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Favourite movies set in Venice

Okay, this is an old topic that has been discussed on Slow Travel message boards in the past. But Kim recently mentioned a couple of her favourite movies set in Venice, in responding to a post I wrote last week about Katharine Hepburn's Summertime (1955). Which has some great scenery, although it focuses a lot on Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace. Although there was the little trip that she took with her lover Renato, to see Murano....

Anyway, Kim also mentioned Dangerous Beauty (1998) also a very good movie -- at least in terms of fun costumes, sexy men (holy moly, there were some seriously sexy men!) and a few great canal shots.

I really enjoyed Heath Ledger's Casanova, from 2005, because it had fantastic scenery -- and not exclusively shots of San Marco and the Doge's Palace, but including various canals and churches and a nice assortment of stunning palazzos (even a few gardens!)

(I haven't yet seen Fellini's 1976 Casanova, with Donald Sutherland. Better put that on my Ziplist.)

In terms of its Venetian content, the 1954 movie Three Coins in A Fountain was sidesplitting, for the scene where the male lead, Louis Jourdan, flies his girlfriend and her chaperone to Venice from Rome for the day. They're all sitting in the small airplane as though they were riding in a sedan, with Louis in front and the two women in the backseat -- no headsets, or instrument panels. Louis steers with an apparatus that reminds me of what you see steering bumper cars at a summer fair! I guess they figured in the 1950s, most movie-goers wouldn't have a good understanding of what an airplane cockpit actually looks like.

Otherwise, some nice shots -- of San Marco, of course!

The 1994 movie Only You, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr., is a kind of road movie as she looks for the love her of life, beginning the search in Venice. The city is shown for only a few moments in the movie, but gorgeous scene landing at the airport and riding a water bus into the Hotel Danieli.

The 2004 version of Merchant of Venice was considerably darker, with Al Pacino as Shylock and Jeremy Irons as Antonio, but it was also very good -- especially with the scenes shot at Portia's family villa. I've got to find out where those were shot; probably somewhere in the Veneto!

Those are some of my favourites, I know I've forgotten some, so additions to this would be welcome. I left out The Talented Mr. Ripley, because I hated it; also Death in Venice.

Comments (3)

Casanova (the one with Heath Ledger) was just on the other night. Definitely great scenery in that movie.

There was also the Italian Job.

Just reading about Three Coins in a Fountain makes me hear that silly music in my head. I love those old movies, for the scenery of years ago, but mostly because they make me laugh.


Oh you hated Ripley? I rather enjoyed it, mostly for the scenery though.

Kim already mentioned Bread and Tulips - that's one of my favorites set in Venice. Good story and characters and some scenery that's more than just San Marco. I also like The Wings of a Dove with Helena Bonham-Carter.

Kind of goofy since it's a musical - Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You. Julia Roberts plays a Tintoretto scholar (!) who Woody pursues. Nice scenery and one scene filmed inside the Scuola San Rocco.

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