40 of My Favorite Movies Set In Italy

One: Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons was released in 2009, following The Da Vinci Code, and these two movies are among my favorite, they don’t just push your adrenaline but also move your mind. When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome to warn the Vatican, the Illuminati’s most hated enemy. Joining forces with beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, Langdon follows a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols in the hope of preventing the Illuminati’s deadly plot against the Roman Catholic Church from coming to fruition.

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Two: Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love was released in 2010 starring Julia Roberts who plays Liz Gilbert who thought she had everything she wanted in life: a home, a husband and a successful career. Now newly divorced and facing a turning point, she finds that she is confused about what is important to her. Daring to step out of her comfort zone, Liz embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. I love the need of faith in Liz, her need to feel full but not by another human. This story keeps growing on me as I get older.

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Three: House of Versace

House of Versace was released in 2013 starring the talented and funny Gina Gershon. After the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace, his sister Donatella tries to carry on his legacy. Though if I may so say myself, she did more than carry his legacy, she changed it for the best, Donatella is very talented and strong and she knows what women want.

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Four: Just Married

Just married was released in 2003, I was in eleventh grade and I thought I would never watch a funnier cuiter movie. It starred the beautiful Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher as Tom and Sarah; two lovebirds from different worlds. He’s an average guy with a fondness for beer who works a low-level job, while she’s an aspiring writer from a wealthy and cultured family. The disapproval of family and friends doesn’t prevent the pair from marrying, but their disastrous honeymoon in Italy, with an unwelcome appearance by Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, Peter, nearly succeeds in tearing them apart.

It’s super funny, my idea of the honeymoon and wedding from hell!

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Five: Letters to Juliet

Letters to Juliet was released in 2010 and even after 5 years I still LOVE this movie. While visiting Verona, Italy, with her busy fiance, a young woman named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet Capulet. Finding one such letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write to its now elderly author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave). Inspired by Sophie’s actions, Claire sets out to find her long-lost lover, accompanied by her disapproving grandson (Christopher Egan) and Sophie. It’s beautiful, the movie is set in warm Italy, and the whole story is filled with love, pasta and words.

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Six: Only You

Only you was released in 1994, it starred the cute Marisa Tomei, and the drop-dead-gorgeous Robert Downey Jr., a childhood incident has convinced Faith Corvatch that her true love is a guy named “Damon Bradley,” but she has yet to meet him. Preparing to settle down and marry a foot doctor, Faith impulsively flies to Venice when it seems that she may be able to finally encounter the man of her dreams. Instead, she meets the charming Peter Wright. But can they fall in love if she still believes that she is intended to be with someone else?

Ugh! I love love love this movie! It’s funny, heartwarming, cute, romantic and unpredictable! I highly recommend it, I watch it more times than I care to admit.

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Seven: Shadows In The Sun

Shadows in the Sun was released in 2005 a year after I graduated high school, starring Joshua Jackson and Claire Forlani. The story beings when a London-based editor Jeremy Taylor travels to Tuscany, Italy, to convince a reclusive author Weldon to write again, but he ends up writing himself and falling for his daughter Isabella Parish. My favorite scene must be when Jeremy and Isabella dance in the piazza to It’s Now or Never.

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Eight: Stealing Beauty

Stealing Beauty was released in 1996 starring the gorgeous Liv Tyler. When she was 15, pretty but callow Lucy Harmon visited the Tuscan town where her mother once enchanted the local male population. Four years later, in the wake of her mother’s suicide, Lucy returns to the village. She plans to write some poetry, learn more about her family history and reunite with a boy she once kissed. Surveying an expansive field of suitors, Lucy finds herself taken with unattainable Alex, as her journey imparts some unexpected lessons about love.

The movie has a surreal sense, the scenes are magical, and Liv is so beautiful; the characters are eccentric and I’ve always imagined going on a summer vacation as a teen like Lucy to live with a group of misfits but it didn’t happen… now I just like watching the movie but not experience it, most of these character would commit suicide in one phase of their fictional lives or another. Still magical.

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Nine: Nine

Nine was released in 2009 and I remember going to the primer and watching it with Hamad; many people hated it because it was a musical, I fell in love… the soundtrack is amazing, the costumes divine, the acting and casting exquisite, and the choreography sexy. The movie is about an Italian film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) grapples with epic crises in his personal and professional lives. At the same time, he must strike a balance of the demands of numerous women in his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penélope Cruz), and his confidant (Judi Dench). My favorite songs and scenes are the one with Penélope Cruz singing and dancing “A Call From The Vatican” and “Be Italian” By Fergie, and finally Kate Hudson rocking “Cinema Italiano”… away from singing I love how Nicole Kidman looks throughout the movie.

