If you’re preparing for an upcoming Italian holiday, there’s no better way to get in the mood than to watch movies about Italy. We’ve rounded up 20 of the best movies about Italy across all different genres to sweep you off of your feet and into this enchanting European paradise.
You’ll find all sorts of movies on this list, ranging from classics to modern-day rom-coms, thrillers, and more. If anything, they should give you a hefty dose of inspiration and maybe even shed light on different time periods in Italian history.
From Rome to Venice and everywhere in between, these movies about Italy will have you longing to be eating pizza on a terrace under the warm Mediterranean sunshine… Here’s to wishful watching!
20 Best Movies About Italy
Here’s our ultimate list of the 20 best movies about Italy that you need to watch before any Italian vacation.
To kick off the list of best movies about Italy, what better to begin with than the classic Roman Holiday from 1953, starring Audrey Hepburn and a devastatingly handsome Gregory Peck. When
Princess Ann (Hepburn) takes off on her own for a night in Rome, she meets an American reporter (Peck) in a park.
When he discovers her true identity, he makes a deal with his editor that he can get an exclusive interview. But of course, the magical romance of Italy gets in the way, and Hepburn and Peck find themselves enjoying the city without a care in the world.
There’s nothing quite like watching Audrey Hepburn ride around on a Vespa (total Italy bucket list item), passing Rome’s most memorable sights. This is a must-see if you’re looking for a romantic movie that showcases Italy’s charm.
Eat, Pray, Love
While this movie isn’t entirely about Italy, a decent part of it is spent following Julia Roberts around Rome and Naples while she attempts to learn Italian (and eats lots of pizza and gelato). After a rough divorce, the leading lady takes off for a trip around the world to find herself.
If you’re looking for a feel-good flick that shows off the best of Italy pop this on and you won’t be disappointed.
Under the Tuscan Sun
For a more palatable version of Eat, Pray, Love (in my opinion), Under the Tuscan Sun is a sweet story about self-discovery while traveling through Italy. It’s about a woman named Frances who finds out her husband is cheating on her, so she takes off on a tour of Italy to pull herself out of her deep depression.
Along the way, she winds up in Tuscany, where she impulsively buys a villa in the Tuscan countryside and decides to stay and make it her home. Under the Tuscan Sun is a really enchanting movie about a woman turning her life in a whole new direction. After watching it, you may be tempted to purchase a Tuscan villa of your own!
The Trip to Italy
An entertaining flick about a pair of friends road tripping through Italy, The Trip to Italy follows Steve and Rob to Liguria, Tuscany, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Capri, focusing mainly on their meals and the conversations they have during them.
It’s a spinoff of the British TV series The Trip and features the same actors and dry humor. The Trip to Italy is the best movie to watch if you’re after lighthearted banter, views of the lush Italian countryside, and some epic Italian food shots.
Letters to Juliet
Letters to Juliet is a total chick flick, which you should be able to gather as soon as you see Amanda Seyfried on the movie poster. Though slightly corny, this movie about Italy is still a charming one, and follows Sophie (Seyfried) as she navigates both new and old love in the most romantic country in the world.
After Sophie visits a wall where broken-hearted people write letters to Shakespeare’s Juliet, she takes it upon herself to respond to a letter from the 1950s. Of course, she befriends the woman she wrote to and together they set out to find her long-lost lover.
I told you, total chick flick but filled with beautiful scenes of Italy and good old fashioned Hollywood-generated Italian charm.
Two names for you here: Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie… enough said. But if you want to know more about this captivating movie about Italy, Jolie is being followed by the police and mobsters who are after her lover who’s gone into hiding.
The lover sends her a note to board a train to Venice and pick any man to throw the pursuants off his tail. Enter Johnny Depp and a whirlwind of Italian travel and adventure begins. This movie is equal parts comedy, drama and thriller proving that you can have it all AND great actors, too.
The Italian Job
Another blood-pumping movie set in Venice, The Italian Job is about a $35 million heist in Venice gone wrong. After the ultra skilled team gets the money, one of the members kills most of the team off and takes the fortune all for himself.
