Film fans know that, for a truly successful film, setting is just as important as the plot or the actors performances.
As a point of fact, consider how many films have locations in their titles, such as the classic Roman Holiday. In fact, in many films, the location becomes just as iconic and famous as the stars of the film.
Under the Tuscan Sun is the perfect example of this phenomenon, with thousands of fans travelling to Cortona, in Italy, to personally experience the region that writer Frances Mayes fell in love with on her own Tuscany holiday.
On a visit to Tuscany, holiday downtime is the perfect opportunity to go stargazin for famous movie locations that is. Below, we present a few locations that you may recognise from some of Hollywoods biggest blockbusters, as well as additional attractions in the area.
Val de Orcia Valley
Have you ever wondered what Paradise really looks like? Maximus Decimus Meridius, the Roman general played by Russell Crowe did in the epic movie Gladiator, and director Ridley Scott decided that the Val de Orcia Valley was the perfect place for these scenes. Not only is the landscape of this UNESCO Heritage Site picture-postcard-perfect, the Tuscan light is considered by artists, photographers and filmmakers as one of the best in the world for artistic effect. It is no wonder so many famous movies have been filmed here, including The English Patient and A Midsummer Nights Dream.
Even without the movie connection, however, the valley is one of the most recognisable locations in Tuscany. Holiday itineraries would definitely not be complete without a visit to the location that has graced so many magazine covers and coffee table books. Located between Pienza and Montalcino, you will find plenty to do during an excursion here, including visiting medieval towns such as San Quirico de Orcia, with its imposing Roman gates guarded by lion sculpture, touring ancient monasteries and abbeys, and hiking through some of the most gorgeous trails in the world.
Undoubtedly one of the most famous movie franchises in the world, The Twilight Saga comprises three films based on the international bestseller series by Stephanie Meyer. New Moon, the second book in the series, featured scenes set in the town of Volterra, but film producers decided that the medieval walled town of Montepulciano, with its steep streets and stunning views, was a better location for the film version. Fans of the film will no doubt recognise the Tempio di San Biagio, one of the finest examples of High Renaissance architecture and the lovely Piazza Grande.
Many visitors also take the opportunity to sample the areas Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, one of the most famous red wines in Tuscany. Villas dotted around the area make it easy for the visitor to enjoy a leisurely exploration of the entire region, including its many vineyards. Incidentally, this gorgeous town was also used to shoot some of the scenes for Under the Tuscan Sun.