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Ten: Under the Tuscan Sun

Under the Tuscan Sun was released in 2003. When Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) learns her husband is cheating on her from a writer whom she gave a bad review, her life is turned upside down. In an attempt to bring her out of a deep depression, her best friend, Patti (Sandra Oh), encourages Frances to take a tour of Italy. During the trip, the new divorcée impulsively decides to purchase a rural Tuscan villa and struggles to start her life anew amid colorful local characters, including the handsome Marcello (Raoul Bova).

The first time I watched this movie, I didn’t like it, but years later, I watched on TV and I cried, and laughed and understood. You see, when you’re young you can’t understand how hard it is to start over, to lose your stability or the person you love, but as you grow older you understand that and it makes you a coward in a way. I find Frances very brave and loving and a true gem, this movie is good for getting over a hard period of time, or breakup or your fear of starting over.

Remember Martini’s wise story between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice. They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.

I could write posts about this movie, I think it’s my favorite on this list. Everything you wish for you’ll get if you work for it, if you make a space for it, and God will surprise you after all your kind deeds, because every test has an end and a result.

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Eleven: When in Rome

When in Rome was released in 2002 when I was in high school and completely obsessed with the Olsen twins. Twin sisters Leila (Ashley) and Charli (Mary-Kate) find adventure in Italy after an international tycoon gives them a summer job, and the story starts when they lose it. I adore these girls and their since of fashion at every age.

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Twelve: When in Rome

When in Rome was released in 2010. Disillusioned with romance, Beth, an ambitious New Yorker (Kristen Bell), travels to Rome, where she plucks magic coins from a special fountain. The coins attract an assortment of odd suitors, including a sausage merchant, a street magician and an artist. But when a persistent reporter (Josh Duhamel) throws his hat in the ring, Beth wonders if his love is the real thing.

I LOVE Josh! He’s super hot and this movie was truly hilarious, romantic and filled with magic… some scenes were so funny that everytime I watch it I still laugh as if for the first time.

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Thirteen: Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary was released in 2014. Trapped in a loveless marriage and desperate for excitement, a doctor’s wife (Mia Wasikowska) seeks love and fulfillment outside the bonds of matrimony.

Truthfully, this movie freaked me out. I found Emma Bovary to be a very evil, selfish and empty woman. She always wanted to get things, never giving back. Her wants and needs were above everyone else’s including her poor husband. Though the fashion and photography were amazing, I found myself detesting the protagonist more with every scene, but I can’t deny it, the story has a moral lesson, maybe more than one about adultery, debts, the difference between lust and love, and many other.

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Fourteen: Return to Me

Return to Me was released in 2000. Heartbroken and struggling emotionally after his wife’s death in a car accident, Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) agrees to go on a blind date set up by his friend Charlie (David Alan Grier). Though the date fizzles, sparks fly between Bob and the waitress, Grace (Minnie Driver), a recovered heart transplant patient with intimacy problems of her own. When Bob discovers Grace’s heart came from his own organ donor wife, an unusual romance blossoms between the two.

I love this movie, I really do, I love the warmth in it, Grace’s Italian family and resturant, her bike and paintings, the simplicity of the story told with a big heart. Such a touching story about hearts, souls, loss, love, dogs, family and second chances.

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Fifteen: Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday was released in 1953. Overwhelmed by her suffocating schedule, touring European princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) takes off for a night while in Rome. When a sedative she took from her doctor kicks in, however, she falls asleep on a park bench and is found by an American reporter, Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck),who takes her back to his apartment for safety. At work the next morning, Joe finds out Ann’s regal identity and bets his editor he can get exclusive interview with her, but romance soon gets in the way.

Have you ever watched Hello! Sandybell? It’s an anime series that I used to watch as a kid but still love, in one of the episodes, Sandybelle and Jimmy her young assistant in Paris and the story of the Roman Holiday movie is reacted.

I loved it immensely that when I became a fan of Audrey Hepburn and discovered the movie it became an instant favorite.

