Looking for the best movies set in Italy to add to your watch list? From drama, and romance, to comedy, this article has all the best movies filmed in Italy you’ll enjoy!
Blessed with picturesque towns, charming cities, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history, it’s a no-brainer why Italy is a favorite backdrop amongst filmmakers.
There have been many amazing movies set in Italy over the years, whether amidst the narrow, winding streets of Venice or against the stunning landscapes of Tuscany.
If you’re looking for a list of the best movies filmed in Italy whether to get a glimpse of Italy before your trip or to quench your wanderlust soul, I’ve got you covered.
From classic romances to gripping thrillers and lighthearted comedies, here are 27 of the best films set in Italy! I’ve also thrown in a highly-rated animation set in a fictional town inspired by the Italian Riviera that I believe you’ll enjoy!
Best Movies Set in Italy
Whether you’re into romance, drama, or even thrillers, you’ll find a film that suits you on this list of the best movies about Italy.
1. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
IMDB rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Frequently ranked high on lists of classic movies set in Italy, Under the Tuscan Sun is a romantic comedy-drama based on a true story adapted from Frances Mayes’ memoir of the same name.
While the movie’s main setting is a beautiful villa in the quaint hillside town of Cortona in Tuscany which the American protagonist, Diane Lane bought after leaving her home country following a divorce that left her homeless, you’ll also get to follow her on her adventures to Rome, Florence, and Positano.
The movie provides a dreamy and romanticized view of life in Italy and is known to have inspired many people to travel to Tuscany or embark on adventures in the beautiful Italian countryside.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming movie that explores the themes of self-discovery, personal growth, love, and friendship, you will enjoy this one immensely.
2. A Room with a View (1985)
IMDB rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Adapted from a British novel, A Room with a View is set in a historical period and depicts the journey of Lucy, a young lady who travels to Florence with her cousin.
Lucy falls in love with a charming, free-spirited man while on vacation, and has to decide whether to proceed with a marriage back in England or acknowledge and accept her change of heart.
A Room with a View was filmed on location in Italy and England with the settings in Italy in particular adding to the film’s romantic allure.
If you’re familiar with the country, you’ll recognize the scenic landscapes of Florence as well as the clear blue waters and charming villages of the Amalfi Coast.
The film is highly rated as one of the best romantic movies set in Italy and praised for its aesthetic appeal, quality filmmaking, and well-crafted storytelling.
It even won 3 Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design, and 5 British Academy Film awards.
3. Roman Holiday (1953)
IMDB rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Roman Holiday is another popular film when it comes to romantic movies set in Rome.
Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film’s plot revolves around Ann, a princess who embarks on a diplomatic tour and escapes her royal duties for an unauthorized personal adventure.
Princess Ann meets an American reporter, Joe, during her secret trip. Joe takes the princess around as a tour guide, allowing her to enjoy the simple joys of ordinary life while showing her some of the famous places in Rome like the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, etc, and develops a special connection with her along the way.
The movie is a well-celebrated classic, and a heartwarming, enjoyable watch. Audrey Hepburn even earned an Academy Award for Best Actress through her portrayal of Princess Ann which was a very significant stepping stone towards her Hollywood fame!
4. La Dolce Vita (1960)
IMDB rating: 8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
You can’t miss out on this one when it comes to famous movies filmed in Italy. La Dolce Vita (which translates to “The Sweet Life”) is a classic Italian film released in 1960.
The movie follows the life of Marcello, a journalist who spends his time working and socializing within the upper-class, high-society circle yet is troubled with his lack of happiness and life fulfillment.
Plenty of iconic Roman landmarks are featured in the film, including the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Via Veneto, and charming Roman neighborhood backdrops that provide an authentic representation of the city’s vibe and history post-World War II.
5. The Great Beauty (2013)
IMDB rating: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) is a 2013 Italian film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014 on top of a Golden Globe and a BAFTA in the same category!
Often compared to La Dolce Vita, The Great Beauty shares some similarities with the former, though each follows their own unique stories.
This particular movie explores the lives of the social elite through the eyes of Jep Gambardella, a writer and journalist. Having reached his 65th birthday, Jep begins self-reflection on his life and the society he has become a part of.
