When I watch movies about Italy, it reminds me of all the amazing memories we had traveling there. And it makes me want to travel back to Italy immediately. Whether you’ve visited Italy or not, I am sure that you’ll surely love many of these films set in Italy. They’ll transport you to this romantic, historic, beautiful country with so many interesting and intriguing stories.
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As we’re not able to immediately transport ourselves to Italy right this minute, we’ll settle for the second best thing: watching these movies set in Italy. How many have you seen on the list, and which ones are your favorites?
Movies About Italy: The Top 25
It was really hard to narrow this list down to 25 movies. There are so many amazing movies about Italy that I could have easily made this the top 50 films about Italy. I think that these 25 movies will keep you plenty busy, even if you’ve seen a few on the list.
I know that I haven’t included all the best movies about Italy here as I had to narrow my list down. But, if you love an Italian movie that you feel absolutely deserves to be on this list, be sure to let me know in the comments section down below! Without further ado, here are the best movies filmed in Italy or films that feature Italy in one way or another.
Guido Anselmi, a famous film director, is suffering from a lack of inspiration as he attempts to create his next science fiction masterpiece. He faces difficulties in his professional and personal life, both artistically and in his marriage. As the pressure from his staff and journalist grows, Guido delves into his own childhood memories, major life events, and women he has loved and lost.
8 1/2 is an Italian surrealist comedy-drama, co-scripted and directed by Federico Fellini. Legend has it that the film is autobiographical in nature as Fellini struggled with a creative block in creating a follow up to his film, La Dolce Vita. It’s thought to be one of the most influential films of all time, and it won two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language film and Best Costume Design).
8 1/2 is one of the best movies about Italy, and it is available to stream online. You can watch 8 1/2 for a rental fee on YouTube, Google, or by subscribing to The Criterion Channel.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Filmed in Rome.
A Room with a View is a British drama / romance film based on the novel by E.M. Forester. In the movie, a young English girl named Lucy and her cousin find that their hotel room in Florence does not come with a view. Over dinner that evening, they meet some fellow English guests, the Emersons, who attempt to fix the situation by switching rooms with them.
In Italy, Lucy shares a fleeting romance with George Emerson before returning home to England and becoming engaged to another man. Unexpectedly, George reenters her life once again, which could affect her plans to wed. A Room with a View is one of the top films set in Italy, which definitely furthers the notion that Italy is a romantic vacation destination.
A Room with a View won three Academy Awards (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design). You can rent this movie on YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime. You can also stream it with a subscription to PBS Masterpiece on Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: One of the best movies set in Italy, it was filmed in Florence and Fiesole (Florentine countryside).
Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age Italian romantic drama film set in the 1980s. It illustrates the budding romance between a 17 year old student (Elio) and an older man (Oliver), a graduate student employed as the research assistant to the younger man’s father. Elio finds that he’s increasingly drawn to Oliver as they spend more time together. The two embark on a complicated relationship and we follow the highs and lows that come with falling in love for the first time.
Call Me By Your Name is one of the best movies about Italy, and it premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it also gained a number of accolades at several other awards shows for its screenplay, directing, acting, and music. For a small fee, you can rent this movie from YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime.
Places That Inspired the Movie: This movie was set in rural northern Italy. Some filming locations include Bergamo, Crema, Sirmione, Moscazzano, and Valbondione.
Cinema Paradiso is an Italian drama film loosely based on the Protti family who have owned a movie theater since 1904. Salvatore Di Vita, a famous film director, receives the news that an old friend from his home village has died. Salvatore thinks back to his childhood and we uncover these moments through a series of flashbacks. Alfredo, a projectionist at Cinema Paradiso and fatherly figure to Salvatore, teaches him about the world of filmmaking.
We learn about the drastic changes in filmmaking over the years, including the traditional skills involved in editing and screening films that are fading away. Alfredo encourages the young boy to eventually leave his town to achieve his dreams in the wider world and never look back.
