If Saint Valentine’s Day is rainy and cold as it is the case in Tuscany this year, you might want to spend some time curled up on the sofa with your significant other and watch a romantic movie. If you are an italophile, then, it has to be an Italian movie too! This is my very personal top 10 of romantic Italian movies: a perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s day!
If you are single, this makes for a nice selection for a Valentine’s party with your friends, or a perfect way to spend a relaxing Sunday at home, while those silly couples are being ripped off in restaurants and bars!
- Le fate ignoranti (2001), directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, Margherita Buy and Stefano Accorsi starring.
AIDS doctor Antonia’s husband is killed by a car. She gets depressed until she learns he had been cheating on her with a man. Following her newly born curiosity for life, she goes to see her husband’s lover, Michele, and finds a huge apartment that he shares with gay and transgendered friends, including a Turkish immigrant and a prostitute. Antonia is reluctant to tell these people of her relationship to the dead man, but needs prompting to move on to a new phase of her life.
- Pane, amore e fantasia (1953), directed by Luigi Comincini, Vittorio DeSica and Gina Lollobrigida starring.
Marshall Antonio Carotenuto is sent to Sagliena, an imaginary little village in the center of Italy in the 50s, to assume his new mandate. In the village he knows Mariella (Frisky) AKAS ‘la Bersagliera’ secretly fallen in love for a policeman (Carabiniere) reporting to Antonio. But also Paolina, the village’s priest nephew, loves him. Things become more complicated when Annarella, the midwife, start demonstrating his love to Antonio. She is hiding a secret and the Marshall soon will be in a restless situation.
- Pane e tulipani (2000), directed by Silvio Soldini.
Rosalba is a housewife in Pescara with teenage sons, married since 21 to a plumbing supplier whose mistress is her sister in law. When the tour bus leaves her, and her husband calls to tell her to stay put, she rebels slightly and hitchhikes toward home, deciding on a whim to continue to Venice. She lucks into a room in the flat of Fernando, a diffident, formal Icelander; befriends Grazia, a holistic masseuse; and, gets a job at the flower shop of Fermo, a cranky anarchist. Her husband sends a portly plumber to find her. Will duty and maternal instinct win out, or will Alba stay in Venice, combining Rome’s rationality with Greece’s imagination to find her true Italian self?
- Il postino (1994), directed by Michael Radford, Massimo Troisi and Mariagrazia Cucinotta starring.
The life of the fisherman Mario changes dramatically when the famous Chilean writer Pablo Neruda settles on his little Italian island. Living in exile becuase of his political beliefs, Neruda needs a postman to deliver the huge quantities of mail sent to him by his admirers and Mario takes the job since he hates fishing anyway. The two become friends and Neruda helps the shy and clumsy Mario to win the heart of Beatrice, the beautiful waitress at the village’s inn, by showing him the beauty and power of poetry.
- Ricordati di me (2006), directed by Gabriele Muccino.
In the dysfunctional Italian middle-class family Ristuccia, the middle-aged executive Carlo has a stalled life without passion, bored in his work and having a monotonous life with his wife Giulia. Giulia is a frustrated and hysterical woman because she gave up of being an actress in her youth to dedicate to the family. Their needy son Paolo feels lost and rejected, trying to find who he is and flirting with a schoolmate. Their seventeen years old daughter Valentina is decided to work in a television show, and is fighting to have an audition. When Carlo meets his former sweetheart Alessia in a class reunion, they confess to each other that their marriages are in crisis and both feel passion arising again. Meanwhile Giulia is invited to an audition in a stage production and to participate of a play. Paolo tries to make friends using marijuana in his birthday party, and Valentina has sex with different guys trying to be a dancer of the famous TV show ‘Ali Babbi’. Their relationships change when Carlo has an accident.
- Ieri, oggi, domani (1963), directed by Vittorio DeSica, Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni starring.
Stories about three very different women and the men they attract. Adelina sells black-market cigarettes in Naples, is married to the unemployed Carmine, and faces a jail sentence. She can avoid it as long as she’s pregnant. Several years and seven children later, Carmine is exhausted, so jail looks inescapable as does her contempt for Carmine. In Milan, Anna drives a Rolls, is bored, and picks up a writer. She talks dreamily of running off with him until he dents her car; that gets her emotional attention. Mara, a Roman call girl, turns the head of a naive seminarian, prompting a run-in with his granny and a vow of abstinence. Mara’s fizzy lover from Bologna grows impatient.
- Casomai (2002), directed by Alessandro D’Alatri, Stefania Rocca and Fabio Volo starring.
Stefania and Tommaso are to marry and want their wedding to be special. They travel to Stefania’s childhood church and there meet a priest who rises to the challenge. In the ceremony the couple are confronted with not only the beauty of their love but also the darker challenges of marriage; the loss of togetherness, the temptations, the interference of others. Yet, through it all they and their guests learn that love is something that we all must do alone.
- La ragazza con la valigia (1961), directed by Valerio Zurlini, Claudia Cardinale starring.
Lorenzo, who’s 16 and born to a wealthy family in Parma, tries to make things right toward a showgirl, Aida, whom his older brother has mistreated. In extending kindness and standing up for her, he comes of age. But, is there anything he can do that will alter Aida’s situation or her prospects?
- Anonimo Veneziano (1970), directed by Enrico Maria Salerno.
Enrico is a Venetian musician and maestro with a terminal disease, who invites his wife, Valeria, to visit him in Venice without disclosing the reason for such invitation. Although still married, they have been living separated from each other for seven years. Valeria lives with their son and with her new partner, a wealthy industrial in Ferrara. When they meet each other, they walk along though Venice and recall their relationship since their first encounter, disclosing their intense love through flashbacks.
- Maledetto il giorno che t’ho incontrato (1992), directed by Carlo Verdone, Carlo Verdone and Margherita Buy starring.
Bernardo, a journalist from Roma, lives and works in Milan. He regularly sees a therapist because he has been drepressed and hypochondriac since his girlfriend has left him. He is writing a biography of Jimi Hendrix, trying to show that the guitarist’s cause of death was not an overdose. At his therapist’s office, he meets Camilla, a complex-ridden young woman who is in love with their therapist. Like Bernardo, she also overuses anxiolytics. Bernardo and Camilla become very good friends and after various fights and misadventures they end up in England and… well, you have to watch the movie to find out how it ends! It is really funny!