Like La Dolce Vita, The Great Beauty was also filmed in Rome. The striking setting of the movie is an aesthetic treat for viewers and will appeal to those who appreciate beautiful settings and Italian filmmaking.
It explores themes of beauty, love, art, and life meaning, and will be appreciated by those who like thought-provoking films with cinematic storytelling, complex characters, and deep meaning.
6. Life is Beautiful (1997)
IMDB rating: 8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Award-winning Life is Beautiful is an Italian film set against the backdrop of World War II.
The movie won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film back in 1999 and is regarded as one of the best movies that take place in Italy.
The film plot follows the story of Guido, a Jewish-Italian bookshop owner played by Roberto Benigni.
Guido and his son were forced into a Nazi concentration camp and he tries his best to protect his son against the horrors of their grim situation with love, resilience, and the power of imagination amid adversity.
Many parts of the movie were filmed across various towns and cities in Italy, including picturesque Arezzo and Cortona in Tuscany, Umbria, and more.
The captivating backdrop contributed to the movie’s heartwarming, poignant, and hopeful vibe despite being set in such a dark era of history.
7. Call Me By Your Name (2017)
IMDB rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Here’s a more recent movie for your list! Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age romance film set in a small Italian town in the early 1980s.
The film follows the attraction between Elio (Timothee Chalamet), a 17-year-old boy, and Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student who has come to spend his summer at Elio’s family home at the invitation of Elio’s father!
The movie explores their subtle, complex, yet passionate relationship while being set against the idyllic landscape of Northern Italy.
If a somewhat bittersweet and melancholy summer romance film sounds like your cup of tea, give this one a go! It’s definitely one of the best movies set in Italy on Netflix.
8. Letters to Juliet (2010)
IMDB rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Next up on my list of movies based in Italy is Letters to Juliet, a romance film starring Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, and Christopher Egan.
The movie follows the pre-wedding Italy trip of Sophie and her fiance Victor to Verona!
During the trip, Sophie hears about Romeo and Juliet’s courtyard where thousands of women send letters to Juliet!
Since her fiancé is turning the trip into a research trip, Sophie decides to occupy herself by joining the committee that replies to the letters written to Juliet.
While there, she finds a particular letter written 50 years ago by a woman seeking guidance about her lost love.
Sophie responds to the letter out of curiosity and compassion, and it leads to an unexpected pivotal journey of self-discovery and romance as she connects with the woman who wrote the letter and embarks on a quest to find her long-lost love.
It is through this journey that Sophie is prompted to reevaluate her own love life!
9. To Rome with Love (2012)
IMDB rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Set in Rome (of course), To Rome with Love is a romantic comedy written and directed by Woody Allen.
The movie has multiple storylines and interesting characters, each of whom undergoes unique adventures of their own — whether it’s an architect (Alec Baldwin) navigating a complicated love triangle, an alluring prostitut* (Penelope Cruz) whose life becomes intertwined with a newlywed couple, or a Roman man (Roberto Benigni) who has suddenly risen to fame.
If you like lighthearted, feel-good romances with a tinge of humor, you’ll enjoy this watch.
The movie’s beautiful depiction of Rome adds brownie points to its aesthetic, which is why it’s almost always featured on lists of best movies set in Italy.
10. The Godfather (1972)
IMDB rating: 9.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Consistently highly rated and an absolute classic, The Godfather is a 1972 crime film with parts that are famously known to be filmed in Italy.
The movie stars iconic actors such as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan, and is centered around a fictional New York Mafia family and their struggles to safeguard their empire against rivals.
Some memorable scenes in the movie were set in Italy, particularly in small villages around Sicily, Palermo, as well as Rome.
The director wanted to ensure the authenticity of the film’s portrayal and insisted that filming was done in Italy.
So if you’re looking to catch up on the best movies that take place in Italy, The Godfather shouldn’t be missed.
11. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
If you like mystery, suspense, and Matt Damon, this movie’s for you!
The Talented Mr. Ripley explores some pretty complex characters and dark themes, including obsession, desire, deception, and moral ambiguity!
It’s a gripping psychological thriller that will appeal to you if you appreciate being kept on the edge of your seat.
Similar to The Godfather, The Talented Mr. Ripley was also filmed in both New York City and Italy.