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Sixteen:  A Room With a View

A Room with a View was released before I was born in 1985. In this British drama based on the novel by E.M. Forster, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham-Carter), a young Englishwoman, is touring Italy with her older cousin (Maggie Smith). At a hotel in Florence, Lucy meets the charming and free-spirited George Emerson (Julian Sands). Although intrigued by George, once she’s back in England Lucy ponders settling down with the wealthy, staid Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). When George reappears in her life, Lucy must decide between him and Cecil.

Charlotte was such a nightmare but I loved the movie and the ending was as it’s supposed to be though if I may say so I prefer Daniel Day-Lewis to Julian Sands.

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Seventeen: Enchanted April 

Enchanted April was released in the year my youngest brother was born in 1992. When married British women Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson) and Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) decide to take a break from their respective spouses, they stay at a castle in Italy for a quiet holiday. Joining the ladies is Caroline Dester (Polly Walker), a young socialite, and Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright), an older aristocrat. Liberated from their daily routines, the four women ease into life in rural Italy, and each finds herself transformed by the experience.

Rejuvenation. That’s what this movie makes me feel, I love it and the 20s is such a beautiful era. The costumes, locations and story are beautiful.

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Eighteen: A Good Woman

A Good Woman was released in 2004. Having scorned every member of the New York upper class, the seductive Mrs. Erlynne (Helen Hunt) travels to Amalfi, Italy, hoping to win over a married aristocrat, Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers). When news of their flirting becomes a scandal, Windermere’s innocent wife, Meg (Scarlett Johansson), plots an elaborate revenge, despite her own attraction to the young Lord Darlington (Stephen Campbell Moore). At Meg’s 20th birthday party, all illicit desires come to the surface.

Remarkable plot but a depressing story, at least it makes you think and sheer for the notorious Mrs. Erlynne against her spoiled vindictive daughter.

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Nineteen: Malèna

Malèna was relased in 2000. In 1941, Renato was 13 years old and although the world was at war, nothing ever happened in this sleepy village in Sicily. Until the day he discovered something that would change his life forever… Malèna, the beautiful young war widow who was the obsession of every man and the envy of every woman. Because of her, Renato will come to learn all of life’s lessons and find himself in places he never could have imagined.

Forget how beautiful Malèna Scordia played by Monica Bellucci is, this story is a horrible nightmare, of how society is filled with monsters: lustful men, jealous women, scary children. I hate this story so much and yet when it’s on TV I rewatch it to torture myself I guess.

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Twenty: Tea with Mussolini

Tea with Mussolini was released in 1999. In 1930s fascist Italy, adolescent Luca (Charlie Lucas) just lost his mother. His father, a callous businessman, sends him to be taken care of by British expatriate Mary Wallace (Joan Plowright). Mary and her cultured friends — including artist Arabella (Judi Dench), young widow Elsa (Cher) and archaeologist Georgie (Lily Tomlin) — keep a watchful eye over the boy. But the women’s cultivated lives take a dramatic turn when Allied forces declare war on Mussolini.

This movie should have been called “The Scorpioni” but I guess it wouldn’t have the same effect.

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Twenty One: The Tourist

The Tourist was relased in 2010. During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) finds himself in an extraordinary situation when an alluring stranger, Elise (Angelina Jolie), places herself in his path. Their seemingly innocent flirtation turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse while various people, who all think that Frank is Elise’s thieving paramour, Alexander Pearce, try to capture the pair.

Such an action filled movie and so surprising and how beautiful does Angelina Jolie look throughout the whole movie! I feel like the director enjoyed filming her so much.

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Twenty Two: To Rome with Love

To Rome with Love was released in 2012. Four tales unfold in the Eternal City: While vacationing in Rome, architect John (Alec Baldwin) encounters a young man whose romantic woes remind him of a painful incident from his own youth; retired opera director Jerry (Woody Allen) discovers a mortician with an amazing voice, and he seizes the opportunity to rejuvenate his own flagging career; a young couple (Alessandro Tiberi, Alessandra Mastronardi) have separate romantic interludes; a spotlight shines on an ordinary man (Roberto Benigni).

I rarely like Woody Allen’s movies because they always hold the same message, but I like how he sees a place.

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Twenty Three: The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley was released in 1999. To be young and carefree amid the blue waters and idyllic landscape of sun-drenched Italy in the late 1950s; that’s la dolce vita Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) craves- and Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) leads. When Dickie’s father asks Tom to bring his errant playboy son back home to America, Dickie and his beautiful expatriate girlfriend, Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), never suspect the dangerous extremes to which Ripley will go to make their lifestyle his own.

I find this movie really creepy but beautiful. In all honesty, no matter how I wonder how someone lives, I never want to be anyone but myself.

