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The Ten Best Movies To Showcase Italy

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Planning a holiday to Italy? Check out the ten best movies to showcase Italy, to get you in the mood!

Italy is a country that is brimming with culture and stunning places just waiting to be explored. Over the past one hundred or so years, we have been blessed with some truly brilliant movies which showcase its beauty perfectly. Take a look at my favourites and see if they whet your appetite.

Roman Holiday | Under The Tuscan Sun | Only You |

Eat Pray Love | A Room With A View | Life Is Beautiful | The Talented Mr Ripley

 Letters to Juliet | Quantum Of Solace |The Godfather

Roman Holiday

Although set in the 1950’s, Roman Holiday is one of the best movies to showcase the magic of Rome. You will follow the stunning Audrey Hepburn around Rome as she explores top sights including The Spanish Steps and The Mouth of Truth for the first time.

The Travel Expert finds a great deal to Rome

 

Under The Tuscan Sun

Diane Lane, recently divorced, renovates a run down Tuscan villa to help transform her life. A romance and journey of self discovery ensues and the Tuscan countryside is the ideal place to make this happen.

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Only You

This romantic comedy staring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr is the perfect movie for anyone who is looking to see Italy’s highlights. Set in Rome, Venice and Tuscany this movie is an Italian lovers dream. The ride along the Amalfi coast and the hotel stay in Positano (Le Sirenuse) is a spectacular advertisement for this coastline.

Sorrento, 24th October holiday by The Travel Expert

 

Eat, Pray, Love

A divorced Julia Roberts takes a trip around the world to rediscover her true self. A three month start in Italy where she learns the language and some Italian cooking has inspired many people to copy her journey.

Pescheira de Garda Italy

 

 

A Room With A View

Florence is the setting for this romantic period drama. Helena Bonham-Carter is perfect as the impressionable,  young English lady. Florence and the Tuscan countryside combine to make this a worthy award winning movie.

Florence by The Travel Expert

Life Is Beautiful

This oscar-winning, foreign language film is about a Jewish book keeper in wartime Italy. Set in Arezzo, this Tuscan masterpiece sees Guido protecting his son from the horror of the holocaust by cleverly using his imagination.

The ten best movies set in Italy by The Travel Expert

The Talented Mr Ripley

This moody thriller is set all over Italy. It is one of the best movies to showcase various Italian cities with Venice,Rome, Palermo and Naples all featured. The scenes along the Amalfi coast are enough to tempt you to book a plane ticket!

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Letters to Juliet

Although most of the film was shot in Tuscany, Verona is home to Juliet’s balcony and where Amanda Seyfried finds a 50 year old love letter. Of course she has to trace its owner and hence the Italian journey begins.

The ten best movies set in Italy by The Travel Expert

 

Quantum of Solace

No one could forget the opening scene of Quantum of Solace. A car chase around Lake Garda followed by the dramatic Palio race in the Piazza del Campo, Siena. This race is held twice a year. Entrance is free but if you want to see the race properly, book a room at least a year in advance, over looking the square.

The ten best movies set in Italy by The Travel Expert

 

The Godfather

Part of the iconic Godfather is set in rural Sicily. Unlike my other choices, this doesn’t show Sicily at its best! There are no stand out sights and no glimpses of the cliff top town Taormina. However, somehow the countryside is fascinating. The movie is such a classic that it has been the reason for many visits to Sicily since it’s opening in 1972.

The ten best movies set in Italy by The Travel Expert

Sarah

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Bank Holiday Weekend in Florence, Flights & Hotel, 29th October, €288

Florence

Florence, one of Italy’s most beautiful cities is historic, charismatic and of course romantic! Enjoy the bank holiday weekend in Florence from only €288!

 

Stroll along the banks of the Arno, browse the jewellery shops on the Ponte Vecchio bridge, or marvel at the Tuscan countryside, if Florence doesn’t bring out some romance in you, I’m afraid nothing will!  I love that the city is so walkable, yes there are numerous art galleries, cathedrals and museums to see, but everything is so close together that you will be surprised how much you can manage in a few days.

Duomo, Florence by The Travel Expert

The cathedral or Duomo is one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. As you climb the narrow staircase the red roof tops peer through the small windows. Once you reach the top, the views of Florence are staggering. The Ponte Vecchio bridge is full of vendors and street artists and for me, is the heart of this great city.  The cities top attraction, the Uffizi gallery has one of the largest collections of art in the world and attracts a huge crowd. Make sure you book tickets online beforehand to skip the queue! If you have the time, take a day trip into the unique Tuscan countryside, visit nearby Sienna, Chianti, San Gimignano and admire the remarkable scenery.

Fly from Dublin to Pisa with Ryanair on the 29th of October and spend three nights in the Villa Lucrezia Firenze for only €288 per person. Rated very highly on tripadvisor and awarded a gold level from Greenleaders, this is the place to stay for a traditional Italian welcome. My advice is to stay longer if you can, and take in the tuscan countryside, but hey if you don’t have the time don’t panic, once you go to Florence once, you will definitely come back for more!

