She also previews her New York Times travel section article (appearing this Sunday).
There is no other film more closely associated with the greatness of Italian cinema than Rossellini’s timeless classic Rome, Open City, written, directed, and produced in 1945 in Rome not long after German forces had abandoned the Eternal City (image via Wikipedia).
Shot entirely on location in Rome using mostly ordinary citizens who had never acted before, this film — considered by many to be one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces of all time — launched the Italian Neorealist movement, one of the earliest “waves” of Italian filmmaking (and literature) that would captivate audiences and critics in Europe and the United States.
Not only did this film introduce moviegoers across the world to some of Italy’s leading actors — like Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani — it also changed the way the world viewed film as an artistic medium. Rossellini’s novel approach to filmmaking created and forever redefined film’s power for social commentary and artistic greatness. And while the film is screened every year in film studies programs across the world, it has never lost its power to move viewers.
If you’re new to Italian film but want to verse yourself in the great cinematic works that reshaped the twentieth century with their artistry and humanity, Rome, Open City is the best place to start…
Above: The Lido di Ostia near Rome (photo via BeachesZone).
So many of you out there are getting ready to travel, and hopefully your European jaunt will include at least one great Italian city. Since it’s summer and no Italian cultural experience is complete without tanning like an Italian, we want to point you in the direction of some of Italy’s best urban beaches.
Maybe you’re doing 48 hours in Venice or Rome and want to get a little beach time in? Visiting Naples and can’t make it to the Amalfi Coast? Never fear, there’s always a Spiaggia near.
In Venice, just a quick boat ride across the lagoon will get you to Venice Lido. It’s home to the Venice film festival, and the setting for the Thomas Mann’s classic novel, Death in Venice. There are two public beaches and tons of private areas to choose from where renting a beach chair and umbrella are possible.
In Rome, tan as the Romans do. The beach isn’t exactly in the city, but a quick 35 minute train ride with get you to Ostia Lido. It’s a great escape from the heat and you’ll run into many other Romans escaping as well. There is also Santa Marinella which will take about 45 minutes by train. While these beaches are far from being at the top of the list of Italy’s best, they have been cleaned up and provide the hot, beach-craving masses with blue, sparkling Mediterranean water.
Naples has arguably some of the prettiest water and most dramatic scenery of all of Italy’s urban beaches. Spiaggette (small sandy beaches) and scogliere (stone beaches) dot the coastline of the city in areas like Chiaia, Mergellina and Posillipo. The latter is home to the storied village of Marechiaro with its tiny sandy beach and classic architecture. Heading west just a bit, you’ll find Bagnoli with its long stretch of beach that hosts a variety of bars and discotechs that fill with the Neapolitan youth on any given night of the summer. No matter where you choose to fare il bagno (take a swim) in Napoli, you’ll be delighted to enjoy a breathtaking view of Vesuvius as it stands watch over the ancient city.
One of our favorite bloggers, Katie Parla of Parla Food, based in Rome, has just released the second generation of her Rome for Foodies app.
We’ve written about Katie here before: when it comes to dining in Rome, nobody does it better…