Cinema Paradiso won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. You can rent Cinema Paradiso on Amazon Prime or watch it with an HBO Subscription.
Places That Inspired the Movie: One of the films about Italy shot in multiple locations, including Palermo, Cefalù, Bagheria, Lascari, and Rome.
Although the film generally received negative reviews in the Italian press, Eat Pray Love is one of the most popular films about Italy that has sparked so many women to take solo adventures to the country (along with India and Bali). It famously stars Julia Roberts as Elizabeth Gilbert in a biographical romantic drama film, based on Gilbert’s memoir.
Essentially, Gilbert is unhappy in her life, including her marriage. As a newly divorced woman, she embarks on a journey around the world in a quest for self-discovery. Italy is featured prominently in the film as Gilbert’s first destination where she learns Italian and discovers her love for eating delicious Italian food.
Eat Pray Love is one of the fan favorite Italian movies on Netflix. You can also watch on YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime for a rental fee.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Eat Pray Love is set in Rome and Naples.
Enchanted April is a 1920s era drama about four English women who take a vacation to a charming Italian villa at a time when they are generally unhappy with their lives. The women don’t have much in common and travel together to share the expenses of the trip. They eventually find common ground by experiencing the enchanting beauty of their surroundings together, and rediscover hope and love along the way, too.
You can rent Enchanted April from YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime. It’s one of the best films about Italy that will make you feel like you’ve taken a vacation there from your living room.
Places That Inspired the Movie: This film was shot at Castello Brown in Portofino, Italy, the castle where the book’s author stayed in the 1920s.
Gladiator is one of the most popular movies about Italy. It is a historical drama film starring Russell Crowe. Crowe plays the role of Roman general, Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commodus, son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, betrays Maximus when he murders Maximus’ father and seizes the throne. Then, Commodus captures Maximus and puts him into slavery. He trains and rises through the ranks to avenge his father’s death.
This movie won many awards, including five Academy Awards. It’s credited with rekindling an interest in entertainment about ancient Roman culture. Gladiator is one of the top Italian films on Netflix. You can also rent it to stream on YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime for a small fee.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Although the movie is set in Rome, much of it was shot in England and Morocco. The scenes of ancient Rome, including a replica of the Colosseum, were shot in Malta. A few scenes from the film were actually shot in Siena, Italy.
Il Postino (or The Postman for its English release) is an Italian comedy drama film. The story features a humble Italian postman who learns the art of poetry while delivering mail to a famous poet. He then uses his knowledge and love of poetry to win the affections of a beautiful lady who he admires.
The writer and star of the film, Massimo Troisi, was very ill during its filming. He postponed heart surgery to complete the film. Sadly, he suffered a fatal heart attack the day after principal photography ended, so he never got to watch the finished project. Il Postino was critically acclaimed and won one Academy Award. You can watch Il Postino to stream on Disney+.
Places That Inspired the Movie: This movie takes place on a small island in Italy. The production was filmed in Sicily (Pollara) and Procida Island near Naples.
Journey to Italy (also known as Voyage to Italy) is an Italian drama film that is thought to be the masterpiece of writer, Roberto Rossellini. As a pioneering work of modernist cinema, it was named as one of the top 50 movies ever made.
The film features an English married couple taking a holiday to Naples. They have an unhappy and strained marriage. The couple suffers from many misunderstandings that affect their relationship, although their marriage has a turning point while visiting Pompeii.
You can watch Journey to Italy with a Criterion Channel subscription. You can also rent it on Amazon Prime or watch with a subscription to Filmbox Live on Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Naples and Pompeii.
La Dolce Vita is a comedy drama film directed and co-written by Federico Fellini. The movie features Marcello Rubini, a paparazzo journalist living in Rome. It plays out in a series of stories over seven days and seven nights as he seeks out celebrities in embarrassing situations for his tabloid magazine. As he ultimately searches for love and happiness, he wonders if a simpler life might be better than the extravagant one he leads.
