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Cinematic stroll through Campania of today

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Classic Hollywood movies of the 1950s and 1960s shaped our early view of southern Italy both as a destination full of love and passion and as a sinister, dark hotbed of corruption.  Yet, in the 1990s, filmmakers explored the more colorful side of Campania, often making its lush scenery as much a part of the plot as the characters themselves.

cinematic stroll through campania of today

Il Postino (1994) – This light-hearted love story tells the tale of Mario (Massimo Troisi), a local postman who supposedly lives on the island of Capri, where noted poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) wrote some of his most romantic verses.  Funny thing though……the movie was actually filmed on the tiny island of Procida, pretending to be its more glamorous neighbor to the south.  At only 4 km long, Procida is a little gem off the coast of Naples. Fishing is its mainstay and its rugged coast and rocky beaches are displayed prominently as Mario ponders how to express his love to Beatrice.  Today, the red-painted post office in the movie stands brightly in La Piazza dei Martiri and La Taverna del Postino, where Mario pined away for his love, is still open at the water’s edge of Marina di Corricella.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) – Procida also played host to the filming of this thriller starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law, along with its larger island neighbor Ischia. Law’s and Paltrow’s characters vacation at the small fictional resort of Mongibello which is mainly Procida with a bit of Ischia tossed in for good measure.  Damon, who stalks after them, arrives in Mongibello, exiting a bus actually in Ischia Porto. The film finds Damon riding his scooter down the narrow, colorful Via San Rocco with its cotton-candy-colored houses, eventually leading to the sun-flowered yellow church of Madonna della Grazie.

Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom Menace (1999) – The Royal Palace at Caserta, about 15 miles north of Naples masquerades in this film as Queen Amidala’s Palace on Naboo.  The Royal Palace is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Construction began in 1752 for Charles VII of Naples but he abdicated before its completion.  Its 1200 rooms were finished in 1780 and its design was said to be fashioned after the Palace at Versailles.

Campania’s colorful history and lush surroundings continue to offer filmmakers ideal shooting locations well into the 21st century.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer lisa fantino

Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist-turned attorney and nearly fanatical vagabond. Her passport is always at the ready!


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