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Picture Perfect: 4 Top Landmarks in Rome Captured on Film

With such a rich architectural heritage, it’s no surprise that Rome remains a favorite setting for various films across the ages. As such, here are the 4 of the most popular ones in the capital:

Trevi Fountain

With its popularity, it’s not surprising that the Trevi Fountain is a part of two top films in film history. First was in Roman Holiday (1953), which starred Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck; the fountain was the backdrop of several scenes.

The second was in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), where Marcello Mastroianni followed Anita Eckberg to the Trevi Fountain; both ending up wading in its waters. This scene is regarded as one of the most iconic in world cinema.

Other films with scenes shot at this location include Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), and The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003).

The Colosseum

While Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) was filmed in a CGI version of this Ancient Roman landmark, there are two martial arts masters that duked it out on film in the real one. That honor goes to The Way of the Dragon (1972), which saw Bruce Lee hunt down Chuck Norris in the Colosseum. And yes, despite Norris’ current reputation, Bruce Lee won that fight.

That said, the sheer scale of the Colosseum also makes it a favorite setting for science fiction films. This includes the film 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), as the lair where the Ymir hid from the humans chasing it. It was destroyed by gargantuan bolts of lightning in The Core (2003) and became a jump-off point for a scene in Jumper (2008).

Spanish Steps

For many, the Spanish Steps is a romantic spot, as another scene from Roman Holiday was shot here. However, that’s not the only film that was shot here; though these other films may have darker undertones.

One is The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), which had Vivien Leigh playing a young widow renting an apartment along the steps. Leigh’s character eventually gets involved with a professional gigolo played by Warren Beatty; who then eventually leaves her.

Another film with a scene here is The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), where Matt Damon watches over Cate Blanchett. Even the process of shooting scenes at the Steps was interesting in itself. In an essay for The Guardian, director Anthony Minghella recounts how people mistook a fake café (Café Dinelli) they set up for the scene as a real café.

Piazza Navona

The popular plaza plays a major role in several Hollywood blockbusters, such as the screen adaptation of Angels and Demons (2009) by Dan Brown. In the film, which starred Tom Hanks, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (The Fountain of the Four Rivers) at the heart of the Piazza was listed as an Altar of Science. Hence, several scenes were shot at this spot.

Meanwhile, Julia Roberts’ character in Eat, Pray, Love (2010) sat down at one of the park benches in the Piazza to eat a cupful of gelato. This scene was the visual used on many posters of the film.

Eat Pray Love Poster

But it’s not just all American blockbusters. In the Italian comedy Ieri, Oggi, Domani (1964) or Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, Sophia Loren’s character lives in a second-floor apartment overlooking the Piazza. How’s that for a nice view?

These 4 spots across Rome are just some of the picture-perfect attractions that travelers can visit during their stay in Italy. So if you want to visit them all, just contact us at Tour Italy Now to book the Italian vacation of your dreams.

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By Priscila Siano (265 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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