La Dolce Vita was a box office success and critically acclaimed as one of the best movies of all time. It won an Academy Award and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. You can watch La Dolce Vita by renting it from YouTube, Google Play, or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Rome
Life is Beautiful is an Italian comedy drama film starring Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the script. Benigni plays the role of Guido Orefice, a Jewish bookshop owner who becomes a victim of the Holocaust, along with his son. In the film, Guido uses his imagination to protect his son from the horrors of living in a concentration camp.
The film was critically acclaimed and received success both from critics and at the box office. It won many awards, including Academy Awards, the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, and others. You can watch Life is Beautiful by renting it from YouTube, Google Play, or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Arezzo, Tuscany
Malèna is a comedy drama and one of the top films set in Italy. In 1940, in a small Sicilian town, a 13 year old boy named Renato becomes obsessed with a beautiful woman named Malèna. As her husband is fighting in World War II, she lives alone and becomes the fixation of many men in town (and faces the scorn of many women). As Renato grows increasingly smitten with Malena, her life descends into chaos.
The film had mixed reviews and reception from critics, though it was nominated for several prestigious awards. You can rent Malena on Amazon Prime.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Sicilian town of Castelcuto.
Much Ado About Nothing is a romantic comedy based on the William Shakespeare play. Two young lovers are to be married in a week. They conspire together to set up their two friends with one another, so they will also marry one another. It’s a wonderful adaptation of Shakespeare and it’s generally received great reviews. You can watch Much Ado About Nothing for free with an Amazon prime subscription.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Florence
Only You is a romantic comedy starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. As a child, Marisa Tomei’s character, Faith, is told by both a Ouija board and a fortune teller that she is destined to marry a man called “Damon Bradley”.
Several years later, Faith is engaged to another man but learns that her fiance’s classmate is traveling to Venice. His name is Damon Bradley. She follows him from the USA and across Italy, but never gets to meet him. Will Faith ever find Damon Bradley? You’ll have to watch this film set in Italy to find out! You can stream Only You by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Roman Holiday is a romantic comedy film set in Italy, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Audrey plays the role of a princess who escapes her guardians and sets out to see Rome on her own. In doing so, she meets an American reporter, played by Gregory, and she falls in love.
The film was extremely popular at the box office and received great acclaim, including several award nominations and three Academy Awards. You can stream Roman Holiday by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Rome
Rome, Open City is an Italian neorealist drama film directed by Roberto Rossellini. The movie takes place during the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944. Rome is classified as an “open city”, meaning that Romans can wander the streets without the fear of being killed or bombed.
However, it is still very difficult to live in Rome during this time. The Nazis are actively searching for anyone involved in the resistance. Giorgio Manfredi, the Resistance leader, attempts to escape the Nazis throughout the course of the film.
The movie aims to accurately portray the adversity that the Roman people faced during these times. You can stream Rome, Open City by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Rome
Tea with Mussolini is a semi-autobiographical film about an orphaned Italian boy who is brought up by a circle of British and American women before and during World War II. This group of older, cultured expatriate British women are called the Scorpioni. They teach young Luca many life lessons, as well as lessons about the arts. We follow the stories of the women and Luca as World War II progresses throughout Italy and Europe.
Places That Inspired the Movie: There are several Italian cities and towns featured in one of the best movies about Italy during World War II: Florence, San Gimignano, and Rome.
The English Patient is a romantic drama based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje. Taking place towards the end of World War II, the film follows the story of four people taking shelter in an abandoned villa in northern Italy.
The protagonist is a badly burned plane crash victim who recalls his story to a young nurse in a series of flashbacks. It slowly reveals his identity and his romantic love affair from before the times of war. You can watch The English Patient for free with an Amazon prime subscription.
Places That Inspired the Movie: There are numerous film locations: Venice, Pisa, Siena, Rome, and others.