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Twenty Four: The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon was released in 2009. After the abrupt departure of Edward (Robert Pattinson), her vampire love, Bella (Kristen Stewart) finds comfort in her deepening friendship with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). However Bella’s loyalties are put to the test as she becomes drawn into the world of werewolves, ancient enemies of vampires.

The movie isn’t actually shot in Italy but the story is, I think New Moon and Breaking Dawn to be my favorite movies in the saga, though Twilight is my favorite book in the saga.

Chris Weitz is such an amazing director, I loved his work in this movie.

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Twenty Five: The English Patient

The English Patient was released in 1996. The sweeping expanses of the Sahara are the setting for a passionate love affair in this adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s novel. A badly burned man, Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), is tended to by a nurse, Hana (Juliette Binoche), in an Italian monastery near the end of World War II. His past is revealed through flashbacks involving a married Englishwoman (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his work mapping the African landscape. Hana learns to heal her own scars as she helps the dying man.

This movie is sad, bloody and horrible. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery forget it, it’s all blood and gore.

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Twenty Six: Genova

 Genova was released in 2008. Joe is a widowed teacher bereft at the death of his wife Marianne in an accident caused by their youngest daughter Mary. Offered a teaching job in Italy, he takes Mary and her older sibling Kelly to Genova. Initially loving the new lifestyle, Joe soon finds himself torn between memories of Marianne and the possibility of a new romance while the guilt-wracked Mary finds dangerous solace with role models who resemble her mother.

Nice movie about family, loss and love; and it stars Colin Firth. Enough said.

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Twenty Seven: In Love and War

In Love and War was released 1996. In 1918, 18-year-old Ernest Hemingway (Chris O’Donnell) signs up for service in World War I. After a bomb goes off on the front line, filling his leg with shrapnel, Hemingway is transported to a hospital, where he begs Dr. Domenico Caracciolo (Emilio Bonucci) not to amputate. Under the care of 26-year-old Austrian nurse Agnes von Kuroswky (Sandra Bullock), Hemingway slowly recovers. The two begin an affair, but Agnes is torn between the immature young man and the more stable Caracciolo.

I really like stories about authors.

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Twenty Eight: The Italian Job

The Italian Job was released in 2003. After a heist in Venice, Steve (Edward Norton) turns on his partners in crime, killing safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) and keeping all the gold for himself. The rest of the team, including leader Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg), driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), explosives man Left Ear (Mos Def) and tech geek Lyle (Seth Green), vows revenge. They enlist the help of Bridger’s daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron), and plot to recover the gold from Steve’s Los Angeles mansion.

I have a thing for mini coopers.

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Twenty Nine: Lovestruck: The Musical

Lovestruck: The Musical was released in 2013. A choreographer (Jane Seymour) tries to stop her daughter’s (Sara Paxton) wedding after an elixir magically turns her into a young woman (Chelsea Kane).

I adore this movie. It’s so beautiful and Sara Paxton must be Alexis Bledel twin sister.

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Thirty: Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet was released in 2013. In Verona, bad blood between the Montague and Capulet families leads to much bitterness. Despite the hostility, Romeo Montague (Douglas Booth) manages an invitation to a masked ball at the estate of the Capulets and meets Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld), their daughter. The two are instantly smitten but dismayed to learn that their families are enemies. Romeo and Juliet figure out a way to pursue their romance, but Romeo is banished for his part in the slaying of Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt.

This must be my favorite adaptation of this famous play by the talented maestro William Shakespeare. The cast is wonderful, the customs are magical, and Shakespeare’s word never grow old.

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Thirty One: La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita was released in 1960. In Federico Fellini’s lauded Italian film, restless reporter Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) drifts through life in Rome. While Marcello contends with the overdose taken by his girlfriend, Emma (Yvonne Furneaux), he also pursues heiress Maddalena (Anouk Aimée) and movie star Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), embracing a carefree approach to living. Despite his hedonistic attitude, Marcello does have moments of quiet reflection, resulting in an intriguing cinematic character study.

The reason I like the movie so much is Sylvia’s scene in the fountain. It’s so magical and beautiful and she looked so sexy.

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Thirty Two: Il Postino: The Postman

Il Postino: The Postman was released in 1994. When exiled Cuban poet Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) arrives on a tiny Italian isle, there’s so much new mail that Mario (Massimo Troisi), an unemployed, uneducated layabout, is hired as a postman. His job is simply to deliver Neruda’s daily mail. Mario soon becomes a student of the poet, learning the art of poetry to woo a local barmaid (Maria Grazia Cucinotta) and tell about the struggles of the working-class villagers. A firm friendship develops, and the postman turns into a changed man.

