Six Films Set in Rome

Famous Italian film director Federico Fellini once said that “Rome does not need to make culture, it is culture…” It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and its very name inspires awe, longing and reminiscences. Its ancient streets and squares are instantly recognisable by even those who have never been and it’s this magical quality that makes for great cinema.

We’re going to take a quick tour of some of the best films set in The Eternal City and together they might inspire you to book your next holiday, or some Rome Opera tickets, or maybe just dream a little…


The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

This Anthony Minghella adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel brings out the bad side of Rome, albeit in a luscious and seductive manner. It sees Americans falling for old Europe and all its highbrowed corruption. Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley, an underprivileged but smart (some might say sociopathic) social climber who has been tasked with tracking down the wealthy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Of course the actors are stunning, but the city is the real star – we see narrow streets, scooters, the calm-but-treacherous sea and the insides of several jazz clubs.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Many see Fellini’s La Dolce Vita as the Italian story and the three-hour film charts exactly what the so-called “sweet life” can be like. It shows us an Italy that’s recovering from the privations of World War II and uses an episodic medieval narrative style borrowed from Dante to ask questions about life, religion and culture. The iconic Trevi Fountain scene starring Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg shocked critics and censors alike and the film still has the power to make viewers stop and think.

The Great Beauty (2013)

Fellini was an outsider to Rome, having been raised in Rimini, which is possibly why he saw the city so keenly. Paolo Sorrentino is a fellow outsider (Naples) and he looks at Rome through a slightly hyper-real lens. Instead of post-war excesses however, Sorrentino brings us up-to-date with modern-day Berlusconi era hedonism. The Great Beauty is more of a hit back in Italy, but after winning an Oscar for the best Foreign Language Film in 2013, this tale of wild parties and strange performance art is sure to attract fans worldwide. Again, the city itself is one of the stars, with many architectural shots and vistas to gaze at.

Gladiator (2000)

The Eternal City was brought back to life in this epic tale of one man’s fight for revenge and justice against the corrupt machine of the Roman Empire. Ridley Scott takes us back to the year 180AD to see Maximus Decimus Meridius fall from grace, lose everything and rise again to reap his vengeance against the narcissistic emperor Commodus. With the help of CGI, Rome is shown at its jaw-dropping apex, with huge horizons and city skylines, foaming crowds and, of course the Colosseum. As well as revenge, Gladiator explores the cross-over between mass entertainment and exploitative violence, which is as relevant today as it was almost two millennia ago.

What not to miss in Tuscany, Italy!

Italy is one of those places that is on almost everyone’s travel bucket list. It’s not hard to understand why with so many amazing things to enjoy from the beach to the mountains, the cuisine to the culture, Italy is just jam-packed with things to indulge all of your interests.

One region that is especially popular with tourists, and for good reason, is none other than the Tuscan region in central Italy. Read on to learn about just some of the amazing offerings Tuscany offers its lucky visitors.



No trip to Italy would be complete without a trip to Florence. Actually the 6th biggest city in the country, and the capital of Tuscany, Florence blends city vibes with a provincial feel for the best of both words. Marvel at the works of Michaelangelo, notably the David, at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze or climb the Duomo in the center of town.

Cinque Terre

Actually a group of 5 independent villages, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore, and Corniglia, Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park, and for good reason. One of the most photographed areas in all of Italy, Cinque Terre is simply stunning. Stroll the narrow streets that end abruptly to panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding cliffs. Enjoy the amazing seafood caught just a few hours before over a bottle of delectable Tuscan wine. Cinque Terre is one of the most romantic places in the entire world, let alone Italy (and that’s saying a lot!). To make your experience even more memorable, opt to stay at a Tuscan vacation villa instead of a standard hotel.


Sienna is another gem of a city in Tuscany and battles Florence for visitors, while in reality people just visit both and enjoy them equally the same! Florence is known more for its Renisance style architecture while Sienna offers many fantastic examples of well-preserved Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the Piazza del Campo, then climb to the top of the Torre del Mangia for majestic views over Sienna.

The best spas in Europe

The best spas in Europe have decor that relax the client upon entry ... photo by CC user Avilash behera on wikimedia

Those looking for a truly exquisite experience during their luxury holidays in Europe should make an effort to visit one of the many soothing spas that can be found across the continent. From Sicily to Scandinavia, there are many resorts that fit the bill perfectly, but the following five can be considered among the very best spas in Europe for the atmosphere that they create for their deserving clientele.

1) Therme del Parco, Forte, Italy

Looking to unknot all the tension in those tight muscles after a long week of sightseeing across Italy? Checking into Therme del Parco will prove to be a wise decision, as this spa has a well-established track record of pampering professional athletes and other well-known celebrities in need of world class care.

With over 40 specialists on staff across 20 rooms, you won’t wait long to be served, and state of the art equipment like thalassotherapy pools that will knead away your sore muscles in record time, you will get excellent value for the price that you pay here.

2) Viva Mayr, Lake Worth, Austria

While the most effective treatments in spas focus on your battered body, the first curative effects you’ll notice when at Viva Mayr in Austria will be on your mind, as the gorgeous views of the snow-capped Alps will set your mind at ease in between treatments on their well-situated deck.

Based on the teachings of Dr. Franz Mayr, this institution heals you by focusing on changing the way you eat, and by cleansing the damage that your prior habits have already wreaked on your body. Over five days, they will set you on the path to a more energetic life, leaving you a brand new person at the end of your time there.

3) Europe Hotel Resort, Killarney, Ireland

For some, the emerald green hills and placid lakes of Ireland is just want they need to reset their mind and bodies. The best place to achieve this goal on this magical isle is at the Europe Hotel Resort in Killarney, as the relaxing vistas soothe the mind as the hydrotherapy pools take all the stress out of every muscle and joint within you.

