Ah, la dolce vita. Italy encapsulates the mind and always leaves you longing for more. Luckily, we can simply turn on our TVs and imagine ourselves there! I’ve scoped 10 of the best movies set in Italy.
These films offer a unique glimpse into Italian culture and history, and transport viewers to some of the most beautiful locations in the country. Whether you’re looking for an entertaining escape or a more informative look at Italy, these movies are sure to please. I’ve written the best books set in Italy, here!
It’s no wonder that Italy is one of the most popular locations to film a movie. The backdrop alone is mesmerizing. Whether you want to escape to the Amalfi Coast, luxuriate in the Tuscan countryside, or go on an adventure in Rome, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a look at the list:
Eat, Pray, Love
Eat, Pray, Love is a romantic drama based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. The film tells the story of Gilbert’s journey to Italy, India, and Bali in search of self-discovery.
Gilbert’s time in Italy is spent enjoying the food, culture, and wine of Rome and Florence. She also befriends an Italian gentleman, who helps her to find love and acceptance.
Under the Tuscan Sun
Based on the best-selling book by Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun follows American writer Mayes as she impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany. Mayes moves to Italy with the intention of restoring her home to its former glory. Along the way, she falls in love with the country and its people, learning to live a simpler, more fulfilling life.
Life is Beautiful
Life is Beautiful is a heartwarming Italian film that tells the story of a Jewish man and his family during the Holocaust. While interned in a concentration camp, the man does everything he can to keep his wife and son safe and happy. He uses his wit and humor to protect them from the harsh reality of their situation and instill hope in them.
The Godfather is an American film based on the best-selling novel by Mario Puzo. The movie follows the Corleone crime family in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. Although the film is not set entirely in Italy, there are several scenes that take place in the country, including the opening sequence set on the fictional island of Corleone.
Roman Holiday is a classic American romantic comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The film follows a young princess who, tired of her royal duties, runs away from her handlers and spends a day exploring Rome incognito. During her adventure, she meets an American reporter who is also looking to escape his life. The two quickly fall in love and have to find a way to be together despite their different worlds.
The Italian Job
The Italian Job is a crime drama set in Venice that follows the exploits of Mark Wahlberg’s character as he plots an elaborate theft with his accomplices. It passes through St. Mark’s Square, the Grand Canal, and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute—one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller starring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a man who is sent to Italy to bring back a wealthy friend’s son. Ripley becomes enchanted by the lifestyle of his friend (Jude Law) and begins to impersonate him. He soon finds himself in over his head, leading to a dangerous game of cat and mouse.
Gladiator is a historical drama starring Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman general who is betrayed and sold into slavery. Maximus becomes a gladiator in the hope of one day being able to return to his family. He quickly becomes one of the most successful fighters in the arena, leading to a battle with the emperor’s corrupt son.
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a classic Italian film that follows a week in the life of journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni). Rubini wanders around Rome, encountering various characters and indulging in the city’s nightlife. The film offers a glimpse into the decadent lifestyle of the rich and famous in 1960s Italy.
When in Rome
When in Rome is a romantic comedy starring Kristen Bell as a woman who, while on a work trip to Rome, steals coins from a fountain said to grant the wishes of those who throw them in. Upon her return home, she finds that the coins have worked and she is now being pursued by five men who all want to marry her. She must choose between the life she knows and the life she could have with one of these men. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s a 2002 movie also called “When in Rome” with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson. So take your pick!
Letters to Juliet
Letters to Juliet is a romantic drama starring Amanda Seyfried as an American woman who travels to Verona, Italy on vacation. While there, she comes across a group of women who answer letters written to Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet. She begins helping them with their quest to find missing lovers, all while searching for her own.
Rome, Lake Como
Ocean’s 12 is a heist comedy that follows the Ocean’s 11 crew as they attempt to pull off a series of daring thefts in Europe. While the majority of the film takes place in Amsterdam, there are also scenes set in Rome and Lake Como. The movie features an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon.
Wonder Woman is a superhero movie based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The film follows Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) as she leaves her idyllic island home to enter the world of man during the First World War. While much of the movie is set in London, there is also a significant portion that takes place in Italy, where Diana goes to find and stop the villain Ares.
Men in Black: International
Men in Black: International is a science fiction action movie that follows the Men in Black as they attempt to stop an alien threat. The film features several locations around Italy, including Rome, Florence, and Pisa. It also stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as the new members of the Men in Black.
Call Me by Your Name
Call Me by Your Name is a coming-of-age drama that follows Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old boy who falls in love with his father’s graduate student, Oliver (Armie Hammer). The film is set in the 1980s and takes place in the Italian countryside.
A Room with a View
A Room with a View is a period drama that follows Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter), a young woman who travels to Florence, Italy with her chaperone. There, she meets and falls in love with a man named George Emerson (Julian Sands). However, their relationship is complicated by the fact that George is of a lower social class than Lucy.
The Two Popes
The Two Popes is a historical drama that follows the story of Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce). In the film, the two men meet at the Vatican to discuss their different views on the Catholic Church. However, their meeting ends up having much greater consequences than either of them could have anticipated.
The Tourist is a thriller that follows an American woman named Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who is being pursued by the police. She ends up taking refuge with a man named Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), who is also being pursued by the police. The two of them end up going on the run together and end up in Venice, Italy. The best part of the movie is definitely the beautiful scenery of Venice.
To Rome with Love
To Rome with Love is a comedy-drama directed by Woody Allen that follows the lives of several characters in Rome. The film includes stories about a man who is mistaken for a movie star, an architect who reconnects with an old flame, and a young couple who elope to Rome. The film offers a unique and humorous look at the city of Rome and its inhabitants.
Tea With Mussolini
Tea With Mussolini is a historical drama that follows the story of a group of Englishwomen living in Italy during the Second World War. The film follows their lives as they attempt to maintain their way of life despite the increasing threat of war. The movie stars Cher, Judi Dench, and Maggie Smith.
The best movies set in Italy offer a glimpse into the country’s rich culture and history. From classics like Roman Holiday to modern thrillers like The Talented Mr. Ripley, there’s something for everyone on this list. Do you have a favorite movie set in Italy?!