Italy is one of those places that you either dream of visiting or can’t wait to return to. These 15 movies set in Italy will fuel your wanderlust and inspire you to go. From romantic flicks to action thrillers, these movies about Italy prove that it’s one of those destinations travellers and moviegoers can’t get enough of.
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Movies about Italy
Italy has been inspiring filmmakers for decades, so trying to list all the movies about Italy would make for quite a lengthy post. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of 15 movies set in Italy in the last 20+ years that will inspire you to plan your next trip.
The stunning locations, food and cinematography will take you to Venice, Rome, Tuscany, Amalfi Coast and many more. Be forewarned that they might induce wanderlust and have you dreaming of visiting all these places. We can’t blame you as we also love movies about Italy, movies set in Italy and even those partially filmed there.
Love movies about Italy? You might enjoy Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy: Where to eat in Naples.
15 Best movies set in Italy
These movies set in Italy show us that Italy is the place where you might find yourself no matter what you’re going through. Whether you’re finding love, overcoming personal trauma or facing a middle-age crisis, Italy is there, like a therapist, waiting for you. Whether that’s true in real life is a totally different story.
Dangerous Beauty (1998)
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
Plot: Dangerous Beauty takes us back to 16th century Venice. Veronica Franco (Catherine McCormack) is a young, vibrant woman in love with Marco Venier (Rufus Sewell), the handsome son of a nobleman. Their love, however, isn’t meant to be because her family doesn’t have money, so she’s left with two choices – the cloister or a life as a courtesan. She chooses the latter and becomes one of the most sought-after companions to the richest and most powerful men in Venice.
Based on the life of Veronica Franco, it’s an intimate look at the precarious and restrictive lives of women living in a man’s world. It’s a tale of love, duty, courage and betrayal set against the stunning beauty of Venice herself.
Location(s): Venice, Rome
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Genre: Phycological Thriller
Plot: Set in the 1950s, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) works as a piano player at a fancy party where he’s approached by the wealthy shipping magnate Herbert Greenleaf. As he’s wearing a borrowed Princeton jacket, Herbert mistakes him for his son Dickie’s classmate. Seeing an opportunity, Tom pretends to know Dickie and agrees to travel to Italy on an all-expenses-paid trip to convince him to come home.
In Italy, he befriends Dickie (Jude Law) and his fiancée Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow), pretending to be an old classmate. He gets hooked on the lifestyle and becomes obsessed with Dickie. When that’s threatened, he will stop at nothing to keep up the façade.
Location(s): Positano, Salerno, Procida, Ischia, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Grosseto, Venice
The Italian Job (2003)
Genre: Action thriller
Plot: John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) and Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) bring together a team for one last heist. The prize – $35 million in gold bars sitting in a heavily guarded safe in Venice, Italy. After a successful job, one of the members, Steve (Edward Norton), decides to keep it all for himself and eliminate the rest of the team. Thinking them dead, he heads back to Los Angeles with the gold.
After John’s death, the remaining team members reassembles and enlists the help of his daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron) to help them exact revenge. The team uses their special skills to get back at Steve as he is trying to outwit them.
Location(s): Turin, Venice
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Genre: Romantic comedy-drama
Plot: San Francisco writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) learns that her cheating husband wants a divorce to be with his pregnant new partner. After she loses her house in the divorce, she becomes depressed and unable to write. With nothing left to lose, she accepts her friend Patti’s (Sandra Oh) ticket for a tour in Italy, which Patty bought before she got pregnant.
While in Tuscany, Frances impulsively buys a run-down villa and decides to renovate it. There, she juggles repairs and romance while trying to get her life back on track. A cast of colourful characters help along the way aid Frances in her journey.
Location(s): Cortona, Rome, Florence, Montepulciano, Siena, Positano, Salerno
Genre: Romantic comedy
Plot: in 1753, the young Casanova (Heath Ledger) is well on his way to establishing his notorious reputation as a ladies man when he faces a choice – marry or be exiled from Venice. He then falls in love with Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller), who mistakes him for his servant, Lupo Salvato. Francesca is a feminist who writes illegal feminist books under the pseudonym, Bernardo Guardi. As she hates the promiscuous Casanova, so he never corrects her.
Francesca’s family is impoverished, so her mother encourages her to marry the wealthy Paprizzio (Oliver Platt) from Genoa. When he arrives in Venice, Casanova tries to keep him away from Francesca by telling him that he is Bernardo Guardi. At the same time, he confesses to Francesca that he really is Paprizzio, who was testing her. Secret identities and misunderstandings result in Shakespearean-style comedy set in one of the most romantic cities in Italy.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Genre: Spy action thriller
Plot: Secret agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on a mission to avenge the death of his lover Vesper Lynd. While looking for those responsible, Bond and M (Dame Judi Dench) face a shadowy international network of power and corruption. After an assassination attempt on M, the focus is on Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a world-renowned developer of green technology.
With odds stacked against him and unsure who to trust, Bond sets out to stop Greene’s plan of world domination. No matter what you think of this Bond movie, there is no denying that the scenery holds its own.
Location(s): Lake Garda, Limone sul Garda, Brescia, Siena, Matera, Malcesine, Verona, Grosseto, Talamone, Orbetello
Angels and Demons (2009)
Genre: Mystery thriller
Plot: Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) discovers a deadly plot against the Catholic Church. The threat comes from the ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati. In Rome, he joins forces with the Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) as they follow a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols to prevent the attack.
