“It’s a nice little villa, are you going to buy it?” Katherine asks this film’s protagonist. That’s putting it mildly! The Under the Tuscan Sun house as well as all of the other Under the Tuscan Sun filming locations are a bit more than nice. They are pinch-me perfection.
Based on the best-selling memoir of the same name (but an 80% fictional plot), Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) stars Diane Lane as Frances Mayes. She is a writer and recent divorcee living in San Francisco who spontaneously decides to buy a run-down villa in Tuscany. Most of the film documents her assimilation to small-town Tuscan life and navigating the renovation of her dilapidated new abode.
Oh, and of course there are romances, trips to the Amalfi Coast and pregnant lesbian best friends thrown in the mix, too. If you hadn’t already guessed, Under the Tuscan Sun isn’t simply “up my street.” This film is on my doorstep waiting to be invited in for tea and biscuits. I don’t care that it scored terribly on Rotten Tomatoes, I think this is a female-empowered gem of a movie. And it’s set in Tuscany, for crying out loud.
So let’s dive in! Here are all of the Under the Tuscan Sun locations in Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast and elsewhere in Italy.
Where Was Under the Tuscan Sun Filmed?
Under the Tuscan Sun Filming Locations in Tuscany
1. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza del Duomo, Florence
I absolutely adore this storyline. Because Patti (Frances’ lesbian best friend) is pregnant, she encourages Frances to take her place on a tour of Italy. It turns out it is a tour group for the LGBTQ+ community and the company is called “Gay and Away.”
Their first stop just happens to be at one of the most iconic buildings in Italy, Florence’s Duomo. But the film quickly moves switches to the Tuscan countryside.
2. Piazza della Repubblica, 27, Cortona
We’re in Cortana! This is the exact Tuscan town where the book is located so I’m super happy this Under the Tuscan Sun location is authentic. The American tourists have alighted their bus and are sampling the delights of an Italian produce market. The market is located in Piazza Della Repubblica. This is where Frances spots a well-dressed blonde woman nuzzling a bird and decides to follow her. As you do.
Frances and Katherine (the eccentric blonde woman) stroll through this piazza later in the film after the meal at Frances’ olive picker’s house.
3. Piazza Pescheria, 52044 Cortona, Province of Arezzo, Italy
Frances loses track of the unhinged blonde lady but instead greets another American tourist attempting to write a postcard next to a café. There is no café in real life, but there is an overlook on Piazza Pescheria where you can peer down onto the piazza below. This is where Frances writes the man’s postcard for him which he deems flowery and unrealistic.
4. Villa Laura, Strada Provinciale Val di Pierle, Cortona
When in Cortana, she spots a listing in an estate agent’s window for a villa named Bramasole. The mysterious blonde woman pops up again and says one of my favourite lines in the whole film. Frances rejects the terrible idea of buying the villa, yet changes her mind when her tour bus has to stop directly outside because of sheep in the road. The villa is abandoned with an overgrown garden and heaps of trash but it is dripping with Tuscan charm.
Naturally, most of the film is set here.
The villa is not the real-life Under the Tuscan Sun house location because that is now a completely renovated villa. But the stand-in Villa Laura is also in Cortana, so it’s not too far away from the original. And it’s available to rent!
Terrible ideas… Don’t you just love those? – Katherine, the strange blonde lady
5. Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A., Via Maurizio Bufalini, 4, Florence
Not the most glamorous Under the Tuscan Sun film location but a necessary one. After very spontaneously buying Bramasole, Frances must pay for it! The interior of the Italian bank is in Florence, specifically the Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A. on Via Maurizio Bufalini.
6. Teatro Signorelli, Piazza Luca Signorelli, Cortona
Around halfway through the film, Frances and one of her Polish construction workers head to the local theatre to watch an Italian dubbed version of George of the Jungle (1997). A forgettable (yet fun) nineties comedy in a super old, ornate Italian theatre! Such a culture clash.