You’ll be able to spot idyllic sceneries of Venice, Rome, Sicily, Naples, Positano, and more throughout the film.
Besides psychological drama, you can expect visual appeal with the movie’s great cinematography and exotic settings.
12. Enchanted April (1991)
IMDB rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Enchanted April is a heartwarming British-Italian film released in 1991. The movie follows the adventures of four English women who decided to go on a month-long escape to Italy.
Each of the four women was undergoing personal struggles and sought to get away from their unhappy lives by embarking on a foreign adventure.
As the movie progresses, they open up to each other and develop precious friendships, while also undergoing personal transformation and growth.
The natural beauty of Italy serves as a key element of Enchanted April’s mood and narrative.
Some notable filming locations of the movie include the coastal town of Portofino, Castello Brown (a historic castle that served as the villa the women lived in), and the tranquil Lake Maggiore.
13. Bread and Tulips (2000)
IMDB rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Also one of the best films set in Italy, Bread and Tulips is an Italian production released in 2000.
This romantic comedy-drama is centered around the life of Rosalba, a middle-aged woman who lives in a small town near Naples.
Rosalba’s life is mundane and very normal, but it takes an unforeseen turn when she goes on a family trip and is accidentally left behind by her husband and son.
While trying to find her way back home, she makes a choice to go to Venice instead.
Fuelled by courage and a yearning for adventure, Rosalba decides to begin her solo exploration.
Her ordinary life transforms as she chooses to pursue her dreams, befriending kind-hearted people along the way, exploring old passions and new talents, and even developing a newfound romance.
The movie is an Italian classic that is loved by romantic comedy enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a feel-good movie that will make you smile, here’s one to consider!
14. The Trip to Italy (2014)
IMDB rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
The Trip to Italy is a British comedy-drama film that stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
In the movie, Coogan and Brydon embark on a gastronomic adventure in Italy. The duo travels through many regions of Italy, tasting exquisite Italian cuisine at numerous restaurants while developing a friendship, experiencing challenges, and undergoing personal growth along the way.
The movie is well-loved for showcasing the beauty of Italy and its food delightfully.
It’s a lighthearted, entertaining watch, especially for people who enjoy food, travel, and humor, as well as fans who enjoy the comedic nature of Coogan and Brydon!
15. Journey to Italy (1954)
IMDB rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
If you enjoy contemplative thought-provoking films, this Italian classic may be your cup of tea.
Released in 1954, Journey to Italy stars the iconic Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders. The two play a married couple in the film and travel to Naples to sell a villa they’ve inherited.
Unfortunately, the couple’s married life is far from perfect, and spending time together during their travels forces them to confront the problems of their marriage, including complex feelings of detachment and dissatisfaction.
Despite being a black-and-white film, the beauty of filming locations such as Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast still manages to seep through.
It’s no wonder the movie is considered a timeless classic that has inspired many filmmakers over the years.
16. House of Gucci (2021)
IMDB rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
If you like crime films, you’ll likely enjoy House of Gucci. This 2021 biographical crime drama film is based on the real-life tumultuous history and dramatic events surrounding the rise and fall of the Gucci family dynasty.
The movie centers around Maurizio Gucci, the grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded the luxury fashion brand. Maurizio marries Patrizia Reggiani, and for a while, things seem great.
However, as Maurizio gains more power within the Gucci company, their marriage starts to crumble.
Maurizio leaves Patrizia for another woman, which sets off a chain of events leading to betrayal, family feuds, and ultimately, Maurizio’s murder, orchestrated by Patrizia herself.
It’s an interesting mix of crime, drama, and dark comedy and features popular stars including Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Jared Leto.
House of Gucci was filmed across various locations in Italy such as Rome, Milan, Tuscany, and the picturesque Lake Como.
The vibrant cities and stunning landscapes add to the essence of the film and are meant to showcase the sophisticated and elegant world of high fashion.
17. Only You (1994)
IMDB rating: 6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr., Only You is a romantic comedy movie set in Italy.
The film follows the journey of Faith, a young woman who travels to Italy in search of a man whom a fortune-teller told her is supposed to be the man of her dreams.
While in Italy, Faith encounters Peter, a charming man who offers to help her in her search. As they both travel together, they develop a deep connection that makes Faith question whether he’s the man of her destiny.
