking out over many boats floating in the light blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea

6. Under the Tuscan Sun

Positano, Tuscany

Live in Tuscany for a few hours in “Under the Tuscan Sun” in the idyllic town of Cortona nestled in the magical hills north of Lake Trasimene. Witness the rugged natural beauty of central Italy and the resplendent towns on the hills of the Amalfi Coast.

Want to be there? See our Tuscany Walking Tour through Cortona.

the Italian volcanic island of Ischia seen from above, featuring white houses spread across the dark green landscape, connecting to an island where the medieval fortress, Castello Aragonese, sits

7. Men in Black: International


A weapon of mass destruction gets stolen by an alien and ends up with an interplanetary arms dealer in Naples in this eccentric movie filmed in Italy. The antagonist’s lair referred to in the movie as “Riza's Fortified Fortress” is actually the ancient (474 BC) Aragonese Castle off the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples.

a women starring up at the center part of the Trevi fountain, featuring a statue of Oceanus standing in his chariot being pulled by two seahorses with water gushing from the stone steps below Oceanus into the light aquamarine colored pool

8. When in Rome


When an unlucky New Yorker steals coins from Trevi Fountain—the fountain of love, chaos ensues. While in the Eternal City, get up close and personal with the Piazza della Maddalena and the Roman Forum in this light-hearted romance flick.

Discover these locations on our tours of Rome >

a light peach colored Italian villa, Villa del Balbianello, with its white bell tower, many statues, and intricately decorated fence lining the cliff's edge, seen from Lake Como

9. Ocean’s 12

Lake Como, Rome, Sicily

This Hollywood-studded film is set across Italy—notably, Lake Como, with its impressive villas nestled against the backdrop of the Italian Alps. Other highlights include gorgeous shots of coastal towns in Sicily (and Brad Pitt) along Castellammare del Golfo, and of course, a smattering of heists across Rome and Europe.

What's your favorite movie filmed in Italy? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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About the author | Kara Kramer
Growing up, Kara’s backyard was the Sonoran Desert where her love for exploration was ignited by dirt roads leading to petroglyphs and family road trips to sleepy Mexican fishing villages. Kara’s enjoyment for charting new territory continued with teaching abroad in Thailand, roaming wine cellar caves in Portugal, and swimming in the bioluminescent waters of the Caribbean. She’s always on the lookout for dive bars and a bowl of Vietnamese Pho (lime, basil, and jalapeño is the holy trinity).

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