From north to south, Italy is embracing a new form of travel, one that combines the real experiential holiday with the social world, reality meeting the dream thanks to a passion for the visual arts. The Italy for Movies portal showcases the many unique filming locations that the country has to offer.
The consumer is no longer content with just being a tourist. They want to be a “temporary resident” of the places they visit, embracing an experience or even a dream connected to the essence of the area.
In modern society, there is an increasing overlap between real and virtual and on social media – from Instagram to TikTok – we can even star in own visual dream. One innovative and appealing way to experience a destination with an experiential approach then is cinema tourism or, more generally, travel that sees us follow in the footsteps of the most famous actors and directors and visit the most beautiful film locations. And Italy, with its incredible wealth and variety of scenery, history, art and culture, is an increasingly popular location for international film crews.
BIT 2021, at fieramilanocity from 7 to 9 February, serves as an effective platform on which to promote, discover and experience the new forms of experiential tourism. It is no coincidence that the theme of this next edition will be Step into a new journey. BIT Experience, in particular, will be the area dedicated to new holiday ideas relating to nature, slow tourism, food-and-wine tourism and themed itineraries in general. BIT FORUM events will also include the BIT TRAVEL INSPIRATION section, which presents those experiential destinations that respond to this new demand from travellers. As always, the themes will be supported by Italian and international best practices.
But what are the most popular trends and destinations for those wanting to trace the making of their favourite film or series? In the Marche, there is renewed interest in places linked to Leopardi thanks to the success of Il Giovane Favoloso, the 2014 film in which a wonderful Elio Germano played the young poet. Interest that has been confirmed by events celebrating the bicentenary of the writing of L’Infinito, in 2019.
Puglia is particularly active on this front. There is already a lot of interest in the upcoming locations, around Bari, Monopoli and Fasano, used for Lolita Lobosco, the new RAI series based on the folkloric detective stories by Gabriella Genisi. Luisa Ranieri stars in this production by Luca Miniero. The producers also include Luca Zingaretti. Once of these will be Pane e Pomodoro, one of the best-loved beaches in Bari. Bari, Polignano, Monopoli, Otranto, Castro, Santa Cesarea Terme, Conversano, Porto Badisco and Serrano are the locations for Carlo Verdone’s latest work, Si vive una volta sola, while the new film Viaggio a sorpresa, produced by and starring Ronn Moss (Ridge Forrester in the soap opera Beautiful), as well as Lino Banfi and Paolo Sassanelli, will feature Fasano, Alberobello, Cisternino, Martina Franca and Monopoli.
In nearby Basilicata it is also thanks to cinema, from Pasolini to Mel Gibson, that Matera has experienced a rebirth, even being named European Capital of Culture 2019. And that’s not all. Rugged Basilicata city will also play a starring role in the next Bond film, No time to die, visitors already keen to identify the roads that 007 drives in his legendary Aston Martin. Further south, in Sicily, the success of Inspector Montalbano’s locations continues, having relaunched not only the Punta Secca sea, home to the detective’s legendary beach house, but the entire Val di Noto and its Baroque treasures.
In the south, any film location tour will take in Naples of course, made famous by icons such as Totò, the De Filippo family, Sofia Loren and Massimo Troisi and chosen by great directors as the setting for their stories. From Paolo Sorrentino to Mario Martone and Ferzan Özpetek and, going further back, Vittorio De Sica, Dino Risi, Francesco Rosi and Lina Wertmüller, to name but a few, there is no corner of the city that hasn’t been captured on film.
Travelling back up the peninsula, Lazio has always been a tourist destination for those choosing to explore the wonders of Rome – which is hosting the Festa del Cinema – from a different viewpoint, taking in the roads travelled by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn on a Vespa in Roman Holiday for example, or seeking out the original neorealist settings used in Rome, open city or Bicycle Thieves. The latest trend is to anticipate the release of a film. In coming weeks it is the turn of Mission Impossible 7 with Tom Cruise, who is caught up in car chases, crashes and even the (staged) stealing of police motorcycles around the Colosseum, the Imperial Forum and Via Nazionale.
George Clooney’s appeal still brings the tourists flocking to Lake Como while Crema and Bergamo are the destinations of choice for fans of the cult film Call Me by Your Name by Luca Guadagnino, who previously showcased Milan in I am love. In Crema, in particular, just a few months after its release, the nostalgic 80s vibe of the film had already led to an unexpected boom in visitors. The first seven months of 2018 saw more than 7000 visitors, exceeding the 2017 total of 6335, to the extent that new services were introduced for the cinema tourists, such as a new audio guide to the city and surrounding area and a bicycle and tandem bike rental service.
Cinema is an irreplaceable tool for the promotion of tourism then, not only for the best-known spots but also, and especially, for those hidden corners of the Bel Paese, so varied and rich in treasures, whether cultural, architectonic or panoramic. Italy already has a tool with which to learn about the locations of our favourites films and series, the national portal for cinematographic and audiovisual production incentives and locations known as Italy for Movies (www.italyformovies.it), coordinated by the Directorate-General of Cinema and Audiovisual of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBACT) and managed by the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà in collaboration with the Italian Film Commissions. Offering information sheets that outline the film locations and themed itineraries, the portal, and related Italy for Movies app (https://www.italyformovies.it/app-page.php), available on Google Play and Apple Store, provides inspiration for travel to some of the most iconic cinematic locations.
To learn how best to promote the opportunities of cinema and video tourism, trade visitors (and travellers) will meet at the 41st edition of BIT, the International Travel Exhibition organised by Fiera Milano, taking place at fieramilanocity from 7 to 9 February 2021.
For updated information: www.bit.fieramilano.it/en, @BitMilano.
Armie Hammer e Timothée Chalamet, Piazza Duomo, Crema (CR). Film “Chiamami col tuo nome”. Copyright: Warner Bros.