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Ciack, we shoot in the cinematic Emilia


Tuesday 05 october 2021

An itinerary through the places and stories of films narrated by great directors, from Bertolucci to Bellocchio to Diritti. With Visit Emilia, the land of the slow mix.

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Ciack, we shoot in the cinematic Emilia

L’Emilia è cinema. It is a cinema set in continuous evolution, a heterogeneous film in which to identify with, traveling in the narrative plot that winds between past and future. Discovering Emilia is a journey through the landscapes, admiring the views, visiting the cities and experiencing the stories made famous by the cameras of Bertolucci and other great directors, recognizing the eternal stories of Don Camillo and Peppone, looking at the visual insights of Marco Bellocchio, rereading the story of painter Ligabue in the places of the rsquo; cinematographic work of art “Volevo Nascondermi”, played by Elio Germano, who returns as a protagonist in the recent film “Il signore delle Formiche”; shot by Gianni Amelio in the lands and cities of Emilia. Emotions to be rediscovered, narratives to be followed, literature through images to be read in the land of the slow mix, the eclectic and surprising Emilia, where every trip is a unique experience among culture, nature and food and wine. As demonstrated by the new film “The Amigos”;, inspired by Parmigiano Reggiano.

In the small world of Don Camillo and Peppone

The journey of Visit Emilia in the cinematography can start from Brescello (RE), whose streets and squares were the scene of the famous “Don Camillo and Peppone” directed by Mario Camerini in 1972. It is easy to find here the small world described by Giovannino Guareschi, to imagine the parish priest and the mayor, the companions and the faithful. The town hall and the Church of Santa Maria Nascente, which preserves in a chapel the talking crucifix, are still in the central square of the town. On the other hand, many props, such as Peppone's motorcycle, Don Camillo's habit and their bicycles, as well as photographs taken during filming, posters and reconstructions of some locations, are in the Peppone and Don Camillo Museum. The locomotive that so many times made us enter and leave the village is in the park named after Guareschi, while a “substitute” of the tank that appears in “Don Camillo and the’Hon. Peppone” rests peacefully in Piazza Mingori, near the “Museo Brescello e Guareschi – Il Territorio e il cinema”. There are many cinematic curiosities, such as the chapel of the Madonnina del Borghetto and the bell built by Peppone in the episode Don Camillo Monsignore... but not too much, now hanging under the portico of Via Giglioli. A stop at the mayor's house in Via Carducci is not to be missed, while the railway station is at the end of Viale Venturini.

Film Don Camillo and Peppone (10)

Film Don Camillo and Peppone

In the footsteps of Ligabue

It is worth a stop in Campegine (RE) where the film “Il Cammino della speranza” by Pietro Germi is set, and in Novellara (RE) which was dreamily reconstructed at Cinecittà by Federico Fellini for “La voce della luna”;. Not to be missed Correggio (RE), the place of origin of Luciano Ligabue, who set here his “Radiofreccia”, with scenes also shot in Guastalla and Gualtieri. The latter is the village of another Ligabue, the painter Antonio Ligabue, played by Elio Germano in the film “Volevo Nascondermi”, shot in the Reggio area, among endless poplar woods and the banks of the Po River. Directed by Giorgio Diritti, the film won at the Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival in 2020 and è was proclaimed best film at the David di Donatello Awards 2021, with 7 statuettes. In Gualtieri (RE), in addition to the House Museum Antonio Ligabue, you can visit, until November 14, 2021, in the Hall of Giants of Palazzo Bentivoglio, the exhibition “Ligabue, the figure found” with an unusual comparison between the genius of Emilia and 11 contemporary artists.


"Volevo nascondermi", Elio Germano - credit Enrico De Luigi

The Capital of Culture through Bertolucci's eyes

Parma, the Italian Capital of Culture 2020+2021, has been the setting for many films and Bernardo Bertolucci has dedicated several films to his hometown. Like “Before the Revolution”, set at the Duomo of Parma and in the area Villetta– where Cesare's house is located in Via Vittime Civili di Guerra – and then in the interiors of Palazzo della Rosa Prati, Fabrizio's home. The film also immortalizes the Ducal Park and the Pilotta Complex, a location that, along with the Duomo, the director reused for the filming of the The Moon. And how can we not think of Ugo Tognazzi who, in the role of Primo Spaggiari in the film  “La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo”, rides a bicycle through the streets of the city, crossing Via Farini, the  Caprazucca bridge and Piazza Garibaldi in the rain and leaving behind San Giovanni, where the marriage between Fabrizio and Clelia had been celebrated in “Prima della Rivoluzione”.