 

Click here for more details:

 

All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability.

 

Sarah

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Tuscany, Italy

rolling-hills-of-tuscany

The contrast of the countrysides rolling hills mixed with the stunning cities of Florence and Pisa make’s Tuscany an irresistible choice for any traveller.

There is so much to see here, the problem is where to start! I have holidayed in Tuscany numerous times in various cities and towns and loved it each and every time. There are regular direct flights from Dublin to Pisa with Ryanair and they won’t break the bank so its probably the most direct route to take. I would recommend getting the Ryanair coach from Pisa airport direct to Florence and spending a few days there first. Florence is Tuscany’s capital city and when walking around it, you get the feeling that it deserves to be! The Tuscan countryside is so beautiful that it would almost be a shame if its capital city didn’t have that certain heir of grandeur. Although the largest city in the region it retains its old world romantic charm. It has one of Italy’s must see Cathedrals or Duomo, the magnificent Basilica di Santa Croce, the famous statue of ‘David’ by Michelangelo and of course one the largest collections of art in the world in the Uffizi Gallery. I would recommend doing an organised city tour to avoid long queues and will enable you to see most of the sights in the shortest time. If you would rather go it alone make sure you at least pre book the Uffizi tickets online, the queues can be over 2 hours long during peak summer months. Florence is not only known for its artistic charm, it’s really quite romantic too. The Ponte Vecchio Bridge, one of the most photographed places in Florence, is lined with vendors, hoping the magic of this city will entice the spellbound tourists to purchase something for their loved one.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about Tuscany

From Florence you can take a train to nearby Siena which is only just over an hour away. In my opinion, this is another ‘must see’ if visiting Tuscany. It is one of my favourite places to visit. The old town centre is pedestrianised and is so easy to navigate. It doesn’t have that big city feel but there are numerous sights to see and it feels almost relaxing, strolling through the streets picking up souvenirs, a complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of Florence. Siena has been declared a World Heriage site by UNESCO and after a visit to the Piazza del Campo you will see why. The Palazzo Pubblico or town hall stands magnificently beside the Torre del Magnia. Climb the 400 steps to the top to see the red roof tops of Siena and the surrounding countryside, it is breathtaking. This is also the famous location for the Palio horse race which takes place twice every summer. Ten horses with bare back riders race around Il campo each representing their own district, dressed in various colors, it really is a magnificent sight. For any movie buffs out there you may recall this from a scene in the James Bond’s movie, Quantum of Solace. Like most of the Italian cities and towns, there are loads of typical trattorias and osterias. One of the best lies in the heart of Siena. Unfortunately the secret is out so its usually thronged with locals and tourists but make sure you visit, you won’t be disappointed, Losteria on via de Rossi.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about TuscanyFrom Sienna, get a hired car. There is a fantastic train service to most of the larger towns but to experience the Tuscan countryside properly you really need a car. The freedom you have to stop at small walled towns and villages and sample the local produce, for me is one of Tuscany’s highlights. The Cypress trees, old country cottages and the striking sunflowers means the journey is the destination. Driving the Chianti region, stopping at various towns and sampling the local wines is another highlight. We came across Montepulciano, one of the oldest hill top walled towns while driving one day and to this day it’s one of my favourite spots. Although not exactly undiscovered, it’s not as well known as some of its neighbours so it doesn’t attract as many tourists as the famous San Gimignano just down the road. However, regardless of the large influx of tourists the medieval walled town of San Gimignano is town you just have to visit. The fourteen towers dominate the landscape and give a dramatic feel as you get closer to it. Like most of Tuscany’s towns it is also pedestrianised but although easy to navigate it can be extremely busy in the summer months. I would recommend staying there for a few days or even overnight to get a true feel for the place. Alternatively visit in the late afternoon when the numerous Tour buses have left. Because of the nature of the walled town it gets dark very early and is not the best place to see the Tuscan sunset. Its neighbour on the other hand, Volterra, is the perfect spot. Only a half hour drive from San Gimignano, but its situated perfectly to enjoy a late drink as the locals meet in the open square to discuss the events of the day. You get the feeling you are seeing the true Tuscany here while taking in one of the best sunsets in the world.

Top tips for taking the best holiday photos

You can drive back to Pisa from here as it’s only an hours drive and visit the famous leaning tower before flying home. Pisa however, for me lacks the grandeur of the other Tuscan cities. In fact, if it wasn’t for the Leaning Tower, I think I would probably skip it altogether. The great thing about the Tower and its surrounding buildings is that they are so close to the airport that you can really do a quick visit on your way home. There are four buildings, one of which is an impressive Cathedral but really a few hours is all you need here to tick the box and get the souvenir photo.

 

Sarah

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