4) Grand Hotel Oslo, Oslo, Norway

The perfect way to end a holiday spent viewing fjords along the Norwegian coast is to check into the Grand Hotel Oslo, as its highly regarded spa is considered to be one of the best spots to relax in all of Northern Europe.

With luxurious stonework throughout and divine Artesia body scrubs being its biggest claim to fame, you might find yourself extending your stay here one more night for the spa alone.

Italy’s most romantic spots

Italy's most romantic spots include the Stone Bridge of Verona ... photo by CC user pcdazero on pixabay

La bella Italia, the country of love and romance. How does one ever go about choosing where to pass a romantic Italian vacation with that special someone? There are just too many options, all enticing and romance evoking. Don’t get overwhelmed, I have compiled a list of the most romantic Italian destinations, from Sicily’s gorgeous villas with pools to Juliet’s balcony in Verona, you are sure to find the perfect spot (or spots) to pass that romantic vacation with your sweetie.

Sunset cruising in Sicily

Rent that gorgeous Sicilian villa, but tear yourself away from the house for a private sunset cruise along Sicily’s pristine, breathtaking, exquisite coast. You can even sail out to the Egadi islands, or the Aeolian for that matter. I can’t recommend one over the other, as they are both beautiful, I just insist you go! Crack open that bottle of champagne, or go Sicilian style with a Passito di Pantelleria. Watch the sun say goodnight to the Mediterranean, caressing her salty waves with orange and pink kisses, and you’re sure to wind up smooching in under the Sicilian sunset as well.


Verona is home to Shakespeare’s most famous doomed and star-crossed lovers. In Verona, you can take your lover to the house that belonged to Juliet in the classic Shakespearean tragedy. Stand below the balcony where our good ol’ Romeo declared his ever-loving devotion, and touch the breast of Juliet’s bronze statue for good luck (and good love).

Amalfi Coast

While Italy is packed with majestic views, cities, and towns, one of the most magical is just a bit south of Naples. It is called the Amalfi coast, and it is dotted with picturesque little towns clinging to the edge of steep cliffs, overlooking a turquoise Mediterranean below. Rent a car and take the most romantic, memorable, and adventurous drives of your life down these pretty little country roads.


Rome, the mother of all romance. History is everywhere in Rome, but I recommend ditching the guidebook and wandering down her picturesque cobblestone paths holding hands with your loved one. Savor the sights and sounds, enjoy the chic little shops, eat some of Italy’s best cuisine in romantic mom-and-pop restaurants. If you’re looking for real luxury, get a room in the Hotel Hassler, which is where Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise stayed before they were married in Italy. It is at the top of the Spanish Steps, which are arguably the most romantic stairs in the entire country (maybe the world!)

A helicopter over Mount Etna

Come fly with me, baby, right over Mount Etna and out to the Aeolian islands. Take a helicopter for a bird’s eye view of Sicily’s major active volcano, then head out to another island, much smaller, with another active volcano, Stromboli. Talk about a flaming romance! Stop for a massage, lunch and a swim at Capofaro on the island of Salina before jetting back to your romantic villa. Now that is hot, if I’ve ever seen it!

3 Countries that Have to Feature on Your European Bucket List

Seeing fine statues in Florence is on the European bucket list of many people ... photo by CC user ashleyhexum66 on Flickr

Europe is a vast continent, and with so many countries offering different experiences for the discerning traveler it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to decide where to go.

If you have endless time and resource available then you could spend your years visiting every single one, experiencing the sights and people of each country, whilst picking out your favorite. However, if you want three that will satisfy your every need and offer you a trip of a lifetime then these three countries will not disappoint as you tick off boxes on your European bucket list.


Think of Italy and you think of the ancient historic sites, the wonderful food and wines, and the beautiful landscapes of incredible beaches, rolling hills and great lakes. It is all of these characteristics and more that make this a destination that should feature on your bucket list.

Not to be missed are the cities of Florence and Rome which are jam packed full of incredible attractions such as the Coliseum and Roman Forum in Rome and the Ponte Vecchio and Statue of David in Florence.

Away from the cities, in the Tuscan countryside you can cycle through the vineyards and soak up the postcard perfect views whilst stopping occasionally for a glass of locally produced wine. Top things off with a stay in one of the regions stunning luxury villas like these and your trip will be complete.


Spain oozes charisma and charm with its passionate people and vast number of great destinations for the traveller. In the south, the cities of Seville and Granada with their Moorish architecture and flamenco soul are perfect for a cultural city break. The coastal city Barcelona is great for a city/beach break in the summer and northern San Sebastian serves up a gastronomic treat.

The beaches of the Costa Del Sol offer the holiday maker some great hotels and resorts perfect for relaxing in the sunshine and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada even provide opportunities for skiing!

Spain really does have everything and is often cheaper than other European destinations such as France and Italy.

The UK may not be known for its fine weather but that shouldn’t put you off a visit as there is still plenty to enjoy come rain or shine! Brilliant London is just as you imagine it to be with its iconic red buses and black cabs and wonderful sites such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.

Many people come to the UK and only visit London and if you do this then you are most certainly missing out. In the north of England, the historical city of York with its magnificent minster and old cobbled streets will make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

Lovers of the outdoors should head to the Lake District where the countryside is simply stunning. Then you have the quaint villages of the Cotswolds where you can sit back in a beautiful cottage (check these out) and explore wonderful countryside and enjoy village life.

In Scotland, the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow each have their own personality with plenty going on and some wonderful restaurants. If you are lucky enough to visit Wales as well then head to the lovely seaside town of Aberystwyth.