Only You is a lighthearted, fun, and heartwarming watch, and the picturesque Italian locations featured in the movie add to its romantic atmosphere.
Unlike many movies on this list with sets concentrated in one or two Italian cities, Only You was filmed across many different Italian cities and regions, including Venice, Rome, Tuscany, and Positano.
18. Shadows in the Sun (2005)
IMDB rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Here’s another feel-good, inspiring movie to add to your watchlist of romantic films set in Italy.
Set and filmed in Italy, Shadows in the Sun is a 2005 romantic film that stars Harvey Keitel, Joshua Jackson, and Claire Forlani.
The movie plot centers around an aspiring writer who travels to rural Italy in hopes of tracking down his literary idol, a reclusive author who suffers from writer’s block.
The writer begins his life in the beautiful Italian countryside, forming friendships and experiencing personal transformation along the way.
Shadows in the Sun is a touching movie filled with emotional scenes, and you would enjoy it if you’re an enthusiast of heartfelt romantic stories.
It was filmed in Tuscany, mainly in Val d’Orcia, a wide and breathtaking countryside known for its stunning nature and idyllic landscapes.
19. The Two Popes (2019)
Genre: Biographical drama
IMDB rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
If you enjoy thought-provoking films and have an interest in themes of faith and spirituality, you will find The Two Popes an enjoyable watch.
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, this biographical drama film revolves around the lives of the two Popes they play — Pope Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (who later became Pope Francis) respectively.
The movie dives into the relationship and philosophical conversations between the Popes as they debate their different approaches to faith and leadership within a religious institution.
The Two Popes was filmed in Argentina and Italy, with a pivotal setting in Vatican City, the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church.
The movie provides an insightful glimpse into the Vatican after the Vatican leaks scandal.
20. Luca (2021)
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Here’s something different for those who enjoy animated Disney-Pixar films! Luca is a 2021 animated fantasy film set in a fictional Italian town!
The movie revolves around Luca, a young “sea monster” who lives beneath the sea. Much like The Little Mermaid, Luca is highly curious about the human world.
To his delight and surprise, he finds out that he’s able to take on a human appearance when he ventures to the surface! Luca develops a friendship with a fellow sea monster Alberto, and the duo begins adventures on land.
The animation explores themes of self-discovery and the magic of friendship and is a heartwarming, lighthearted coming-of-age story that many would enjoy.
While it’s based in a fictional town that doesn’t exist in real life, the creative team of Luca drew inspiration from various real-life locations along the Italian Riviera such as the villages of Cinque Terre, Portofino, as well as the Amalfi Coast.
The movie pays homage to the beauty of Italy’s coastal towns, which is why you’ll likely find some of the sceneries delightfully familiar.
21. The Italian Job (2003)
IMDB rating: 7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
The Italian Job is a British crime movie filmed primarily in Italy. There’s a 1969 version as well as a 2003 remake, both of which are centered around the planning and execution of an elaborate gold heist.
If you enjoy action films (think car chases, stunt work, and suspense) that will get your adrenaline pumping, you’ll likely enjoy this film.
Both movies were filmed partially in Italy, with the 1969 version concentrated in locations such as the Alps and Turin, while the 2003 remake featured Venice and the Alps.
If you’re familiar with Venice, you’ll notice popular locations like The Grand Canal, The Doge’s Palace, and St. Mark’s Square as picturesque backdrops to important scenes.
22. The American (2010)
IMDB rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Released in 2010, The American is an action thriller film starring George Clooney as Jack.
Jack is a professional, skillful assassin who retreats to a quaint Italian town to lie low after a mishap in his previous assignment.
As Jack forges a new identity and starts a new life in Italy, he forms fresh connections including a blossoming romance with a local prostitut* named Clara.
Unlike the usual action-packed thrillers, the movie is slow-paced and introspective, focusing on themes such as emotional turmoil, redemption, and personal growth.
The movie’s Italian setting adds to its atmosphere and provides the perfect backdrop to some of its emotional and dramatic moments. Most of the film was set in small towns across the Abruzzo region as well as in Rome.
23. Tea with Mussolini (1999)
IMDB rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Tea with Mussolini cannot be missed when listing films about Italy.