The movie follows the survivors of the heist team attempting to get the money back and seeking revenge for the ones who were killed.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
A psychological thriller starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a movie about Italy that will make your heart race. Tom (played by Damon) is desperately after a life of freedom in Italy, so when he has an opportunity to retrieve his “friend” (Jude Law) from the country, he jumps at the chance.
However, Tom quickly becomes obsessed with his friend’s lifestyle… and intensely obsessed with the friend himself. What lengths will Tom go to have the Italian life he’s always dreamed of?
Extravagant and full of Italian sparkle, this movie shows off an unattainable life of luxury (one often found along the Amalfi Coast) and a blood-pumping storyline in one of the most seductive places in the world.
Angels and Demons
If you’re looking for an action movie about Italy, Angels and Demons is a safe bet. It’s the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, so you know you’re in for a whirlwind of suspense and thrill. Tom Hanks makes a comeback as Professor Robert Langdon and this time, he sets off on a mystery having to do with a dead physicist and the Illuminati.
Langdon and his team must find a cataclysmic weapon that has the potential to kill millions before it’s too late, while solving age-old religious cases that have revived in modern day (sounds like Dan Brown, right?).
So where does Italy come into play? The movie takes place in Rome and the Vatican, showcasing some of the country’s most famous sights, albeit often as the background of gruesome murders.
To Rome With Love
To Rome With Love is an enchanting Woody Allen film about Italy that follows 4 different characters’ stories in Rome. They’re completely unrelated and follow various paths, showing the unique courses life in Rome can take. Woody Allen even makes an appearance in the movie himself.
The first storyline follows Hayley, an American tourist who falls in love with an Italian lawyer. Next comes Antonio, who’s a newlywed planning on moving to Rome with her husband, who’s been offered a job.
Up third is Leopoldo, who leads a simple life in Rome with his family until overnight he becomes a national celebrity. And finally, there’s John (played by Alec Baldwin), an architect who’s in Rome with his wife after living in the city 30 years previously.
He sets off to find his old apartment from when he was a student and winds up in an unpredictable situation. This final storyline is laden with familiar names like Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig and Jesse Eisenberg.
The entire movie was filmed in Rome and exudes magic that only Woody Allen can create.
A rom-com in true form, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. star in Only You, a movie about a girl who sets off in search of her soulmate after finding out (from a Ouija board and a fortune-teller) that his name is Damon Bradley.
This hunt takes her to Venice and then through the Italian countryside, before finally ending up in Rome. Besides the enchanting scenery, this movie about Italy has unexpected turns that are less predictable than you would think. Plus, you can imagine how handsome a young Robert Downey Jr. looks in Italy. *heart eyes*
Pro Tip: If you’re planning your own trip to Italy, be sure to check out our complete Italian travel guide, full of everything you need to know!
La Dolce Vita
Another old-school classic by world-renowned Italian director Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita is a great chance to brush up on your Italian before heading over for a visit. The film is in black and white, and in Italian as well, giving it the ultimate charm as the plot unfolds.
It’s about a gossip journalist named Marcello Rubini who heads to Rome for a taste of the “sweet life”. He’s after love and happiness and isn’t disappointed by what he finds. Throughout the movie, there are fantastic shots of Rome and an insider look of the hedonistic life of the 60s.
When it comes to movies about Italy, there may be none more famous than The Godfather. This world-renowned crime movie has an all-star cast of classic names like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton and other superstars of the 70s.
Set in 1945 New York and a small village in Italy called Corleone, this movie gives a look at the pristine Sicilian countryside way back in the day, alongside a heavy plot.
It follows a power struggle between Don Vito Corleone (Brando), the head of the Corleone mafia family and Michael (Pachino), the Don’s youngest son. Full of violence, betrayal, and similar mafia business, this look at the inner workings of the mob is considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time.
A Room With a View
A classic novel adapted for the big screen, A Room With a View is based on E.M. Forster’s novel by the same name that was published in 1908. This is everything when it comes to a movie about Italy and will make you want to instantly book a plane ticket to Florence.
It features the most famous sights in the city, like the Piazza Signoria, the Arno River, Fiesole and beyond… as well as a hefty dose of Italian romance.
It’s about a girl named Lucy, a young English woman, who grew up well off. However, as she grows into adulthood, she becomes dissatisfied with the rigid society of England and takes off for Italy, where she experiences the exact opposite.