7. Piazza Grande, Montepulciano
Sadly, Patti’s girlfriend dumps her right before she’s about to give birth so she surprises Frances at her house. Both Patti and Frances attend a traditional flag-waving ceremony that one of her Polish workers, Pawel, is participating in so he can win over the father of his Italian girlfriend.
The flag-waving ceremony takes place in Piazza Grande in Montepulciano, but this Under the Tuscan Sun movie location is still supposed to be set in Cortana. Towards the end of the film, Katherine wades into a fountain in this piazza à la Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1960). I’m sorry to say the production team built it so it doesn’t exist in real life. But be thankful she didn’t stand in an old Italian fountain!
8. Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio, Via di S. Biagio, 20, San Biagio
Love wins and the young couple, Pawel and Chiara, marry at the end of the film. Their church is absolutely stunning. It’s the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Biagio in San Biagio, just outside of Montepulciano.
Under the Tuscan Sun Filming Locations Elsewhere in Italy
9. Cinecittà Studios, Rome
Since Under the Tuscan Sun opens in San Francisco before heading to Italy, there are a few scenes set there first. BUT the production didn’t shoot all of the California scenes there. In fact, the interior of the bookstore where Frances attends the book signing was a set in Cinecittà Studios in Rome. They shot the interiors for Patti and Grace’s apartment there, too.
It’s Europe’s largest film studio and has produced so many well-loved films like Roman Holiday (1953), many Fellini films and many sword and sandal epics. I visited in June 2018 and fully recommend it to film fans visiting the area.
10. Piazza Venezia, Rome
Sick of renovations and constant “wallowing”, Frances decides to take a trip to Rome. Her bus stops in Piazza Venezia with the iconic Altar of the Fatherland building looming in the background. Definitely a recognisable Under the Tuscan Sun filming location but not one that most people would associate with this film.
11. Corner of Via dei Cappellari and Vicolo del Bollo, Rome
In the next shot, Frances is standing on the corner of Via dei Cappellari and Vicolo del Bollo in Rome staring at a piece of paper that presumably has an address written on it.
12. Piazza di San Simone, Rome
Unnervingly, three Italian men start clapping Frances while she’s standing on the street and then follow her as she tries to walk away. To escape this upsetting situation, Frances pretends to know a handsome man on a street corner. The man is stood in Piazza di San Simone in Rome.
13. Positano Beach, Amalfi Coast
In an unbelievable turn of events, the handsome man offers to drive Frances to some kind of antique shop. The problem is, it is around two to three hours drive from Rome. It’s more like three and a half hours in real life but we all know Italians like to live in the fast lane.
He does not drive her to a shop, but to his family’s bar on Positano Beach on the Amalfi Coast. This is the only Under the Tuscan Sun beach location in the movie. The film treats us to that gorgeous view of all the houses scaling the hillside.
The beach and this scenery appear again later in the film when Frances returns to Positano to surprise Marcello AKA the handsome swine.
14. Hotel California Positano, Via Cristoforo Colombo, 141, Positano
Every woman’s fantasies come true when Frances spends the night with the handsome Italian man in a hotel in Positano. It’s the Hotel California Positano. While I’m not 100% sure the interiors match the real-life location, that gorgeous balcony outside definitely matches the exterior. Though Tuscany is the main area of Italy featured in this film, many people also want to visit Positano because of Under the Tuscan Sun.
BONUS: Under the Tuscan Sun Book Location
15. Villa Bramasole, Località Torreone, 151, Cortona
There are so many gorgeous real-life locations mentioned in the Under the Tuscan Sun memoir. But the most important has to be, of course, the real-life Bramasole. It is still someone’s actual house so please be respectful if you visit, but apparently, you can see most of the house from the road below. And the shrine on the road that the old man paid respects to every day is still there, too.
And those are all the best Under the Tuscan Sun filming locations in Italy! Have you watched the movie or visited any of the locations? Let me know in the comments below!
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