I don’t know about you but I often fall in love with a location that I’ve seen in a film and want to take a movie location vacation there as a result. Venice, Italy is one of those places I've seen in films for a long time and I decided to place it at the top of my movie location vacation bucket list several years ago. I knew I could not live a full and complete life unless I wandered through the city streets and floated on the canals of Venice. Now, I'm so glad I made it a priority to experience that famous sinking city.
I made the journey in late October of 2009 and flew to Venice from Los Angeles. I had found an incredible travel deal on a Mediterranean cruise on RCCL's Voyager of the Seas out of Barcelona through my discount travel club and decided to fly into Venice before the cruise for a few days. October is a great time to visit Europe since the weather is perfect and the streets are not packed with tourists (one of the big complaints I hear from people who visit Venice in the Summer).
Sometimes a movie may not be all that great, but the locations are phenomenal and so I continue watching because it's like a virtual movie location vacation. For example, I was really looking forward to seeing the movie Under the Tuscan Sun but it was fairly clear to me about 15 minutes into the film that it was not a great movie (though many may disagree). However, I was determined not to be disappointed since I was so eager to see the film I purchased an opening day ticket. So I just sat back in my theater seat, enjoyed the Italian countryside and stepped off the bus with Diane Lane into Tuscany, Italy via the silver screen. I soaked up every nook and cranny of the stunning settings.
I also love movies of intrigue, espionage and romance, plus a good caper flick and there are several shot in Venice where the city is featured in the movie. Here are some of those movies that either inspired me to travel to Venice, Italy, for my movie location vacation or help me to relive memories of my trip of a lifetime and yearn to return to.
The Movie: The Tourist
The Premise: American tourist Frank, played by Johnny Depp, meets a mysterious beauty played by Angelina Jolie who drags him into a dangerous world of intrigue and espionage while traveling through Europe to Venice, Italy in this suspenseful thriller.
For some reason, critics panned this movie and we all know how Ricky Gervais feels about it, but I thought it was very entertaining. Maybe because I happen to like Angelina Jolie movies or that I just loved it as a movie location vacation idea.
The Movie: Casanova
The Premise: The late Heath Ledger plays the fabled romantic, Casanova, in this movie about a man who, after failing to win the affection of a particular Venetian woman, strives to discover the true meaning of love.
When I was taking a ride in a gondola in the canals of Venice, Italy, my gondolier, Ricardo, pointed out many of the movie locations used in this movie.
The Movie: Italian Job
The Premise: In Venice, Italy, a team of expert thieves led by stars Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg pull a daring heist of 35 million dollars in bars of gold. One of the thieves betrays his companions and swipes the gold for himself. One year later, in Los Angeles, the surviving team members create a smart and devious plan to steal back the gold and get their revenge on the traitor.
The Venice scenes in this movie are phenomenal. The original film was also shot on location in Italy with Michael Caine and worth watching as well.
The Movie: Casino Royal
The Premise: In his first mission, James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, must stop Le Chiffre, a banker to the world's terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro (but the actual filming location was the Villa del Balbianelloin at Lake Cuomo).
This film was shot on location at many awesome places around the world including the Bahamas, United Kingdom, and Italy, but the scenes shot in Venice, Italy are very memorable. Casino Royale also my favorite Bond film and Daniel Craig is my favorite "Bond."
The Movie: The Wings of the Dove
The Premise: An impoverished woman, played by Helena Bonham Carter, who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without. Based on the book by Henry Jamees.
I recently watched this movie on Netflix Watch Instantly and chose it because it took place in Venice. The film takes some dark twists but it is unique because it's a period story shot on location in Venice, Italy.
The Movie: The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Premise: This thriller shot on location in Italy is based on Patricia Highsmith's novel and stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a young New Yorker who is hired by a tycoon to persuade his son, played by Jude Law, to leave his Italian villa and return to America.
This movie is very dark and was shot on location in Italy with some very memorable scenes shot in Venice.
Have you visited Venice as a result of watching a movie or do have your own favorite movie location vacation spot? Tell me all about your movie location vacation adventure!
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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer
For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more