Film locations in Italy: “Under the Tuscan Sun”

Mara Noveni | Live the World

May 29, 2024

In the heart of enchanting Italy, there is a place surrounded by a magical and enveloping aura, a mosaic of picturesque landscapes and seductive atmospheres. Another story of the series Film Locations in Italy is "Under the Tuscan Sun" set here in Tuscany. Here the film came to life, taking its viewers on an exciting journey through the Tuscan lands.

Tuscany, famous for its timeless beauty, reveals itself as the perfect set for a story of rebirth and self-discovery. With its rolling hills, lush vineyards and sunflower fields in the blue sky, the region embodies simple elegance and deep cultural richness.

© iStock / ClaudioVentrella

From Florence, the city of art and history, with its masterpieces such as the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, to the charming medieval streets of Siena, where time seems to stand still, every corner of Tuscany reveals timeless beauty. The hilltop villages of San Gimignano and Montepulciano fascinate with their towers and welcoming squares, while the Val d'Orcia, with its rolling hills and lined cypresses, offers a sight that touches the soul.

The film "Under the Tuscan Sun" takes place among these breathtaking sceneries. Released in the cinemas in 2003, the film was very successful and was also nominated for a Golden Globe. The story is inspired by the homonymous novel by Frances Mayes and tells of a woman in search of a new life, of the continuous struggle between mind and heart, old and new. The walls of ancient villas and the panoramic views of the vineyards become the stage for fascinating adventures and surprising encounters, while the warmth of the local inhabitants and the aroma of good Tuscan food mix to create an unforgettable atmosphere.

Through its enchanting places, "Under the Tuscan Sun" captures the essence of this extraordinary region, with a fusion of tradition and modernity, past and present. It is an invitation to immerse yourself in the wonders of Tuscany, to explore its beauty and to be inspired by its romantic atmosphere. Get ready to walk the paths of this magical land, breathe the air steeped in history and discover the hidden wonders of the places where the film "Under the Tuscan Sun" was filmed.

© iStock / Antonio Gravante

The plot of the movie

The protagonist of the book and the film is Frances, a depressed writer from San Francisco who tries to get her life back together after a troubled separation. To help her overcome this bad phase of her life, her friend Patti gives her a ten-day trip to Tuscany. In this romantic sun-kissed land, Frances will find herself and decide to change her life. The centre of everything will be the Villa Bramasole, an abandoned farmhouse from the 19th century, bought by Frances to be renovated.

© The New Yorker

Directed by Audrey Wells, the film focuses on the figure of its protagonist Frances, played by the excellent Diane Lane. Together with her on the set we also find a face already known in the Grey's Anatomy series, Sandra Oh, in the role of her friend Patti, and the very good and beautiful Italian actor Raoul Bova, who plays Marcello. It is a mixed cast, as well as the Italian-American production of the film, which worked in the location where the film is set to make "Under the Tuscan Sun".

The locations of the film

The film was shot in Tuscany and its countryside. In particular, the main location is the city of Cortona, a historic town about 30 km from Arezzo. In the film we see above all the historic centre of Cortona, even if some of the exterior scenes were shot in the beautiful countryside of Montepulciano, in Val d'Orcia, in the splendid province of Siena; however, other scenarios in the film also concern Rome and Positano, a city on the Amalfi Coast.


Most of the scenes shot in Cortona were shot between Piazza Signorelli and the interiors of a villa. But, for the sake of clarity, we must say that Villa Bramasole is the villa where the book was set, actually owned by the writer, where she spends at least 5-6 months a year. But, there is another villa, Villa Laura, where the film was actually filmed, which is currently a holiday villa and can be rented, and is just a few minutes drive from Cortona.

© Airbnb / unknown

Therefore, Piazza Signorelli is the central place on which the plot of the film unfolds; in fact, one of the main scenes of the film is the scene of the fountain, even if the fountain does not actually exist and was added only for the shooting of the film. The bank where Mrs Raguzzi (the Italian actress Claudia Gerini) works is also in Piazza Signorelli.

© iStock / poludziber

In Piazza della Repubblica the film crew filled the square to shoot the market scene, in the past this square was the city's Roman forum, and in the film it is where Diane Lane shops at the open-air market. Above the square is the Town Hall, a beautiful 12th-century structure in Romanesque style, with the picturesque Clock Tower. This glimpse is also seen in the film. The street where the protagonist attends a religious procession is via Santa Margherita.

