Venice, Italy is one of the most fascinating, romantic and architecturally beautiful cities in the world. No wonder its famous canals, grand Palaces and piazza’s have fuelled the imagination of filmmakers. The world’s oldest Film Festival is held on the Lido, the tiny strip of land that protects Venice from the Adriatic Sea. The 69th Venice Biennale –kicks off the International Film Festival scene.
To celebrate this year’s Venice Film Festival, myETVmedia takes you to some of the locations that have captured the magic of Venice on film.
Piazza San Marco
Our journey begins at the magnificent Piazza San Marco, immortalized in film many times. Kate Hepburn’s 1955 portrayal of Jane, the single, middle-aged schoolteacher, fulfilling her lifelong dream of a summer vacation in Venice was groundbreaking. Director David Lean convinced officials to allow filming during the height of the tourist season with a large contribution by United Artists to the restoration of Basilica San Marco. The critically acclaimed film Summertime was notoriously plagued by rating challenges for its depiction of adultery. The love scene where Jane and Renato (Renato de Rossi) consummate their romance had to be deleted. Hepburn had no stunt double during filming of the scene at Renato’sshop where she falls into the canal. She contracted conjunctivitis that plagued her the rest of her life. Though dated, the film remains extraordinary.
Café Florian, Grande Canal
Piazza San Marco is named after the stunning Basilica San Marco. The square is bordered by buildings dating to the 12th and 16th centuries that were originally for the powerful elite of Venice. Referred to as “the drawing room of Europe“, the Basilica’s clock tower, Campanile di San Marco and the Column of San Marco topped with the winged lion are international landmarks.
Café Florian, tucked on one side of Piazza San Marco is Italy’s oldest café. It was at Café Florian that Marg (Gwyneth Paltrow) reveals her suspicions about Tom Ripley in the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley. The award-winning movie starring Matt Damon and Jude Law (Dickie) also features several other locations in Venice including the hotel the Westin Europa e Regina on the Grand Canal where Ripley meets Dickie’s father.
Palazzo Ducale, Bridge of Sighs, Carnivale
San Marco Square is the location for the opening heist scene in The Italian Job (2003) with high-speed chase scenes filmed along the canals. The film starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton and Donald Sutherland won multiple awards and introduced the Mini to the world. Casanova (2005), a romantic comedy starring Heath Ledger is based loosely on the life of Giacomo Casanova. The legendary lover Casanova is one of the few prisoners credited with escaping the Doge’s (Palazzo Ducale) famous prisons. The romance of a name is deceptive. Interogation chambers in The Doge’s Palace are connected to the Prigioni by the infamous footbridge know as the Bridge of Sighs. The movie also celebrates Venice’s infamous Carnivale.