The best 5 movies about Tuscany

February 18, 2018 3 Comments

The best 5 movies about Tuscany

*P.C. Jhon Schnobrich via Unsplash


While planning your next trip to Tuscany... what's better than sitting comfortable on the sofa and just let a movie inspire you?

Movies show us cities and landscapes in their special way, through the facts of a human story. The background of the stories give you  the feeling of belonging to that reality. 

Everytime I see some places in a movie and then go there to visit that same place definetly it feels like dejà vu, and I love it!

So let me give you a few suggestions, through a '5 Best Movies' selection which will make you fall in love with Tuscany!
Lots of films are set in Italy, but just a few are showing Tuscany the way it really is for insiders.
So sit cushy on your couch and enjoy!

What's my list based upon?

My selection is based on the intent to communicate what Tuscany and especially Tusacn life is. I am pleased to point some films which could really give an authentic 'tuscan feeling' and lead people to breathe the real Tuscany.


Life is Beautiful
(3 Academy Award)

Year: 1997

English Version: yes

Netflix: No.

Director: Roberto Benigni


This first one is a master piece very very famous. The director and main actor is Roberto Benigni, which is such a beloved public figure here in Italy.
He's a culture man, born and raised in Tuscany and he has a great talent for comedy and a deep understanding (and knowledge) about italian culture.
As many comedians do, he can tell the sadness of tragedy through his funny way, and what's more he added to the moovie a good dose of romance.


It is mostly set in Tuscany, in a city called Arezzo (see the pic up here) .

It is the story of a jewish man, Guido, which falls in love and marries a christian woman during the time about the second world war. From this marriage will born a child: Giosuè.
When the Nazi system rules come in Italy, the whole family is deported to the concentration camps and the main tragic and romantic part of the movie is how this father will save his own child from death letting him live the working camp as a sort of game. Preserving his soul from the atrocity of such a condition.


The ways of Benigni and the choices of the places are fully Tuscan. He is born and raised here and he can tell about this land very well, skipping those fake details which are often in movies with foreigner directors.

Arezzo it-self is a little ancient gem. Walking in Arezzo is just like the film shows: being surrouded by centuries old stones, under the light of Italy, feeling in "La Vita è Bella"(Life is Beautiful)

Stealing Beauty

year: 1996

English Language: yes

Netflix: no

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci


I appreciate this moovie a lot because it is out of the 'clichès' about Tuscany and Tuscan lifestyle. It represents life and people in my region from an authentic italian point of view, in fact the director is Bernardo Bertolucci (the italian director of "Last Tango in Paris" and "The last Emperor").

The main character is a young american girl, Lucy, which is visiting the land where her mother, during the young age, enchanted the local boys.
After some years from the mother's suicide, Lucy, plans to spend some time in a Villa set in the countryside of Siena, reuniting with some important part of her roots and guided from the secrets she found in her mother's diary.

Through the foreigner eyes of this teen american you will get in touch with an authentic Tuscan dream, dealing with art, Tuscany landscape and a lot of strange characters. All together creating a small complicated and harmonic universe.


What I love the most about this movie is the love story blossoming along the whole tale in a genuine Tuscan (or homie to me) surrounding.
I swear I could feel the heat of the sun and the cicades as they are in Tuscany, by watching it!

The houses are really like that, so are the places and in most cases the people too. Artists living a slow life in a countryside area are some of my dearest friends and definetly part of this region.
Creating summer love-stories memories along cypress and  hills were one of my favourite activities at Lucy's age too!
Enjoy the movie, and if you want to go deeper, the pics up here comes from my Insta profile and they are about the same places this movie is set in!

Tea with Mussolini
(with Maggie Smith)

Year: 1999

English Version: yes

Netflix: No

Director: Franco Zeffirelli


Zeffirelli, the director, is a guarantee of quality. He opens a window on history about how it had to be the changing of times in Florence. The passage of the world's wars happens through the same streets I am walking in everyday, and as for a miracle all the city surroundings stayed safe through Time.
The movie opens its first scene with an original italian popular song, and the story told in the lyrics is set in Florence.

The whole story takes place mostly in Florence, and San Gimignano as well. Even thought the facts relate to a group of english women, the movie it's precious for showing so much about Florence.

