La Grande Bellezza, The Great Beauty, is a movie set in Rome, and the city is the star. Many movies have had this glorious city as the backdrop. People come to Rome to throw coins in the Trevi Fountain because of a movie. The money is collected and given to a charity…a good outcome.
La Dolce Vita made in 1960 takes the viewer through the gorgeous streets of Rome with Marcello Mastroianni as a bored writer. Paolo Sorrentino’s movie takes us on a similar trip with another bored writer, Jeb, who wrote a novel early in his career allowing him to live the high life for years to come.
Along with 2 nights at the Regina Baglioni we were driven in comfort on La Grande Bellezza Experience with a fabulous guide, Beata. As well as having an encyclopedic knowledge of Roman sites, art and history, she was charming and led us on a delightful tour of many of the scenes featured in the movie.
The film begins at Gianicolo and the firing of the canon at midday.
Gianicolo is the perfect place for a panoramic view of Rome.
Garibaldi sits high on his horse in the park at the top of Gianicolo, keeping an eye on things off to the side, or perhaps looking in the direction of the monument to his wife, who fought beside him.
Nearby, another scene from the movie is the beautiful Aqua Paola fountain, built in the late 17th century to celebrate the reopening of a Roman aqueduct created in 109 AD by Emperor Trajan. Here a tourist dies after photographing Rome below…perhaps it was too much for him.
A beautiful fountain where the main character drinks while watching children run though gorgeous gardens is another stop, along with the stunning little Tempietto built by Bramante in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. It has a delightful mosaic floor and you can look through the metal grid to the floor below where a little girl in the film hides from her mother.
In one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie Jeb and his companion look through a keyhole for an amazing view of Rome. We lined up too and it was fabulous, but unfortunately my camera wasn’t able to capture it.
They are then taken through a series of gorgeous locations by a mysterious gentleman with a precious set of keys allowing him access to secret Rome. You must see the movie for these locations alone.
One of them is the optical illusion in Palazzo Spada. In the arcaded courtyard by Borromini, what appears to be a lifesize sculpture, is only 60 centimetres high.
Photos were not allowed inside, (don’t you hate that?) so my photo taken through glass is not the best.
In a day of amazing sights, the baths of Caracalla, built between 212 and 216, stand out. The place is huge. Thousands of Romans from all classes could bathe for free every day. In the film a giraffe appears in one of the more bizarre scenes.
…and this leads to our next stop. Aqua Marcia aqueduct was built specifically to serve the baths. We drove along the Apian Way to one of the remaining aqueducts, surely one of Rome’s most useful inventions.
We ended our day at the penthouse apartment mentioned in the previous post, just the place for one of Jeb’s party scenes which pop up all through the movie.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, La Grande Bellezza Tour of Rome is a great way to see this incredible city. Regina Baglioni has put together a special package for a 2 night stay at the hotel, lunch in their restaurant, aperitivo and the tour, and more. Click here to see the details. This is exactly what our little blogging group was treated to and I can report that it was excellent in every way…thank you Baglioni Hotels.
Thank you especially to our guide, Beata, her knowledge of Rome is amazing. It is wonderful to learn the history and stories behind the ancient sites, they become so much more interesting.
Baglioni Regina, Via Veneto, Rome.