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Movies in San Gimignano

San Gimignano with its magnificent towers is a fairytale location for unforgettable movies. Sinuous hills, solemn cypresses and valleys as far as the eye can see draw the profile of the Val d'Orcia, which with San Gimignano has been the set of various movies shot in the past decades and in recent years.

The first one shot in San Gimignano, by Marcel L'Herbier, was a film adaptation of Pirandello's novella "Il fu Mattia Pascal". It was 1925 and the movie inaugurated the long love story between this village in the Val d'Orcia and the cinema, which will make it its fascinating location for over 30 films.

Notable among these is Henry King's “Prince of Foxes” (1949), starring Orson Welles as Cesare Borgia and Tyrone Power as Andrea Orsini. The photography, curated by Leon Shamroy, masterfully captures the unique nature of the medieval alleys of San Gimignano, traversed by the two protagonists.

Great Italian movies 

Some of the most famous Italian directors chose San Gimignano for their movies. In 1971 Franco Zeffirelli set his "Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna" in the medieval village, a very successful reinterpretation of the figure of Francis of Assisi. The director was so enchanted by the atmosphere of San Gimignano that he shot another very famous film there: " Un tè con Mussolini", which tells how a group of English women who love culture defended the city's treasures from the fury of the Germans, eager to raze the tall medieval towers to the ground.

Roberto Rossellini chose San Gimignano for "L’età di Cosimo dei Medici" in 1973, narrating the life of Cosimo and the rise of Medici, who became the Lords of Florence during the Renaissance and one of the most powerful families in Italy. In 1979 the brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani set their "Il Prato" in San Gimignano, as a romantic stage for the passion between Eugenia (Isabella Rossellini) and Enzo (Michele Placido).

Walt Disney in San Gimignano

Not only Italian directors have been captivated by the historic charm of San Gimignano: many international artists chose the Tuscan village as a set for their movies. Sergej Bondarciuk shot "Mexico in Flames" there, starring Franco Nero and Ursula Andress, in 1981.

A special mention goes to Walt Disney, who has a particular love for San Gimignano, so much so that two recent films are set there. The first, in 2018, is Artemis Fowl, a fantasy directed by Kenneth Branagh, whose screenplay is signed by Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl. The story, based on the saga written by Eoin Colfer, narrates the adventures of a young criminal mastermind and his gang, who come across fantastic characters such as trolls, elves, fairies and goblins.

The latest Disney production at San Gimignano is Rosaline, dated 2022. For the entire duration of filming, the village remained armored to allow the best possible outcome of the project. Directed by Karen Mailen, Rosaline revisits the famous love of Romeo or Juliet, with a different interpretation in the gaze of the protagonist, Juliet's cousin and Romeo's former girlfriend. The movie is inspired by the novel by Rebecca Serle, which transports the Shakespearean tragedy into the contemporary era. Unlike the book, however, the Disney movie is set in the Renaissance period, finding its natural location in San Gimignano.

Watch the most famous movies born in San Gimignano and fall in love with the Val d'Orcia with a stay at the Hotel Casolare Terre Rosse.

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