You will have access to some of the most important sites in the city, and also the environments of the art school it's so similar to the reality of the art school in Florence nowadays (I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts ).
You also must know that the orphanage where the kid Luca is living his first years, is the real old florentine's orphanage.It's been in charge from the 15th Century to the last Century.

The same name of the protagonist is 'Innocenti', which means 'Innocents', and this one and similar surnames were given to little orphans. The orphanage is a main part of florentine's hisotry and its name actually means 'Hostel for the innocents(children).


Zeffirelli's work also shows well the Uffizi Museum (a few steps from Ponte Vecchio). This museum has some of the most famous works of art in the world, and it must be on your list when visiting Florence!

Finally, to finish your tuscan trip, you can add San Gimignano, a village 1 hour away from Florence, and you won't be disappointed!

It is a medieval jewel up on a hill, surrounded by an amazing typical tuscan landscape.

The place isn't less romantic than what the movie shows. You will find all the cute corners you imagine Tuscany can have!



The first Beautiful thing

Year: 2010

English Version: yes (only subtitles)

Netflix: yes

Director: Paolo Virzì


The story of a tuscan family in the 70's in parallel with the 2010 life of the two kid's now grown old: Bruno and Valeria.
This director is probably one of the most capable in giving a real feedback of what life must look like for the authentic tuscan insiders. His characters always belog to the lower middle class, and their stories deals with the need of survivng, and sometimes the fantasy involved to 'keep on going'. The tragic or sad aspect is relieved from the genuine taste of love and also from that rude, sweet affection from friends and family.


The whole atmosphere is set into the 'colour' of Livorno, a Tuscan city with a very singular and 'strong' spirit  (whose people are generally know both as very funny guys, and maybe a bit rude sometimes!)

Watch also the most famous: "Ovo Sodo" from Paolo Virzì.

Under The Tuscan Sun

Director: Audrey Wells

Year: 2003

English: yes.

Netflix: No.


Book: Frances Mayes "Under the tuscan sun"

This is a really nice commedy to cherish in a relaxed night before planning your next trip to Tuscany!

The whole story is about Frances (like me!;) ), an american writer which, after a bad divorce situation, receive a gift from a friend: a flight ticket to Tuscany! She is about to refuse it, confused by a form of depression caused by her failed marriage. Finally she is accepting and starting her trip 'unde the tuscan sun'.

During a visit in a village (Montepulciano - where the image up here is been taken) she spots an announcement for a villa on sale, and the casuality of life leads her juts in front of it, when she wasn't thinking of that anymore.

The real story begins when Frances (Francesca, like me!) decides impulsively to buy the Villa and starts her new life in Tuscany!
The rest is an adventure which is not assumed and full of romanticism with a tip of bitterness in the right parts.
I appreciated this moovie a lot just because of its genuine approach from the point of view of a foreigner and also becuase it really shows places you cannot miss like Montepulciano, Florence and Siena's countryside.

It definetly opens a window on the 'sunny face' of my region, such as the typical towns and buildings, the olives harvest moments, the dinners with families and the general happy atmosphere which spreads from the whole movie! Check the real places of the film up here you'll find these same pics scrolling down on  my Instagram profile:

"Under the Tuscan sun" has got some 'mistakes' about our culture, which ones?

Theis movie is also quite full of clichès about italians which belong mostly to americans, and look like gettig out directly from the american Little Italy.

-The presence of the 'carts' maybe belogs to 100 years ago- civilization reached us as well (since 2000 years, actually..).

-The women black dressed and veiled are certainly an heritage of the 19th centuries, and their way to dress lasted longer in the south of Italy. For sure not in a story of 2003. This is definetly out of the real Tuscany, and probably mostly what an american is expecting to find here.

-Also the presence of the Saints, as it is shown, is not part of our culture. Again it belongs to the southern regions of Italy. In Tuscany the relation-ship with the Divine and saints is approached differently from that (for example their presence all over, the kitch parades, the gross presence of the statues, ecc..)


3 Responses

Andy Brown
Andy Brown

March 01, 2019

This is a great list! Thanks! Makes me want to get back to Tuscany and photograph more :)

Me & Tuscany - Francesca
Me & Tuscany - Francesca

October 29, 2018

Me too Lori!
That’s the good and the bad of some of these old fashioned movies :)


October 29, 2018

I wish they were all on Netflix !!

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