Completely liberated, Lucy begins to find herself and the life she’s always longed for in this enchanting Italian city.
Call Me By Your Name
Set in a rural northern Italy town called Crema in the 1980s, Call Me By Your Name is a touching film about a 17-year old named Elio (Timothee Chalamet). His family has a lavish 17th century villa for the summer, and Elio’s father is working on an archaeology project, which he has his graduate student Oliver come to assist with.
Elio and Oliver’s relationship gets off to a rocky start but slowly evolves into something more. It’s surprisingly good, as far as coming-of-age films go, and showcases Italian landscapes and architecture marvelously.
When in Rome
A cheesy rom-com that’s definitely guilty pleasure material, When in Rome stars Kristen Bell, so you know you’re in for a good time. Bell goes to a wedding in Rome, where she starts to fall for a guy that she meets by chance.
However, when she sees him kissing another girl, she spitefully plucks coins from the “fountain of love” (definitely based on the Trevi Fountain), because legend has it, whoever’s coin you pick up from the fountain is destined to fall in love with you.
When she gets back to her house in New York, she’s pursued by a band of men (played by Danny DeVito, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Dax Shepard), whose coins she has.
But one of the coins also belongs to the guy that she was falling for in Rome… But does he like her for her? Or because of the legend? Pull out the wine to find out!
Tea with Mussolini
This movie is half-comedy (it does star Cher, after all) and half-serious, set in 1935 and traveling through Mussolini’s fascist takeover of Italy. It’s about an English teenager who’s lost his parents and is under the care of a group of wealthy, older women living in Florence.
The gang of dames have settled as expats in Florence to soak up all of the art and culture scene, and live rather extravagant lives until the regime disrupts their idyllic Italian lifestyle. This movie about Italy definitely has comedic elements, but also recounts major events under Mussolini’s rule, like Jewish oppression, conscription, and Italians fighting back.
This movie about Italy is often regarded as the film that put Italian cinema back on the map. It pays tribute to the origins of filmmaking and the childlike delight that came with the introduction of cinema to the public.
Taking place in Rome in the 1980s, it’s based around the life of the famous filmmaker Salvatore Di Vita.
When the protagonist hears that the projectionist from his childhood theater (a fatherlike figure to young Salvatore) has died, he makes his way back to his little village in Sicily. The film is made up of a series of flashbacks that walk through Salvatore’s childhood and teenage years, when cinema was just being introduced.
Besides depicting what life was like in Italy during the first half of the 20th century, it shows the importance of movies in a post-war Italian society.
Il Postino: The Postman
Set on a tiny island in the picturesque Gulf of Naples in the 1950s, Il Postino is about a small town fisherman, Mario Ruoppolo, who’s been in love with a woman who tends bar (Beatrice) forever, but doesn’t know how to tell her how he feels.
That is, until Pablo Neruda, an exiled Chilean poet, winds up on the island and the fisherman winds up as his personal postman. Ruoppolo and Neruda become friends after a handful of weeks and the fisherman discovers a true love for poetry.
He ultimately uses this newfound passion to tell Beatrice how he feels. The film takes an unexpected turn and will leave you a whimpering mess, but it’s still worth the watch. Just be prepared to get into your feelings!
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
Finally, a one-of-a-kind movie about Italy sure to delight your inner pre-teen, The Lizzie McGuire Movie is an epic spinoff of the popular Disney TV show. Hillary Duff and her crew take off to Italy for the summer before high school, where she’s swept off her feet by an Italian pop star.
In between visiting all of the iconic monuments (via Vespa of course), Lizzie discovers she has a doppelgänger who’s conveniently the ex-partner of her new pop star friend. I love this movie about Italy for so many reasons, but at the top of the list is watching two Lizzie McGuires (on a Parent Trap level) run around Europe together.
Oh, and you can’t forget the absolutely classic soundtrack!
After making your way through this list of the best movies about Italy, how many of them have you added to your must-watch list?
Trust me when I say it’s totally worth diving into the classics to get a sense of Italian cinematic gold, which is regarded to be some of the finest of the 20th century.
Italy has forever inspired writers and filmmakers alike, and drawn travelers in from far and wide… just from these movies about Italy, it’s easy to see why.
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