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Last Updated on March 9, 2022 by Jella Erhard

30 Best Movies Set in Italy to Watch Before Visiting

Explore Italy before visiting by watching these gorgeous movies set in Italy to learn about its culture and history including classics and new Italian films.

Italian movies often get international love and of course, plenty of other foreign filmmakers are going to various parts of Italy to shoot their stories.

You’ll find here comedies, romance stories, thrillers, biographies, and moving dramas that will not only take you to Italy but make you think.

You can learn more about this beautiful country’s past and present by watching some of the most beloved Italian classics like The Bicycle Thief or Amarcord. These movies will give you insights into the social and economical situations of Italy’s past that molded modern Italy while keeping you entertained at all times.

However, you’ll also find here fun romance stories and can enjoy life-changing stories of those who traveled to find themselves.

The best thing is, you can watch these movies online on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Gorgeous Movies Set in Italy to Watch Before Visiting

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30| Made in Italy | 2020

made in italy movie - best movies set in italy - best italian movies

Made in Italy is one of the newest movies set in Italy specifically in Tuscany that will premier in August 2020.

It’s about a bohemian artist Robert played by Leam Neeson and his son Jack played by Micheál Richardson (who is Leam Neeson’s real-life son too).

After Robert’s wife’s death Michael decides that he wants to sell their old Tuscan house. The only problem is that it was empty for many many years and is now quite a fixer-upper.

Together they travel to Italy to re-model the house but of course, they’ll face many challenges, they have to deal with the scars of the past but also learn something about themselves and each other to heal.

The Made in Italy trailer looks charming, funny, and heartwarming hopefully the whole film will be just that.

One thing is for sure, we can’t wait to see it. We’re surely happy that there are more and more movies about Italy even in 2020.

29| Il Sorpasso | 1962

Il Sorpasso is a superb 60s movie set in Italy that will take you on an eventful road trip on the picturesque Lazio and Tuscan coasts.

If you enjoy getting on the road without worrying about what may happen, then follow the short but busy trip of new friends Bruno and Roberto.

The two meet on a quiet day in Rome as Roberto arrives in his beautiful Convertible Lancia Aurelia and asks law student Bruno to make a phone call.

The two connects quite quickly and embark on an epic tour that will end with an unexpected turn.

Il Sprpasso is certainly among the best road trip movies set in Italy.

You can watch Il Sopasso online on Amazon Prime Video.

28| Bread and Tulips (Pane e tulipani) | 2000

Bread and Tulips is most definitely among the best new movies set in Italy as it is delightfully humorous. If you are looking to plan a fun family movie night, then one of your best picks is Bread and Tulips.

A family holiday is gone wrong when Rosalba loses her husband and children. After the initial desperation, she gets to enjoy life in the City of Water.

On the way home, she decides to make a short stop in Venice and things work out better than she expected.

If you are looking for lovely romantic comedy movies set in Venice, then you just found the best one.

You can watch Bread and Tulips online on Amazon Prime Video.

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27| Divorce Italian Style (Divorzio all’italiana) | 1961

There are some great 60s movies set in Italy and Divorce Italian Style is the cheekiest masterpiece you can find. 

It is actually really entertaining and allows its viewers to have a better understanding of that time in Italy.

Ferdinando is married to a very devoted lady but he doesn’t feel happy anymore. He definitely doesn’t think of her as fondly as his cousin, whom he cannot stop thinking about.

The only problem is; divorce is forbidden, so he has to come up with a way to get around the law.

If you are looking for films set in southern Italy then you should check out this classic that will take you to Sicily.

You can buy Divorce Italian Style DVD on Amazon.

26| Spettacolo | 2017

Spettacolo is a fantastic documentary about a small hill town in Tuscany. They have lived through some terrible difficulties over the years and they found a way to cope with them.

Every summer since the Second World War the main square is turned into a stage, where townsfolk can play any roles.

It serves as a stress release and a perfect bonding opportunity. You can enjoy the beauty of the town and get familiar with a fascinating tradition.

You can watch Spettacolo online on Amazon Prime Video.

25| La Dolce Vita | 1960

La Dolce Vita is Fellini’s most famous masterpiece that brought us the famous Fontana di Trevi scene with Anita Ekberg.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to recreate that beautiful scene as no one is allowed to dip into the water. Still, you can indulge in the mesmerizing scenes of La Dolce Vita.

The movie has brought a lot of success to the production team as it isn’t just visually pleasing but the story is perfectly crafted as well.

Marcello’s approach to life has been the topic of many psychology dissertations as the protagonist and all the characters are extremely complex.

Movie lovers just cannot forget about the hedonistic man trying to juggle three women in his life.

It is certainly one of the most iconic 60s movies set in Italy.

You can watch La Dolce Vita online on Amazon Prime Video.

24| Sicilian Ghost Story | 2017

There aren’t many horror movies set in southern Italy, so we were delighted to come across the Sicilian Ghost Story.

It is a pretty dark, hard to watch kind of picture, that will certainly creep you out of all forests and lakes in the world.

13- year old schoolboy disappears and his friend Luna is not giving up on finding him. As she uncovers more of the mystery, she discovers that a lake is sort of a gate to a dark world that swallowed her friend.

It is going to make a perfect movie night material if you are looking to scare your fellow movie lovers.

You can watch Sicilian Ghost Story online on Amazon Prime Video.

23| We Have a Pope (Habemus Papam) | 2011

As the title suggests, the movie is depicting the moments of the new pope election and what comes after. Following the death of the pope, the conclave gathers to find a suitable successor.

If you are looking for new movies set in Italy, Habemus Papam is a superb one to introduce how things work in the Vatican. Nanni Moretti (directed by, partly written and produced by) perfectly depicts the emotions and stress of the newly elected Cardinal Melville.

He was not among the potential winners, so when he is announced to be the next pope, he has a panic attack and things become complicated.

Thanks to the comedic approach to the matter, it is an easy to digest fun story and surely one of the best movies set in Italy on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

22| Call Me by Your Name | 2017

Popular and critically acclaimed Call Me by Your Name is a very important picture for all age groups. 17-year old Elio lives with his family in rural northern Italy and he is about to have his most eventful summer yet.

When Oliver arrives to help Elio’s father with some papers on archaeology, a special bond begins to form.

After a time Elio expresses his feelings to Oliver, but for various reasons, he cannot reciprocate. As days pass by, they eventually kiss and get even closer to become more serious in secret.

It is most certainly one of the most emotional films set in Italy on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

21| The Talented Mr. Ripley | 1999

With a very strong cast, The Talented Mr. Ripley is certainly a great thriller that will leave everyone with mixed feelings. Or rather dark ones.

The story of talented forger and liar Mr. Ripley is quite a roller coaster with plenty of surprises.

Millionaire Herbert Greenleaf mistakes him for a former classmate of his son and pays Ripley handsomely to bring Dickie back from Italy.

Mr. Ripley is not hasty on fulfilling his end of the bargain and begins enjoying the hedonistic lifestyle of the rich man while pretending to be him.

Unfortunately as expected, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. This remarkable story by Patricia Highsmith (based on her book) has turned out to be one of the best movies set in Italy to watch on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

20| Eat Pray Love | 2010

Elizabeth Gilbert’s successful novel enjoys popularity on screen as well. The main character, Liz decides to go on a life-changing journey despite having all that most people dream about.

As she sets out on an epic journey, her first stop is the Mediterranean country of Italy.

She gets to experience the best of the country; lovely people, delicious bites and breathtaking sights of the fascinating Eternal City.

With all the beauty it is surely among the must see movies set in Rome Italy to watch for a good self searching. You can cozy in for a lovely movie night to get lost in the beauty of the Italian capital while finding your true desires.

If you loved this story then we have a list of travel movies like Eat, Pray, Love for you.

You can watch Eat Pray Love online on Amazon Prime Video.

19| Under the Tuscan Sun | 2003

Frances Mayes’ lovely book was turned into one of the best movies set in Tuscany Italy thanks to the memorable acting of Diane Lane.

When San Francisco writer Mayes’ life turns upside down upon discovering that her husband is cheating on her.

To cope with the pain, she decides to take a journey to one of the most idolized regions of the world; Tuscany.

During her time there, she falls in love with an abandoned villa in the picturesque Cortona and purchases it. As she is fixing it up, Frances meets a number of friendly people and helps two young soul mates fulfill their forbidden love.

At the wedding, she meets a dashing American writer with whom she may live happily ever after.

You can watch Under The Tuscan Sun online on Amazon Prime Video.

18| In Search of Fellini | 2017

Sheltered small-town girl Lucy takes a huge step out of her comfort zone. Thanks to her mother’s encouragement, who despite a hard time lets her daughter go, Lucy sets out on an incredible adventure in Italy.

As she is a huge admirer of Fellini, Lucy wants to explore the colorful country the way she got to know it through the legendary filmmaker.

Throughout Lucy’s journey, there are enchanting visual references to some of Fellini’s greatest works.

This magical picture is definitely among the best movies set in Italy on Netflix. The story is captivating and the actors are doing a great job bringing this fantastic tale of self-exploration and new adventures.

We surely think it would deserve much more recognition and popularity.

You can watch In Search of Fellini online on Amazon Prime Video.

17| The Music of Silence (La musica del silenzio ) | 2017

World renown singer Andrea Bocelli has become one of the most appreciated and beloved tenors in the world. His journey to living for his passion wasn’t easy though, as a blind child he had plenty to cope with.

The Music of Silence is taking you on a magnificent journey of passion and devotion that ends with the success of Bocelli. For an emotional movie night with your date, it is surely going to be a great pick.

This beautiful Robert Redford picture is certainly one of the most enchanting films set in Italy you can watch on Netflix or on Amazon Prime Video.

16| Angels & Demons | 2009

Dan Brown’s popular hero, Robert Langdon brought to life by talented actor Tom Hanks is on another terrific quest to solve a terrible mystery.

If you are looking for movies set in Rome that are full of action, then you will not be disappointed. The whole movie is very well-paced, just like the original book.

At some point, you are going to feel sorry for the symbologist professor, as he is not necessarily cut out for such a high intensity.

Still, he manages to cope and thanks to him order may be restored even if just temporarily.

Angels and Demons filming locations also include the Royal Palace of Caserta not far from Naples.

In case you are in search of movies set in Florence Italy, the third film Inferno is set in in the Tuscan capital.

You can watch Angels & Demons online on Amazon Prime Video.

15| Only You | 1994

Only You is a little messy romantic comedy that invites viewers for a nice movie night with plenty of laughter. It is one of the best pictures if you want to explore Italy a bit further. There are only a few movies set in Positano, Venice, and Rome as well.

25-year old Faith Kovacs is engaged but ten days before her wedding she discovers that she foretold soul mate actually exists and is traveling to Venice.

Only knowing the name, Damon Bradley, she hops on a flight and an incredible adventure begins.

It is a story of love, deceit, and belief that will take you around some of the most beautiful places in Italy.

You can watch Only You on Amazon Prime.

14| The Two Popes | 2019

The mystery of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 is no longer a secret. Well, The Two Popes is based on real events and people, however, cannot say for sure if the behind the scenes events and conversations happened as in the movie.

Still, even if you didn’t consider watching it because you’re not being interested in religions and the politics behind the walls of the Vatican city it still deserves a watch.

The Two Popes is a fun and insightful look into modern society and how changes affect even the biggest religious group on eath. It’s also certainly among the best films set in Rome, Italy.

You are going to be taken around the Vatican and the Papal Palace of Gandolfo. The two main actors Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins have great chemistry perfecting this often humorous drama.

You can watch The Two Popes on Netflix.

13| Letters to Juliet | 2010

Sophie’s holiday with her chef fiancé takes an unexpected turn when she finds herself neglected in the historic Italian city of Verona.

As her partner doesn’t seem to be fascinated by the beauty of their destination, he goes off to gather information for his future restaurant.

Our protagonist joins the “secretaries of Juliet,” where she finds an unanswered letter to the fictional lover. Once she replies, the now elderly addressee flies to Italy with her grandson.

A new romance is blossoming that has a bumpy road ahead, but soon the two will find happiness.

For those seeking lovely romantic comedies set in Italy, this will make a great intimate movie night.

You can watch Letters to Juliet on Amazon Prime.

12| A Room with a View | 1985

Speaking of captivating romantic movies set in Italy, A Room with a View is going to make everyone’s heart pound for sure. In 1907 love wasn’t that so easy; Lucy’s new found love is forbidden and nothing seems to come together.

Her chaperone and cousin Charlotte keeps a close eye on her and Lucy’s newfound love George has to work harder than expected. Just when things would have seemed all lost, it turns out that their new neighbor back in Surrey is going to be the handsome British man.

This classic is among the best movies set in Florence Italy that are going to make a magical movie night. A Room with a View Cast includes fantastic actors such as Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Simpson.

You can watch A Room With A View online on Amazon Prime Video.

11| Like Crazy (La pazza gioia) | 2016

If you are in search of Italian movies on Netflix, then Like Crazy is definitely going to brighten up your next movie night.

The delightful story of Beatrice and Donatella becoming close friends in a Tuscan mental hospital is going to make you smile for days.

It can be sometimes a little heavy on the heart, but mostly funny and cheerful.

The two ladies escape the mental institution and get out to an extraordinary adventure with a stolen car. Writer-director Paolo Virzi has managed to fit so much into two hours about friendship, mental health, dreams, and self-explorations.

You are most definitely in for a lovely treat by choosing one of the best movies set in Tuscany.

You can watch Like Crazy online on Amazon Prime Video.

10| The Postman (Il Postino) | 1994

Il Postino or The Postman is one of the most moving films set in southern Italy near Naples. We follow Mario, a lesser educated good-hearted man, who turns his life around from being a fisherman to become a postman.

His only customer is Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet who is in a refuge from his home country for political reasons.

The two become very good friends and following some difficulties Mario marries his love, Beatrice. At the wedding Pablo finds out, he can return to Chile.

When good news comes some rather sad ones follow as well, on Pablo’s return things aren’t the same anymore.

It’s kind of hard to get a copy of this classic Italian movie but you can buy the DVD on eBay.

9| Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) | 1948

Out of all the movies set in Italy’s Rome, Bicycle Thieves is probably the most captivating ones that will leave your heart aching for days.

Besides it being among Leonardo Di Caprio’s favorite movies, it has a lot to learn from. 

Now, we get to see it from the other side, where Antonio Ricci is hopelessly trying to get a job in order to support his wife Maria and son.

An offer is on the table, but he would have to own a bicycle. Maria pawns their bedding to get a bicycle and Antonio is able to take the job.

On his first day pasting posters on walls, his bicycle is stolen. He tries to get it back, then to be able to carry on with his work he even gathers the courage to steal someone else’s bike.

He is by far not as lucky as his thief, and when getting caught the whole neighborhood turns against him.

There is a heartbreaking end, but we do not want to ruin your perfect movie night. Bicycle Thieves is most definitely among the most touching Italian post World War I movies.

You can Bicycle Thief online on Amazon Prime Video.

8| Federico Fellini’s 8½ | 1963

If your next cozy night in has to include a remarkable 60s movie set in Italy, then who else’s masterpiece would make the shortlist then Federico Fellini’s.

In the middle of his artistic “down,” famous Italian director Guido Anselmi is struggling to make another hit. As he is getting deeper and deeper into his thoughts, Anselmi relives most of his love affairs and adventures that soon turn into a new movie.

8½ was definitely a pioneer in its time thanks to the magnificent scenes and outstanding design.

It sure deserves all the recognition it got and much more.

You can watch 8½  online on Amazon Prime Video.

7| Roman Holiday | 1953

Roman Holiday is probably the most known classic movie set in Italy.

This Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck classic have swept so many romantic souls off their feet, it changed the world for sure. It also romanticized the beautiful Italian capital further. As if it needed any help.

Due to unanticipated circumstances, crown princess Ann and expatriate reporter Joe end up crossing each other’s paths and get close. To win a bet that would earn Joe a lot of money, he tries to get an interview with the esteemed beauty.

In the process, they get very fond of each other and a world-famous romance is about to kick off.

Roman Holiday is surely one of the most romantic movies set in Rome that will also take you on a fantastic sightseeing tour.

You can watch Roman Holiday online on Amazon Prime Video.

6| Amarcord | 1973

Amarcord is one of his superb classics taking place in the 1930s.

In case you are craving drama-comedy films set in fascist Italy, then there is no better choice than a quirky Fellini masterpiece.

The Oscar and Golden Globe winner movie is going to take you an Italian coastal town. Through short anecdotes told with surrealistic visuals you can explore the town’s people and their everyday life.

You can watch Amarcord online on Amazon Prime Video.

5| The Conformist (Il conformista ) | 1970

A really interesting and suspenseful Italian movie that is going to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Conformist is partly set in Paris, where Mussolini’s secret police officer Marcello is tasked to assassinate exiled former college professor Luca Quadri.

Everything would have gone as planned if Marcello didn’t meet the anti-fascist man’s wife, Anna. Anna makes the agent rethink everything valuable in his life, along with his new bride Gulia. Is he going to be faithful to his bride and country?

The Conformist is surely among the best films set in fascist Italy.

You can watch The Conformist online on Amazon Prime Video.

4| Cinema Paradiso (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) | 1988

This moving piece of cinema deserves a spot on all lists that include the best Italian movies because it really is about the love of cinema.

Well-known and beloved film director Salvatore Di Vita is informed that Alfredo has passed away. When his girlfriend asks who Alfredo is, Salvatore remembers his childhood in a Sicilian small village.

Amid the recovery from World War II, the smart troublemaker eight-year-old boy lives with his widow mother.

He tries to escape from reality by spending all his free time in Cinema Paradiso. There, he makes a good friend, Alfredo the projectionist of the cinema.

Thanks to their friendship Salvatore becomes even more connected to movies and he finds his true passion; cinema.

It is a real tear-jerker so prepare some tissues for your movie night.

You can watch Cinema Paradiso online on Amazon Prime Video.

3| The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) | 2013

For a truly amazing and fairly long movie night, you should watch The Great Beauty. Jep Gambardella has lived a fulfilling life but at the age of 65 he realizes he missed a lot during his years.

He had been to countless parties and seduced a number of ladies, but still, something is missing.

Despite thinking that was happiness for him, he now has to come to a life-changing realization. So now he gets out there to find the true beauty of life and maybe love as well.

The Great Beauty is an eye-opening piece that will make everyone reconsider their lives and help make some changes if necessary.

You can watch The Great Beauty online on Amazon Prime Video.

2| The Gold of Naples (L’oro di Napoli) | 1954

There is no better way to get familiar with Vittorio De Sica’s art, then by watching his tribute to the southern city of Naples. This quaint picture is introducing the city through six separate stories of locals.

You are going to see the best but rather the worst of that magnificent town.

Follow a number of people, who had made a series of bad decisions or are on a path of crime.

Have to mention, it is a superb piece which is made even more remarkable thanks to the fantastic acting of Sophia Loren.

It is one of the best classic movies set in Naples Italy you shouldn’t miss.

You can buy The Gold of Naples DVD on Amazon.

1| Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella ) | 1997

Academy Award Winner Life is Beautiful is one of the most well known Italian movies set in Tuscany. If you are planning a somewhat elevating, yet crushingly sad movie, then this is your best pick for sure.

At the beginning of WW II, there are concentration camps all over the country Guido is seized along with his family during his son Giosué’s birthday party.

Dora, Guido’s wife gets on the train as well, but men and women are separated so they cannot be together anymore.

Guido tries to keep things as positive as possible for his son by telling stories and making it seem as if it were only a game.

You can watch Life Is Beautiful online on Amazon Prime Video.

Thank you for reading!