Abruzzo’s variety of landscapes makes it the perfect film set. Over the course of the years, many Abruzzo areas have been used as film sets. Let’s take a look together.
Have you heard of Ladyhawke, the American medieval fantasy film (1985) directed and produced by Richard Donner and starring the late Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Broderick?
The story is about a young thief who unwillingly gets involved with a warrior and his lady that are hunted by the Bishop of Aquila. As he comes to know about the couple’s past and secret, he finds himself determined to help them overcome the Bishop’s oppressions.
The breathtaking scenery features Rocca Calascio in the Province of l’Aquila in Abruzzo. This is the highest fortress in the Appenines at 1,460 metres (4,790 ft). Construction of the fortress started in the tenth century as a single watchtower. A walled courtyard with four cylindrical towers at the corners around a taller inner tower was added in the thirteenth century. The lower half of the fortress is built with distinctively larger stones than its upper half. It is believed that this feature was to make its base impenetrable to invaders.
The Name of the Rose (1986)
Who hasn’t heard of the film The Name of the Rose (1986) based on the novel written by Umberto Eco? It is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327; an intellectual mystery combining semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory.
The novel has sold over 50 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling books ever published. Sean Connery stars as the crime-solving medieval monk and Christian Slater is his apprentice. Again Rocca Calascio was one of the shooting locations of the film and perfect for creating a magical and mysterious atmosphere.
Rocca Calascio, named by the National Geographic as one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, lies within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Lago National Park and alongside the high plain of Campo Imperatore.
The American (2010)
Another more recent film that shows great footage of Abruzzo is The American (2010), an American action thriller film directed by Anton Corbijn and starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido, Irina Björklund and Paolo Bonacelli. The Rowan Joffé screenplay is an adaptation of the 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth.
Filming took place in several amazing places:
- in Castel del Monte (meaning “fortress of the mountain”)
- In the town of Sulmona. The Roman poet Ovid was born in the city. Sulmona is also he home of the Italian confectionery known as confetti. These are sugar-coated almonds and are traditionally given to friends and relatives on weddings and other special occasions.
Confetti can be eaten or simply used as decoration. The local artisans also colour these candies and craft them into flowers and other creations.
- In the medieval cities of Calascio
- Campo imperatore
The film’s “most romantic moment”, according to director Anton Corbijn—when Jack takes Clara to a restaurant of her choice, their “actual date” was filmed at a restaurant in Pacentro, Italy, near Sulmona. Clara orders Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine for the dinner, and Corbijn said the film’s company enjoyed many of the fine wines of the region during the months of production there.
It is no wonder why film makers have chosen Abruzzo as backdrop to their films. Breathtaking scenery, picturesque villages and authentic images of Italy!
And you? Are you ready to film your own personal story in beautiful Abruzzo?