Set in the tumultuous World War II era, this semi-autobiographical war film follows the story of a young Italian boy, Luca who was brought up by a tight-knit community of British and American women.
The film explores themes of culture, family, friendship, and love even amid challenging times. Despite its dramatic historical setting, it’s overall a warm and positive watch with a tinge of humor.
The movie is famed for its beautiful portrayal of Florence, the charming Italian city that serves as the backdrop for the film.
The architectural splendor of Florence adds to the movie’s visual appeal and creates an authentic, stunning backdrop for the story.
If you look closely enough, you’ll be able to identify several iconic locations in Florence such as the Ponte Vecchio, The Boboli Gardens, The Florence Cathedral, and Piazza della Signoria in the film.
24. Eat Pray Love (2010)
IMDB rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Here’s another well-known classic that can’t be missed when it comes to movies made in Italy!
Eat Pray Love stars Julia Roberts as the main character Elizabeth, a writer who embarks on an adventure after going through heartbreaks from her marriage and subsequent failed relationship.
Throughout the film, Elizabeth travels to three countries, including Italy, where she indulges in the vibrant local culture and food.
The movie focuses on themes of self-exploration, empowerment, and healing. It’s an enjoyable and slightly emotional watch that will leave you feeling warm inside.
Several Italian cities were featured in the movie, including Rome, Naples, and Lecce in Apulia, Southern Italy.
Italy’s picturesque landscapes, unique architecture, and delicious cuisine are showcased beautifully in the film, and you’ll likely be inspired to go on your own Eat Pray Love adventure once you’re done with it.
25. Ben-Hur (1959)
Genre: Historical Drama/Adventure
IMDB rating: 8.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Ben-Hur is a classic American historical film set in ancient Rome. The movie is centered around Judah Ben-Hur, an aristocratic Jewish prince who lives in Jerusalem.
Ben-Hur is forced into years of slavery and loses his family after being betrayed by his childhood friend Messala. Upon escaping his sentence, Ben-Hur seeks revenge against Messala.
This movie set the record for the most Academy Award wins (a title it holds with Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), having won a total of 11 Oscars, including the Best Picture and Best Actor awards.
It is also highly praised for its grand setting; most of its elaborate setting was shot in a studio in Rome, and some other on-locations in Italy, including at the coastal town of Anzio.
26. Don’t Look Now (1973)
IMDB rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
If you like thrillers, you will enjoy Don’t Look Now, a British-Italian supernatural thriller movie.
Don’t Look Now follows the story of a married couple, John and Laura Baxter who travel to Venice while mourning the death of their young daughter.
The couple encounters a pair of strange sisters in Venice, one of whom claims to be able to communicate with their deceased daughter with her psychic powers.
As the movie progresses, Laura becomes obsessed with the possibility of communicating with Christine, while John experiences disturbing supernatural visions and experiences.
The movie has an unsettling atmosphere that’s not suited for the faint-hearted, but those who enjoy supernatural and thrillers will no doubt like it.
Unlike the majority of movies set in Italy on this list where Italian settings provide picturesque, romantic vibes, the labyrinthine layout of Venice in Don’t Look Now creates an eerie, haunting, and atmospheric backdrop.
27. Angels & Demons (2009)
IMDB rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Angels & Demons is a suspenseful American film based on Dan Brown’s famous novel.
The movie is a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” and stars Tom Hanks as the main character, Robert Langdon.
Robert is a Harvard professor and symbologist who is summoned to the Vatican to participate in an investigation involving a kidnapping by an ancient secret society known as the Illuminati.
Robert and his investigation partner Vittoria explore various landmarks across Rome to uncover secrets and conspiracies to crack the mystery.
Angels & Demons was filmed on-site mainly in Italy to capture the authenticity of the settings described in the novel.
Many iconic historical and religious landmarks were featured in the movie, including St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, the Pantheon, the Santa Maria della Vittoria church, and the Piazza Navona, a famous piazza in Rome.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best films based in Italy! The varied dreamy settings across Italy have served as stunning backdrops to amazing films of all sorts of genres.
Whether you like fuzzy romances, historical films, or even gripping thrillers, you’re bound to find a movie you like that will transport you to beautiful Italy.
So, which one of these best movies about Italy are you planning to watch next? Let me know in the comments below!
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