There are so many movies set in Rome that have become part of our culture and have become a reference point in the collective imagination of each of us.
Who does not have in mind the famous bath of Anita Eckberg in the Trevi Fountain, or the unforgettable Audrey Hepburn riding a Vespa around the Capital with Gregory Peck in the Roman Holiday movie?
In this itinerary we offer you a tour of the attractions that have been the background of some of the most beautiful movies set in Rome since the 1940s.
The walk takes place in the center of Rome so we left to you the choice of the point from which to start, according to the movies and their main locations. If you have decided to visit Rome in 3 days you can choose this itinerary as an alternative to the classical tours.
The List of Some of the Most Famous Films Set in Rome
1. ROMA CITTA’ APERTA (Rome open city) – 1945
The Roberto Rossellini’s film, played by a great Anna Magnani, is considered one of the masterpieces of the world cinema and of neo-realism.
Set in a Rome where the Fascist regime has just fallen, he sees as protagonists a priest, a commoner and a communist engineer who are trying to resist the violence of German invaders.
Many scenes have been shot in the Pigneto (like the final one where the protagonist, Pina, is killed while running behind the truck that takes away her husband captured by German soldiers, this takes place in Via Raimondo Montecuccoli).
Another location is Piazza di Spagna where you can still see the pension from which a partisan, surprised by the Nazis, flees on the roofs of the Spanish embassy.
2. VACANZE ROMANE (Roma n Holidays) – 1953
Unforgettable film by William Wyler with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Shot entirely in Rome and in the studios of Cinecittà.
Among the most famous locations where is shown the story of the beautiful Princess Anna, heir to the throne of an imaginary kingdom and the American journalist Joe, there is Via Margutta 51 (the house where Joe lives and where Anna spends a night); the Trevi Fountain (where the haircut scene is set); the Trinity Monument Stairway (where they meet Bradley with an ice cream); The Pantheon (scene at the bar with the photographer who is the journalist’s friend); The Colosseum (where the protagonists enter after the famous Vespa tour); The Mouth of Truth (where the scene of the unspeakable secret takes place); Piazza Barberini, (seat of the Embassy where Anna was a guest).
Un Americano a Roma (An American in Rome), one of the films set in Rome
3. UN AMERICANO A ROMA (An American in Rome) – 1954
Directed by Steno, is a costume satire of post-war Italy. Alberto Sordi interprets Nando Mericoni, Trastevere‘s young boy ridiculously obsessed with all that is American. The location included in the itinerary of films in Rome is that of the Colosseum. It is here that the movie begins. In fact, in the initial scene, Nando climbs the Colosseum and threatens to throw himself down if he is not alllowed to reach his dream or going to Kansas. His friends attend the scene and begin to remember the most exhilarating episodes of his young life. Unforgettable scenes are those of the spaghettis or that of road information given in a stingy English.
4. A DOLCE VITA (The sweet life) – 1969
Directed by Federico Fellini who in this film immortalizes the image of a Italy after the end of the war, which after losing its innocence, looks to the American model, with the desire for a life of indulgence and pleasure. The novelist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) tells the story of Rome.
The most famous venues are the Trevi Fountain, in which Anita Ekberg enters and invites Mastroianni to dance by whispering the famous “Marcello come here!”, and Via Veneto, in the past, a symbol of celebrity nightlife. Among the other locations there is also Piazza del Popolo, where the parties attended by Mastroianni took place.
5. IL TALENTO DI MR. RIPLEY (Mr. Ripley’s talent) – 1999
Of the Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella and taken from the novel by Patricia Highsmith, the film is a psychological thriller played by a great cast. Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), a brilliant but psychopathic man, meets Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) and his girlfriend Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow) who escaped in Italy to live with the money of Greenleaf’s father. The latter hires Ripley to bring him back home but after some time, overwhelmed by envy, Ripley ends up killing Greenleaf and assuming his identity. Among the scenes in Rome there are those set in Piazza Navona, at the Roman Forum and the Campidoglio.
6. ANGELI E DEMONI ( Angels and Demons) – 2009
Dan Brown’s best-selling film directed by Ron Howard and with Tom Hanks deals with the story of the brilliant professor Robert Langdon who is called to Rome by the Vatican to decipher the symbol delivered together with a threat letter. A symbol that belongs to the Illuminati, a secret society that has in its ranks scientists and artists with the sole aim of destroying the Catholic Church.
The film features some of Rome’s most characteristic places: the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (inside it the scene of the shootout between the murderer and the men of the Vatican Gendarmerie was shot); St. Peter’s Square (where Robert Langdon arrives inside a Lancia Delta); Piazza Navona (here there are dangerous chases between the police cars with sirens blaring and the assassin who, when reached, manages to run away leaving behind a trail of blood); Castel Sant’Angelo (within which there are shootings and chases and the area is surrounded by police and helicopters in an attempt to stop the assassin, hidden in the secret); The Pantheon (chosen as the scene of the first horrible crime. On the floor the body of the first killed Cardinal will be found).
7. LA GRANDE BELLEZZA (The Great Beauty) – 2013
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, winner of the Oscar 2014 as the best foreign film. He narrates the story of the novelist Jep Gambardella (played by Toni Servillo) who begins to meditate on his life between lounges, terraces, gardens and Roman squares. The film has been shot almost entirely in a decadent and beautiful Rome.
Amongst the breathtaking sceneries that can be seen in our itinery of films set in Rome, there are Villa Medici, Palazzo Barberini, Piazza Navona, Palazzo Pamphilj, Caracalla’s Baths.
You may also be interested
Visiting Rome in 3 days – Our recommended itinerary
Visiting Rome in 2 days with children – Where to go and what to do
Trips outside of Rome – What to see and where to go
The Colosseo (Colosseum) – What is it like?