I love Pablo Neruda’s poetry. He’s one of my favorite poets, but this story isn’t about him it’s about education and how it changes a person.

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Thirty Three: One Chance

One Chance was released in  2013. Tenor Paul Potts (James Corden) becomes a singing sensation after appearing on the TV show “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2007.

My husband and I just watched this movie a couple of weeks ago, and I was impressed of this man’s determination.

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Thirty Four: W./E.

W./E. was released in 2011, and it’s truly one of my favorite movies and one of the movies I watched so many times I can’t count. Dissatisfied with the way her own life is playing out, New York-based Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes obsessed with the romance between American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and England’s Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) when Sotheby’s holds an auction of the royal couple’s belongings. Wally is especially drawn to Wallis’ side of the story, and as certain events transpire in her life, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. I love the scenes when Edward and Wallis start their affair in Italy and France.

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Thirty Five: Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing was released in 1993. In this Shakespearean farce, Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and her groom-to-be, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), team up with Claudio’s commanding officer, Don Pedro (Denzel Washington), the week before their wedding to hatch a matchmaking scheme. Their targets are sharp-witted duo Benedick (Kenneth Branagh) and Beatrice (Emma Thompson) — a tough task indeed, considering their corresponding distaste for love and each other. Meanwhile, meddling Don John (Keanu Reeves) plots to ruin the wedding.

I think this is one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays… and the Villa Vignamaggio in Tuscany is gorgeous!

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Thirty Six: Sabrina Goes to Rome

Sabrina Goes to Rome was released in 1998, and it part of the famous TV and movies series “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”. American teenage witch Sabrina and her food-obsessed magical talking cat and mouse travel to Rome, the last whereabout of her 16th-century aunt Sophia, who was banished after breaking the rule not to divulge her powers to a non-witch; her mission is to find out how Sophia can be freed by opening her golden locket. Sabrina stays with her Italian relatives; notably niece Gwen, a certain and therefore dangerously clumsy budding witch, actually joins her quest there. Being seen using magic, Sabrina gets followed by two tabloid reporters, Paul and Travis, who are promised at least $100,000 if they can expose a real witch, but Paul, an American-adopted Italian, who set out a to win her confidence to trick her easier till they can take a picture of her witchcraft, actually falls in love with her. Gwen has her own Roman admirer, timid Alberto, but impatience for him to make a move causes her to accidentally transform him into a street pigeon. The girls find only one way to Sophia’s secret: a portrait by an obscure Renaissance painter, who meant more in auntie’s life…

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Thirty Seven: Our Italian Husband

Our Italian Husband was released in 2004. An Italian female shoemaker follows her husband to America with their son & daughter. She couldn’t find him at first then she discovers that he is married to an American wife who is expecting. After some wrangling they manage to live under the same roof for some time.

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Thirty Eight: Bread & Tulips

Bread & Tulips was released in 2000. Rosalba (Licia Maglietta), a middle-aged woman on a bus trip to Venice with her husband and her sons, is left behind at a rest stop off of the highway. As the days go by with no word from her family, she settles into a room at a local hotel and takes a job at a flower shop. When her husband and sons begin to miss her, they send a friend looking for her. “Bread and Tulips” is a warm-hearted comedy about love, family, and friendship.

It’s a good story but sad one that raises the question about motherhood and the importance of women in their households.

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Thirty Nine: Italian for Beginners

Italian for Beginners was released in 2000. “Italian for Beginners” follows the stories of six insecure singles whose lives interweave one dreary Copenhagen winter. Soon after arriving in a small grey suburb, Andreas (Anders W. Berthelsen), a young sensitive minister, is persuaded to sign up for Italian lessons. Upon his arrival, each of the lonely characters makes a major decision that will change the course of their life. They find love and a happy solution to their unhappy situations.

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Forty: Cleopatra

Cleopatra was released in 1999. The queen of Egypt’s life is marked by political and personal passion, including affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Cleopatra is one of the women I’m most obsessed with, I love her history, her adventures, and her costumes… she is one interesting lady that bewitched many people though and after her life. I know many people prefer Elizabeth Taylor’s movie, but I don’t because it’s so far away from the historical truth, though she and the costumes were marvelous.

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