What to Watch Before you Travel to Italy

Venice… Florence… Rome

After watching these movies, series and shows you’ll be even more excited when you see these locations for yourself!


  • Image result for eat pray love movieEat Pray Love – some set in Rome
  • Letters to Juliet – set in Verona and Tuscany – 2 regions you will travel through
  • The Great Beauty / Roman Holiday / To Rome with Love / La Dolce Vita – 4 older movies set in Rome
  • Three Coins in a Fountain – the Trevi Fountain (Rome) that is
  • Ben Hur – Charleton Heston – ancient Rome
  • A Room with a View – set in Florence
  • TImage result for the talented mr ripleyhe Talented Mr. Ripley – scenes in Rome and Venice.
  • The Gladiator w/ Russel Crowe – Set in the Colosseum in Rome – our tour guide said the rendering is quite accurate. Great to see what it looked like before you tour it. (Note: a great deal of violence.)
  • Spartacus with Kirk Douglas – Tour guide also recommended this one – can’t remember why.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun – well I can’t say as any of will have this experience but it’s a nice chick flick set in Tuscany.
  • Casino Royal and Spectre – 2 James Bond films with a few shots in Venice – This is mostly for Bond fans.
  • The Italian Job – for the beginning scenes in Venice. After that it’s just for the fun of it.
  • Related imageAngels and Demons – Tom Hanks/Dan Brown – set in Rome.
  • Tea with Mussolini – Moves to a different era of Florence history and stars such greats as Dame Judi Dench, Joan Playwright, Lily Tomlin, Cher
  • I did not recommend The Godfather (though I love it) as it is mostly set in the states and what is represented of Italy is Sicily.


  • Image result for the medici series on locationThe Medici – 2 seasons on Netflix – Highly recommended. Entirely set in Florence with a great overview of Renaissance Florentine history. Botticelli and his art play a large roll in season 2. You will be able to see some of his pieces in the Uffizi gallery if you choose to visit there on your free day in Florence.  (Note: it’s a Netflix original so it does contain some of those gratuitous sex scenes.)
  • Somebody Feed Phil – sent to me by fellow traveler Sandy Balentine. The most recent episode is set in Venice and has amazing shots of Related imagethe city and food that will leave your mouth watering. Quirky and eccentric – he is hysterical!  And if you have a PBS membership you can also watch I’ll Have What Phil’s Having – Italy. Bon Appetit!
  • DaVinci’s Demons – Starz Original – Set in Florence and Rome, but NOT filmed there – filmed in Wales. Still the “history” (which is a bit cheeky) connects you to the Medici, the Pope and the Pazzi you will now know so well from the series the Medici. This series is a bit on the “light” side, but fun for the history connections nonetheless. I stopped watching when DaVinci left Italy as the story went sideways after that.

Travel Shows:

Check out YouTube, PBS, BBC, Netflix and the Travel Channel for fun travel shows and documentaries. There’s so much out there I can only point you in a direction and suggest you find your favorites. Among my favorites are:

  • Rick Steves
  • Josh Gates
  • Samantha Brown


Many of the movies above started out as books. Since I haven’t read many of them, I will simply suggest you Google “Books to read before traveling to Italy” and check out the many suggestions. I’m a history buff, so I would lean toward the ones that tell me about the culture and history. But you may find another genre that strikes your fancy.

Grazie per essere qui e spero che vi divertiate!