Our Top 10 Tuscan Cities for Movie Tours

ITINERARY 1: Pienza, Montepulciano, Val d’Orcia
ITINERARY 2: Cortona and Arezzo
ITINERARY 3: San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena
ITINERARY 4: Forte dei Marmi and Carrara
ITINERARY 5: Montecatini and Florence

Here are the trips to take with us to discover the Tuscan film locations through the most famous films shot in Tuscany.

ITINERARY 2: Cortona and Arezzo

Movie Tour Cortona

The beautiful village of Cortona in the province of Arezzo, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, has been chosen by various Italian and foreign directors as a set for their films. The itinerary begins with the Oscar-winning “Life is beautiful” by Roberto Benigni from 1997. The scene of Guido, played by the actor, who crosses the gaze of the adored Princess for the first time is resumed at the exit of the Signorelli theater.

Under the Tuscan Sun” is a 2003 film directed by Audrey Wells, starring Diane Lane and Raoul Bova. The film is based on the best-seller of the same name by the American writer Frances Mayes who tells of how a rural villa and a vintage Sangiovese changed her life. The shots were shot inside the historic center, including Piazza della Repubblica and inside the Farneta Abbey. Instead, a villa just outside the walls was chosen for the Villa di Bramasole, later purchased by the writer, where she spends several months of the year with her husband.

The small and charming town of Cortona is located high on a hill about 600 meters above sea level, surrounded by its walls which in part date back to the Etruscan and Roman periods.

From this elevated location you can admire a wonderful panorama over the whole Valdichiana, up to see the Trasimeno lake. Despite its small size, Cortona offers a lot to visit. The center of the village is Piazza della Repubblica. The Palazzo Comunale also faces here, built in the 12th century on the remains of a Roman forum.

In the Diocesan Museum, on the other hand, there is the beautiful panel of the Annunciation by Beato Angelico. Inside the MAEC (Museum of the Etruscan Academy and of the City of Cortona) various historical artifacts dating back to the Etruscan era are on display. On the highest point, however, there is the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, patron saint of Cortona, and the fortress of Girifalco. Just outside Cortona we find the Franciscan hermitage Le Celle, the first convent built by St. Francis in 1211, where the small cell of the saint is still intact.

The Tuscan Sun festival is the event of the year, dedicated to art which sees the participation of various national and international artists.

Movie Tour Arezzo

Arezzo and its province were the film set of the Oscar-winning film “Life is beautiful” by Roberto Benigni in 1997, and the blockbuster film of 1996, “The Cyclone” by Leonardo Pieraccioni. In Benigni’s film, Piazza Grande, Piazza San Francesco and Via Garibaldi can be recognized as the backdrop to the scene where the protagonist Guido meets his beloved Dora.

To remember the scenes of the film and the point where the filming took place, some plates have been affixed below. While for “The Cyclone”, the shooting moves to the province of Arezzo, and exactly to the towns of Laterina, Poppi and Stia. Here a group of Spanish dancers shakes up the quiet life of a village in the Valdarno of Arezzo where one of them wins the heart of the protagonist, with comic implications typical of “Tuscan comedy”.

The origins of the city of Arezzo, however, date back to the Paleolithic era. Proof of this is the discovery of very ancient stone tools and the so-called Elm Man. Then there are traces of the Etruscans since 9th century B.C. The rich “Arretium” has always had an important role in Tuscany, thanks to its position along the Via Cassia. Among others, it was the birthplace of Petrarca, Piero della Francesca and Giorgio Vasari.

Part of the medieval old town was destroyed during the Second World War, nevertheless it still has splendid monuments, churches and palaces to visit. The Basilica of San Francesco is certainly one of the main places in the city, with its cycle of frescoes inside of the Legend of the True Cross, by Piero della Francesca. Below, the Medici Fortress, the Roman amphitheater and the Church of San Francesco with the wooden Crucifix by Cimabue.

The province of Arezzo, then, is full of castles, villages and cities that have played an important role in the history of Tuscany. Cortona, Anghiari, San Sepolcro and Pioppi are just some of the most beautiful in the province.