Have you ever dreamed of going to a place for so long that when you finally book the holiday and arrive it feels so familiar it’s as though you’ve been there before? In the case of Tuscany this feeling of déjà vu probably comes from some of the classic films that have been filmed in the beautiful region. |
If you’ve ever immersed yourself in the Merchant Ivory film A Room With a View or the Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful, both of which were partially filmed in the region, you may well feel that you’ve already taken several tours of Tuscany.
If, however, you’re a confirmed Italophile but have not seen some of the great films that use this stunning part of Italy as backdrop, then you’re missing a trick. Here are my favourite films featuring the region. So grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy these celluloid tours of Tuscany.
Room With a View
This is the 1986 Merchant Ivory film of EM Forster’s classic novel about an Edwardian English woman travelling in Italy and falling in love as she tours Tuscany. The sensual art and Latin spirit of Florence create the perfect backdrop for Lucy Honeychurch’s own feelings of sexual awakening which are then juxtaposed with the traditional British life she finds waiting for her back home. The movie features locations like the Church of Santa Croce, the Piazza Santa Croce, and Piazza della Signoria, in scenes where Lucy (played by Helena Bonham-Carter) explores the city alone and discovers its romantic heart.
Tea With Mussolini
This is the semi-autobiographical story of director Franco Zeffirelli’s own childhood. Released in 1999, the film is about a group of eccentric British women who live in Florence before the beginning of World War Two and raise an orphaned boy before they are interned. It offers a range of beautiful locations across Florence, Siena and the beautiful medieval town of San Gimignano, making this the perfect film to watch if you are looking for inspiration for places to visit in Tuscany.
Life is Beautiful
This Oscar-winning film is about ‘the indomitability of the human spirit’ in the face of the evils of the Second World War, as portrayed by the clown-like, romantic figure of Roberto Benigni. Set in the small Tuscan town of Arezzo, the film gives a beautiful depiction of parochial life in pre-war Italy. Arezzo is still a beautiful town to visit today, just a short distance southeast of Florence.
Under the Tuscan Sun
This 2003 film is one that will strike a chord with anyone who has travelled to Tuscany and dreams of returning, perhaps on a more permanent basis. In Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane plays a wife who finds out that her husband is cheating on her. When her best friend persuades her to take a tour of Italy, she falls in love with Tuscany and decides to buy a crumbling villa there and start again. The landscapes and light of Tuscany are almost characters in the film in their own right and will inspire you to visit.
If watching these films feeds your desire to take explore the area, join one of ArtViva’s tours of Tuscany take you to all, or some, of these beautiful locations.
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group tours of Tuscany, from hiking and biking through the Tuscan countryside to unforgettable villa visits.
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