By Ann Silverthorn
One of DVD Netflix's most rented movies from 2003, Under the Tuscan Sun serves up a cinematic travel log for Italy’s Tuscany region. In the film, a writer, reeling from the breakup of her marriage, ditches a bus tour and buys a crumbling villa. If you can’t get to Tuscany to see its hills, vineyards, and ancient architecture for yourself, here are seven movies set in this part of Italy that might make you feel like you’re there.
Set in Florence, this British romance follows the E.M. Forster novel of the same title. Two female cousins go on holiday and must deal with the problem of being assigned rooms with no views. A fellow guest, and his son, offer to exchange accommodations with the young women, setting off a series of attractions, lies, and improprieties. As you can imagine, the view becomes clear in the end, having nothing to do with an actual “finestra.”
Based on the Shakespeare play, this film is set in Florence and rivals any contemporary rom-com. A happy couple wishes to play matchmaker for a young man and woman who hate each other. They devise a scheme that seems foolproof, until a jealous suitor foils their plan, resulting in misunderstandings and requiring some creative problem solving. Anyone who thinks Shakespeare is boring needs to read more Shakespeare.
Do you remember the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine rants about how much she hates this movie? She cries, “It’s too long!” It is quite long at 2 hours and 42 minutes, but Elaine was outnumbered on the episode, because everyone she runs into raves about it. Set in 1944 war-torn Italy, the story centers on a mortally wounded patient, apparently suffering from amnesia, and a beautiful nurse who cares for him in a ravaged Tuscany villa. A series of flashbacks reveal the patient’s complicated past.
Filmed in the town of Arezzo in eastern Tuscany, Life is Beautiful tells the story of a Jewish librarian who uses his imagination to shield his five-year-old son from the horrific truth of a concentration camp. Guido tells his son that they are on holiday and manages to convince the boy that they are playing a game, the rules of which include no crying, not asking for one’s mother, and no complaining of hunger.
The cannibal from Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter, who escaped from an asylum, establishes a new career as a museum curator in Florence. Ten years after his escape, one of his victims devises a plan to seek revenge, using the FBI agent who helped catch Lecter the first time. Lecter’s going to need more than a nice chianti and some fava beans to get him out of this mess.
Don’t let the subtitles for Dutch dialogue in Tuscany throw you. The plot for this romping rom-com takes place at a lavish Tuscan villa that specializes in weddings. The wedding planner, Sanne, falls for her client’s promiscuous best man. Meanwhile, Sanne’s mother and her second husband struggle with marital problems while they try to operate the villa, and Sanne’s sister puts the final touches on her own nuptials.
This is the third movie in the Robert Langdon film series, based on the Dan Brown books (Da Vinci Code). Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital with amnesia caused by a grazing bullet. When an assassin shows up at the hospital trying to kill him, his doctor takes him to her home. Together, they race across Europe trying to foil the Dante-inspired plot of a madman who wants to release a virus designed to wipe out half of the world’s population.