The Godfather is considered to be one of the best and most influential movies ever made. It’s the first film in the trilogy of American crime movies. The patriarch of an organized crime family (“Don” Vito Corleone) seeks to transfer the power of the mafia empire to his son, Michael. Michael, a World War II marine vet, seems to be disinterested in the family business.
When the Don refuses to invest and partake in drug dealings with a drug baron, the drug dealer puts out a hit on the Don. He barely survives the attack, and Michael responds by starting a war between the mafia families that threatens to tear his own family apart.
You can watch The Godfather for free with a Netflix subscription. It’s one of the best Italian movies on Netflix.
Places That Inspired the Movie: While a portion of the film is set in the USA, a good part of the movie takes place in Sicily. Forza d’Agrò is the fictitious Corleone village.
The Great Beauty, or La Grande Bellezza, is an Italian art drama film. The main character, Jep Gambardella, is a fascinating journalist and theater critic who has led an extravagant social life through Rome’s nightlife scene for many years. After his 65th birthday and discovering that his first and only love has passed away, Jep begins to reevaluate the world around him.
Jep looks beyond his materialistic existence to witness the beauty around him. Through a series of events in the film, Jep begins to see a glimmer of hope within himself and reverts back to the passion he had for writing in his younger years. You can stream The Great Beauty by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Rome
The Italian Job is a comedy caper film from 1969 that also had a remake in 2003. It recalls the story of the leader of a criminal gang who plots and plans to steal a shipment of gold boullion from an armored truck in Turin, Italy.
The ending scene of the movie is often discussed and portrayed throughout many parodies in pop culture. Their minibus, filled with gold, is left teetering half over the edge of the cliff, as the film ends on a literal cliffhanger. You can stream The Italian Job by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: While the movie is filmed partially in England and Ireland, there are many scenes from Turin and Trento, Italy.
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller, set in the late 1950s. Tom Ripley, played by Matt Damon, borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at an upscale party. The wealthy father of a Princeton graduate asks Ripley to go to Italy to persuade his son to return home. Ripley travels to Italy and befriends the son, and becomes increasing obsessed with him and his lavish lifestyle.
The film was a commercial success that was also praised by critics. It was nominated for five Academy Awards. You can stream The Talented Mr. Ripley by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Positano, Rome, Naples, and other locations in Italy.
The Trip to Italy is a British comedy film where two men enjoy six meals in various places around Italy. It is a sequel to the film, The Trip, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves.
The two men venture on a road trip across Italy where they talk about life and love as they journey across the Italian countryside. They visit Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi and Capri. You can stream The Trip to Italy by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and more.
The Two Popes is a biographical Italian movie that tells the story of Pope Benedict XVI (played by Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (played by Jonathan Pryce). Pope Benedict asks Bergoglio to reconsider his request to resign as an archbishop.
While conservative Pope Benedict and the future liberal Pope Francis have many different views, they seek to find commonality for the future of the Roman Catholic church. You can watch The Two Popes for free with a Netflix subscription. It’s one of the best Italian films on Netflix.
Places That Inspired the Movie: The movie takes place in Vatican City, though many places in Rome and Argentina stand in for scenes at the Vatican.
Under the Tuscan Sun is one of the best movies about Italy. It is a romantic comedy drama starring Diane Lane (as Frances Mayes). She plays a recently divorced writer who impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in an attempt to change her life.
Under the Tuscan Sun is a delightful romantic film where you’ll also find yourself on a tour of Tuscany. You’ll meet many interesting local characters through Frances, including the relationships she forges in Italy. You can stream Under the Tuscan Sun by renting it from YouTube, Google Play or Amazon.
Places That Inspired the Movie: Tuscany, including Siena, Montepulciano, Cortona, and Florence.
Movies About Italy and Other Destinations
Interested to view more movies featuring countries and cultures from around the world? Please take a look at the following movie guides: