From Villa Boscogrande in Sicily, which hosted Luchino Visconti’s crew for the filming of ‘The Leopard’, to Villa d’Este in Tivoli that enchanted Woody Allen, passing through Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, which became Naboo in ‘Star Wars – Episode II’, Italian villas have been appearing in many masterpieces of the international Cinema. Virail, a meta-search engine that compares transport solutions, compiled a list of  amazing villas that were chosen as locations for famous and award-winning movies.

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Villa Medici – Rome

Villa Medici (Rome) – ‘The Great Beauty’ (2013): One of the great scenes of Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning movie is the one shot in the gardens of this Mannerist villa on the Pincian Hill. Here, the protagonist, Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), concludes his nocturnal walk admiring the Niobidi sculptural group. Built in the 16th century, the villa currently houses the French Academy in Rome which invites young artists to exhibit their work in Rome. It has a number of guest rooms, and when these are not used by artists or other official guests, they are open to the general public.

Villa Boscogrande (Palermo) – ‘The Leopard’ (1963): the halls and rooms of the 18th-century villa, in Luchino Visconti’s movie, turned into those of the Palace of the Salinas, the family belonging to the decadent aristocracy of the late 19th century whose story is told in the movie. The villa, which is open to the public by reservation, has a beautiful garden and numerous frescoed rooms.

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Villa Lante – Viterbo

Villa Lante (Viterbo) – ‘We Have a Pope’ (2011): Nanni Moretti chose this magnificent 16th-century villa located in Bagnaia, in the province of Viterbo, as the location for the scenes of ‘We Have a Pope’ that were set in the Vatican Gardens. Villa Lante, not only has a peculiar architecture divided into two separate houses decorated with exquisite frescoes, but it also boasts one of the greatest examples of Italian Renaissance garden featuring cascades, fountains, water games, and dripping grottoes.

Villa Erba (Como) – ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ (2004): this 19th-century jewel with wonderful frescoes is located on the shores of Lake Como and it once was Visconti’s summer residence. In 2004 it turn into the mansion of the famous thief Night Fox (Vincent Cassel) in the sequel to ‘Ocean’s Eleven’.

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Villa Balbaniello – Como

Villa del Balbianello (Como) – ‘Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones’ (2002): overlooking the placid shores of Lake Como, the 13th-century monastery was converted into a villa in 1787 and, in 2002, it featured as Naboo in the second episode of ‘Star Wars’. Because of its privileged location on Lake Como and the exclusive interiors it is an interesting location for movies makers. Indeed, it appeared also in 007’s ‘Casino Royale’ in 2006.

Villa Necchi Campiglio (Milan) – ‘I am love’ (2009): this villa, which was built between 1932 and 1935, was used as the house of the Recchi family, the protagonist of Luca Guadagnino’s ‘I am love’. Located in the center of Milan, the villa is open to the public as part of the ‘Case Museo di Milano’ circuit (Milan’s museum houses) entrusted to the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) – the national trust dedicated to the protection and promotion of Italy’s extraordinary cultural, artistic and natural patrimony.

(Ilona Catani Scarlett)

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