The two embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs and deserted cathedrals while the clock is ticking.
Location(s): Rome, Caserta, Vatican City (many of the scenes inside churches were filmed in studios in California as the Catholic Church forbade filming inside)
When in Rome (2010)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Plot: Beth (Kristen Bell) is a successful art curator at the Guggenheim museum. Despite her success, her love life leaves much to be desired. Fed up with the idea of a perfect romance, she flies to Rome for her sister’s impulsive wedding. There she meets Nicholas Beamon (Josh Duhamel), who aids her in a couple of difficult situations, and the two seem to hit it off. All is good until she sees Nick kissing another woman
Drunk and angry, Beth defiantly gets into the “fountain of love” where she grabs a handful of coins, unaware of the legend that says if you take coins from the fountain, the owner of the coin will fall in love with you. She’s pursued by several pushy suitors back home, presumably owners of the coins from the fountain. Now she has to figure out how to break the spell and figure out if Nick, too, was affected by the coin.
The Tourist (2010)
Genre: Romantic thriller
Plot: Frank (Johnny Depp) is an American tourist that comes to Italy to mend his broken heart. While on a train to Venice, Elise (Angelina Jolie) strikes up a conversation with him. Once they arrive, he invites her to dinner before returning to her hotel.
Frank is unaware that he’s being set up by Elise who is using him as a decoy, intended to appear as her boyfriend, Alexander Pearce. Pearce is wanted by the Scotland Yard and a Russian mobster whose money he stole. Now, the two must evade police and shady thugs intended on getting their money back.
Location(s): Mestre, Venice, Treviso
Letters to Juliet (2010)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Plot: Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) works as a fact-checker at the New York Times while yearning to be a writer. She goes on a trip to Verona with her chef fiancé Victor where she discovers a group of women calling themselves the “Secretaries of Juliet.” The women answer the numerous letters to Juliet left in the famous Verona courtyard. While Sophie is a romantic, Victor is not, and she is left to her own devices, so she joins the ladies at their work.
After finding an unanswered letter to Juliet written by Claire Smith in 1957, she decides to answer it. Soon after, Clair arrives in Verona with her grandson Charlie, and they all set out to find Claire’s love – a man named Lorenzo Bartolini. Different romantic storylines blend in nicely here with the stunning Italian countryside.
Location(s): Verona, Siena, Soave
The Trip to Italy (2014)
Plot: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon star as fictionalized versions of themselves as they eat their way through Italy. Commissioned for a new tour in Italy, the two comedy buddies/rivals take on the landscapes and the cuisine, making us all wish we were there too.
Location(s): Ravello, Monforte d’Alba, San Terenzo, Salerno, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Rome
Genre: Romantic historical disaster
Plot: Milo (Kit Harington) is a talented slave-turned-gladiator that the crowds nicknamed “the Celt.” In 79 A.D., he’s brought to Pompeii to participate in the gladiatorial games with other slaves. There, the catches the eye of Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of the city governor Severus (Jared Harris) and his wife Aurelia (Carrie-Anne Moss).
Despite their different social standings, the two become involved even though Cassia has been betrothed to the corrupt Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), who is also the man responsible for the deaths of Milos’ family. Against the backdrop of erupting volcano and Corvus’ wrath, Milo must fight his way out of the arena and save his beloved while Pompeii is crumbling around them.
Location(s): Pompeii, Naples
Enjoying movies about Italy? You might like Visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum.
All Roads Lead to Rome (2015)
Genre: Romantic comedy
Plot: Maggie (Sarah Jessica Parker) brings her rebellious teenage daughter Summer (Rosie Day) on a mother-daughter trip to Italy. Instead of bonding in the Italian countryside of Maggie’s youth, Summer is determined to get back to the US and into the arms of her no-good boyfriend. While Sumer is busy hatching her getaway plan, Maggie reconnects with a former flame Luca (Raoul Bova).
Summer and Luca’s mother, Carmen (Claudia Cardinale), steal his convertible and head for Rome, where there is an airport and Carmen’s secret lover Marcellino. Realizing what happened, Maggie and Luca chase after them while confronting what happened in the past.
Location(s): Rome and surrounding areas
Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Genre: Coming-of-age romantic drama
Plot: For 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), the summer of 1983 at his parents’ villa in rural Italy shapes as any other. That is until his father’s new research assistant, 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer), arrives to help with his academic paperwork. The two initially don’t get along, but neither can deny an attraction between them.
Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Location(s): Crema, Bergamo, Sirmione, Moscazzano, Valbondione, Montodine and other small towns in Lombardy
Made in Italy (2020)
Plot: Jack (Micheál Richardson) manages an art gallery in London, owned by his soon-to-be ex-wife Ruth (Yolanda Kettle) and her family. When they decide to sell the gallery from under him, he decides to buy the gallery from them. To do that, he must convince his estranged artist father Robert (Liam Neeson) to sell the home he inherited from his late wife in Italy.
The house, after years of neglect, is in shambles. A local real estate agent advised them to fix up the property so they can get a bigger profit. As they start the renovations, father and son must confront their past, the unresolved issues between them and the tragedy that took the life of the woman they both loved.
Location(s): Monticchiello, Tuscany
Final thoughts on movies about Italy
No matter how many movies about Italy you see, there will always be more to keep you dreaming of a country that clearly is a movie star of its own. What are some of your favourite movies set in Italy?