On This Day: ‘La Dolce Vita’ Wins the Cannes Film Festival

Fifty-five years ago today—May 20, 1960—Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Watch “Three Reasons” why this film remains a classic.

For more details on where “La Dolce Vita” was filmed, explore this list of Fellini’s film locations from Rome and Rimini.

Surf Italiano

Two films about surfing in Italy have come across my inbox in the past week.


The first video is Peninsula, a documentary about surf beginnings in Italy. On the occasion of the film’s debut in Milan this week, Corriere della Sera tells the story (in Italian) of Alessandro Dini and his friends who introduced surfing — both the sport and the lifestyle — to the Italian peninsula. The film will begin a world tour after its showing in Milan, so look for it at your local indie theater in the coming months.

PENINSULA from BLOCK10 on Vimeo.

Bella Vita

Bella Vita is a video about American surfer, artist, and environmentalist Chris del Moro who goes to Italy to reconnect with his ancestral homeland, his family, and tasty waves. This film came out in 2013 but it seems to be making the rounds now that it has received several film festival awards, such as the Official Selection for the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2013 and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014.

Woody Allen’s Movie About Rome To Be Released April 20

Love Locks on Rome's Ponte Milvio
Love Locks on Rome's Ponte Milvio

Today, Italian distributors of Woody Allen’s long-awaited film about Rome announced that it will be called “To Rome With Love.” Until now, the film has operated under the working titles of “Bop Decameron” and “Nero Fiddled.” I personally think that Allen and/or his producers went with the right choice, picking something more basic. The film is supposed to be a modern-day take on Boccaccio’s “The Decameron,” according to the ANSA news service. (As of this writing, IMDB still reports that the title is “Nero Fiddled.”)

“To Rome With Love” is to be released on April 20 and will include star turns from an amazing cast that includes Penelope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, and Italian actress Ornella Muti. Woody Allen will also appear in front of the camera in this film. He’s listed near the top of the cast in the IMDB profile, which indicates that he may be one of the main characters.

If “Midnight in Paris,” which was Allen’s celluloid love letter to Paris the way “Manhattan” was his homage to NYC, is any indication of how this film will be presented, I simply cannot wait until it is released. While most, if not all, of the landmarks that will be featured on-screen in “To Rome With Love” will be familiar, Allen will certainly figure out a way to bring out the best in them. The film was shot in Rome and at the famed Cinecittà Studios in the outskirts of Rome during the summer of 2011.

Photo Flickr/Zingaro

Vampires in Volterra

New Moon Fever in Volterra
New Moon Fever in Volterra

The windswept, medieval Tuscan town of Volterra has been in the news a lot lately, thanks to the hype surrounding New Moon, the second book in the teenage vampire series Twilight. Author Stephenie Meyer set a scene between Bella, the heroine, and Edward, her undead lover, in Volterra. And now this small town in western Tuscany has become a tourist attraction.

Volterra has never really been much of a Tuscan hotspot, being highly overshadowed by Pisa, the capital of its province. Now, according to USA Today, wide-eyed, vampire-loving tourists are coming to Volterra to take the New Moon tour. USA Today has provided a photo slideshow of the tour.

Want to know what else to do in Volterra? Visit the Official Volterra Tourism Website. Here you can learn about Volterra’s museums, including the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, which showcases the history and artifacts from Volterra’s ancient past. Maybe Edward was Etruscan? I don’t know – you’ll have to read the book!

Or see the movie. The film version of New Moon comes out on November 20.

Photo from USA Today

Italy at Home: Renaissance Rivals in Boston and Valentino Everywhere

No time or money to plan an Italy vacation right now? Here’s another installment of what we call “Italy at Home.” Here are two things you can put on your calendar.

If you’re in Boston, head to the Museum of Fine Arts where the show “Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice” is underway. A recent review by Holland Cotter of the New York Times said “You can pretty much kiss goodbye, at least for now, the prospect of more exhibitions like [this one]. Transatlantic loans of the kind that make this show the breathtaker it is are a big drain on strapped museum budgets. Boston was lucky to partner with the Louvre on this project, but such masterpiece gatherings are likely to be rare in years to come.” The exhibit runs through August 16. Get your tickets now.

Another Italy-related show may be coming to a theater near you beginning March 18. Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary about legendary fashion designer Valentino Garavani played to huge audiences at various film festivals (Venice, Toronto) all last fall. Cinemas in New York will begin screenings on the 18th, followed by Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. You can follow the film on its own Facebook page to see if more dates are added.