© iStock / Will Perrett


We change scenery and move to Montepulciano, a location chosen by many directors because it is perfect for beautiful film shoots. The square where the protagonist watches the flag-waving parade is Piazza Grande, the main square of Montepulciano. The church in which she married Pavel is the magnificent Temple of San Biagio, a majestic building located in Viale della Rimembranza, just outside the historic centre of Montepulciano.

© iStock / MartinM303

The roads travelled by the tourist bus on which the protagonist arrives in Italy are the Provincial Road 88 near Montepulciano; the Road 146 of Chianciano, still near Montepulciano; the Via delle Farine and Via di Piana, in the centre of Montepulciano.


Some main scenes of the film were shot in Rome, such as the place of the first chance meeting between Francis and Marcello, his future lover. It is located in via dei Coronari, on the corner of Vicolo di Monte Vecchio, very close to the famous Piazza Navona. The place where Francis is annoyed by some boys is instead located in via dei Cappellari (the scene in the film takes up no. 45), the street connecting Campo de' Fiori to Via del Pellegrino.

© Google Maps


Few scenes in the film concern the town of Positano, on the Amalfi Coast, where Marcello's house is located. In reality, it is the California Hotel, which is located in Via Colombo n. 141.

© Google Maps

A trek to discover Villa Bramasole

The itinerary for a walk to reach Villa Bramasole starts from the historic centre of Cortona. In particular, from Piazza della Repubblica continue on foot along Via Nazionale, towards Piazza Garibaldi. Here, on the right, you can admire the breathtaking view that the panorama of Valdichiana offers. Continue the walk towards Parco del Parterre, where the dirt road begins. Go past the fountain and continue for about 20' to the end of the avenue. Go around the Tennis Club, and then the road will be paved again, on Viale Passerini. Continue walking for another 20' and at some point, after a long straight line, there will be a series of bends. Here, in the shadows, on the left, we begin to see the silhouette of Villa Bramasole.

The villa can also be reached by car: take the road leading to the Torreone, from here turn right towards the Church of S. Margherita and, where the road splits into three and there is a small refreshment bar, take the road downhill to the left. After about 500 m. you will find Villa Bramasole on the right.

© Cortona Mia

Experiences not to be missed in Cortona

To deepen your knowledge of the culture, history and traditions of this splendid Tuscan city, I recommend you book a 3-Hour Private Walking Tour with a professional guide, who will inform you about the history and secrets of the area, to discover the historic centre, the museums and the most important historical buildings.

© Get Your Guide / unknown

Another unforgettable experience I suggest trying is a Valdichiana Guided eBike Tour + option wine tasting. The tour, lasting 5 hours, includes the rental of an ecological e-bike with an expert guide, to discover the splendid Tuscan countryside, between Cortona and Montepulciano. On the way back, a stop will be made at a farm and a local winery, for a light lunch and a tasting of excellent Tuscan wines, to be paid directly to the cellar.

© Get Your Guide

And, if you want to catapult yourself into the romantic atmosphere of other times, discover Tuscany driving a fascinating vintage vehicle, and book a Drive Vintage Vehicle with Audio Guide: your audio guide will provide you with all the historical information on the places you pass through, outside the usual tourist routes, driving a vehicle that has entered history.

© Get Your Guide

Ultimately, Cortona is a timeless destination that enchants visitors with its picturesque beauty, rich history and authentic warmth. Reliving scenes from the film "Under the Tuscan Sun" here is a magical experience that will transport you to a world of romance and discovery.

Walking through its cobbled streets, admiring the frescoes of the ancient churches and savouring the traditional dishes of Tuscan cuisine, you will feel part of a story that is revealed before your eyes. The green hills, golden fields and vineyards surrounding the city create a breathtaking landscape that will make you feel as if you have stepped into a painting.

© iStock / font83

Finally, the panorama from the top of the city will leave you breathless. The panoramic view of the Tuscan hills, the surrounding lakes and the valley below is simply impressive. It is the ideal place to enjoy a romantic sunset or to reflect on the beauties that Cortona has to offer.

So, if you want to discover another of the Film locations in Italy: "Under the Tuscan Sun" and live an unforgettable experience, I invite you to visit Cortona. Let yourself be enchanted by its medieval streets, its timeless charm and its Tuscan authenticity. Here, the dream comes true and the movie scenes come to life. Come to Cortona and find out why this city has inspired and continues to inspire so many hearts in love from all over the world... Enjoy!

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