The Roman Streets of Cinema

Rome is not only the capital of Italy and the capital of the Lazio region. It is not only the Eternal City and the cradle of the Roman Empire. Rome is a city that is the protagonist of a story that has lasted thousands of years. A story that the city has continued to write in recent years with a new language: that of cinema. From the post-war period onwards, with neorealist cinema and later with Italian comedy, Rome has become a real open-air cinema set, thanks also to its low-cost during the economic boom which attracted American productions and helped make Cinecittà one of the most important studios in the world.

Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

If it is true that all roads lead to Rome, it is equally true that all the streets of Rome lead to a film. In fact, there are many glimpses of the capital used in important films, directed by equally famous directors. Paolo Sorrentino, for example, has dedicated an entire film entitled The Great Beauty. In his fountains Fellini set one of the most unforgettable scenes of Italian cinema. Rossellini portrayed it as semi-destroyed city by the war in Roma Città Aperta, Tom Hanks was all over the city in Angels and Demons, and even Woody Allen, in recent years, dedicated a love note to this city in his film.

The Trevi Fountain

Photo by Hill

Inside the Trevi Fountain, Anita Ekberg cries “Marcello” in La Dolce Vita, directed by Federico Fellini, in a scene that has become iconic for audiences all over the world. Today it is possible to walk along Via del Tritone, one of the most important streets, which connects Piazza Barberini with Via Del Corso, not far from the famous Via Condotti where the shops of the biggest brands are located. You can also choose to climb towards the intersection of the Quattro Fontane, which owes its name to the presence of the four fountains built by Borromini.

Piazza Trevi, where the famous fountain is located, is halfway around and to reach it you just have to lean in and listen to the shouting of the crowd that spreads throughout the streets. The fountain, built by Nicola Salvi in ​​1732, is in fact one of the symbols of the capital of Italy, visited without interruption day and night by tourists from all over the world, who come here to admire the beauty of neoclassical art.

The Mouth of Truth

Photo by Phyrexian

Made immortal by the cinematic masterpiece Roman Holiday, directed by William Wyler and scripted by a Dalton Trumbo in disguise, the mouth of truth is still one of the most popular and visited tourist attractions in the city of Rome. Today it can be visited in the beautiful pronaos of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where it has been installed since 1632. The monument, made of marble, depicts the god Oceano and it seems that in ancient times the sculpture was probably used as a manhole, as in ancient Rome recollection of river deities were often depicted on these objects.

The mouth of Truth has been immortalized in the American comedy mentioned earlier. In the film, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck go there when they are still at the beginning of their relationship and have not been honest with each other. In this way, who inserts his hand in his big mouth is forced to deal with both truth and lies.


Photo by JRibaX

Nomen omen. The city of cinema, in name and in fact. Located in Southern Rome, Cinecittà is a complex of film and television studios of enormous proportions, where some of the greatest international productions have been filmed. Here, Italian classics as well as legendary sequences of the western genre were filmed. Some sets were the background to masterpieces such as Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese, and in more recent years the ancient capital of the Roman Empire was rebuilt for stage needs in the well-known TV series, Rome.

Today Cinecittà has much lower numbers than about tens years ago, when in the economic boom it was one of the most important studios in the world. However, it is also one of the most interesting museums to discover, to walk in the footsteps of the great actors who have worked there. The walk to get there, in perfect Los Angeles style, illuminates Via Tuscolana with a walk of fame with stars drawn on the ground, signed by the actors.

The Tevere River

The river that crosses the city, at the origin of its commercial success in ancient times, is still today one of the most beloved natural spectacles of the entire city, which bathes the shores of the Tiber Island and crosses throughout the city and the historical center. On the banks of the Tiber, such films as Great Beauty, the latest James Bond 007: Spectre film, Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts as a protagonist were filmed.

The Tiber river, much loved by the Romans, is also present in the mythology and legends surrounding the foundation of the city. According to the myth, in fact, Romulus and Remus were hidden in a basket and entrusted to the current of the Tiber river, which transported them in the current location of the city, under a fig tree not far from the banks. A she-wolf came down from the mountains to drink, heard their wails and began to feed them. If this is not cinema, it is certainly the beginning of a great story: that of the Eternal City.

Via Veneto

Photo by Mauro Codella

The winding road that unravels from Piazza Barberini up to the Villa Borghese park is certainly one of the most famous locations in the world, even by those who have not seen Fellini’s films. This is because in the sixties, Via Veneto was the center of the Roman nightlife, crowded with journalists, singers, foreign models, writers, actors, and directors.

At the time, Via Veneto had become the place to be seen, including at the famous spot Doney with always crowded tables with foreign tourists, as well as the Excelsior Hotel, just a few steps away. The street designed and built at the end of the 1800s in place of Villa Ludovisi was narrated in a masterly manner in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, an accomplice to an intuition by the writer Ennio Flaiano, who in an attempt to transfigure it cinematically suggested that the director describe it with an almost maritime atmosphere, with a lazy seaside pace where you sip on an aperitif caressed by the sunset breeze, in a setting where time seems to have stopped.

The Pigneto area

The Pigneto area is one of the districts of Rome, located in the east just a few minutes from Piazza San Lorenzo, frequented by native Romans and young students. On its streets, more precisely in front of a building on Via Raimondo Montecuccoli, Rossellini shot one of the most exciting scenes of all Italian neorealism. We are talking about Roma Città Aperta, the film that marked the beginning of the Italian film renaissance and the foundation of neorealism. The scene in question refers to the dramatic sequence in which Pia, played by Anna Magnani, falls under the blows of the German army in an attempt to pursue the truck on which her husband travels.

Also in the Pigneto area, on the street that houses Fanfulla da Lodi, a very famous spot amongst young people in the area, Pier Paolo Pasolini set some key scenes of Accattone, a film from 1961. Right in the Pigneto, there is still the Necci bar, a trattoria where the director used to sit down and that today offers traditional Roman dishes, reinterpreted in a modern way.