Film scenes in Salsomaggiore Terme, Busseto and Torrechiara Castle

The castles and historic villages that surround Parma have not escaped the eyes of filmmakers and will not escape the notice of film lovers. Bertolucci again chose Roncole Verdi (PR),a short distance from Maestro Giuseppe Verdi's Busseto, for a “Novecento” moment set in the agricultural court of Piacenza. Instead, in Salsomaggiore Terme (PR) you can relive some scenes of “The Last Emperor” set in the elegant Moorish hall of the Palazzo dei Congressi. The city è thermal è often scenography of cinema, as happened with the film “Il Carabiniere a Cavallo” directed by Carlo Lizzani and “Arabella” directed by Mauro Bolognini, and as desired recently by Gianni Amelio, for his new film “Il Signore delle Formiche”, starring Elio Germano, Luigi Lo Cascio and Sara Serraiocco. The film is centered on the life of Aldo Braibanti, a brilliant and heretical intellectual who was put on trial at the end of the 1960s with the specious accusation of having plagiarized a young man, according to the complaint of his conservative family - an accusation behind which was hidden the accusation of homosexuality and which forced him to spend two years in prison - and is also set in Busseto, Roccabianca, Fidenza and Piacenza. Not to be missed are places of history, culture and splendid castles, all of which are worth a visit, such as the romantic and superbly photographed Castle of Torrechiara, which has been the setting for many films, including “Addio fratello crudele” by  Giuseppe Patroni Griffi,  “I Condottieri – Giovanni delle Bande Nere” by Luis Trenker,  “Donne e Soldati” by Antonio Marchi and Luigi Malerba and, in more recent times, “Ladyhawke” by Richard Donner.  

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Scene from
"Novecento", Bertolucci - credit Cineteca di Bologna, Angelo Novi

In the dairies of the film on Parmigiano Reggiano

Emilia è cinema also in gastronomy. The king of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano, has become the inspiration for a film, recently aired on Rai 1 and soon to be online on the website of the Consortium headed by Nicola Bertinelli. It is called “Gli Amigos” and was directed by Paolo Genovese. Among the protagonists are the actor Stefano Fresi and the Chef Massimo Bottura, struggling with a cooking school and a challenge based on Parmigiano Reggiano, which becomes a journey to discover the origins and secrets of the famous cheese. To relive the atmosphere, it's a good idea to experience the cheese in person, visiting some of the dairies where this dairy delicacy is created, not to mention tasty samples. 

Parma - Credit Infraordinario
Credit Infraordinario

In cinematic Piacenza

È it's time to immerse yourself in the cinematography of Piacenza's historical center, set of films such as “Belle al Bar” by and with Alessandro Benvenuti and Eva Robin's, produced by Piacenza's Giorgio Leopardi in 1994. A tour in which to recognize emblematic places of the city, such as the Duomo and the station of Piacenza, the clubs and the landscapes along the Po River. Marco Bellocchio, director originally from Bobbio (PC) and winner of the Palma d’Oro d’Onore at the Cannes Film Festival 2021, has set some scenes of his film “Addio del passato” in the sumptuous Salone delle feste of Palazzo Anguissola della Rocca Cimafava in Piacenza, not forgetting the frescoes celebrating the glory of Alexander the Great. A film presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2002, co-produced by the Municipal Theatre. The Palace is a must-see. Here was also shot the film “Avalanche Express” (1978) starring Lee Marvin and Linda Evans. 

Bobbio, cult village of the cinema and of Bellocchio

After Piacenza, a stop in Bobbio is a must. Bobbio is a cult cinema location and one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, which welcomes visitors with its cinematic Devil's Bridge. The village is the annual home of the Bobbio Film Festival, directed by Marco Bellocchio, and of Making Cinema, a highly specialized course in film directing. The famous director shot his first film here in 1965, his film debut “I Pugni in Tasca”, with which he won the Nastro d’Argento. Set almost entirely in the country where the director's family spent their summer vacations, the film takes place mainly in the country house of his mother, immersed in the Val Trebbia, while for some exteriors were chosen the curves of the highway 45 that follows the course of the river Trebbia and reveals unforgettable natural landscapes. The same is true of the Ponte Gobbo bridge, which was a carriageable bridge at the time, and the Castelletto cliff, the location of the dramatic climax of the film, which also moves inside the bell tower of Bobbio Cathedral. Between 1979 and 1980, Bellocchio paid homage to his land and his childhood memories in "Vacanze in Val Trebbia", an autobiographical documentary film, shot in and around Bobbio. And then in 2010 in “Sorelle mai”, in which we recognize the banks of the river Trebbia, which host the adventures of the actors Giorgio Bellocchio, Alba Rohrwacher and Donatella Finocchiaro.

The film is also shot in Bobbio.

Ponte Gobbo, photo by Laura Badini, credit Visit Emilia (1)

Ponte Gobbo di Bobbio, photo by Laura Badini, credit Visit Emilia

Castell’Arquato, in the atmospheres of Ladyhawke

While some scenes of “Ladyhawke" were shot in the Castle of Torrechiara, there are others that feature the beautiful village of Castell’Arquato (PC) with its Rocca Viscontea, the Collegiate Church, and the surrounding countryside of Bacedasco. The protagonists Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer bring to life here the love story of the beautiful Isabeau and the noble Navarre condemned to be always together, but eternally divided by the curse that the evil bishop has launched against them.
At this point, the tour can continue to Cortemaggiore (PC)whereFrancesco Rosi has filmed, with relevance to the reality of the facts, some scenes from The Mattei Case. While the Diga di Mignano in Val D’Arda has offered the theater for the’epic finale of “I lupi attaccano in branco”, with Sylva Koscina and a mustachioed Rock Hudson. Finally, in 2012, in the Piacenza area was filmed "La finestra di Alice”, directed by Carlo Sarti with Sergio Muniz, Debora Caprioglio and Fabrizio Bucci.

Castell'Arquato
Castell'Arquato

Main photo -  "I wanted to hide", Elio Germano
credit Enrico De Luigi

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