The staff of GardaConcierge is at sixes and sevens with the new series on curiosities of Lake Garda, entitled “The Numbers of GardaConcierge“. The first section is dedicated to cinema, with a list of the 8 films made in towns on Lake Garda or in the surrounding area.
Verona, Piazza Bra
“Nightfire” is an American short film which was released in American cinemas in May 2015 and in Italian cinemas in November 2015. It was directed by Brando Benetton, who is not related to the family from Treviso of the same name who founded the “Benetton” fashion company. The shootout that ensued after the attack on the life of the American presidential candidate is fiction, but the pictures of Piazza Bra in Verona with Palazzo della Gran Guardia in the background are all the more real! The cast consists of the Americans Dylan Baker (“Selma”, “Spider-Man 2” and “3”) and Bradley Stryker (“Bruce Allmighty”) and actor Francesco Pannofino from Rome (“Ogni Maledetto Natale”, “L’Arbitro” and the “Boris” television series).
Rivoli Veronese, Fort Wohlgemuth
Italy’s entry into the First World War was commemorated in 2015. To mark the moment, Italy’s national public broadcasting company RAI showed a documentary entitled “Fango and Gloria” on 24 May 2015, the hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Italian war front. Director Leonardo Tiberi won the “Nastro d’Argento Speciale” for this film, the special award of the “Nastro d’Argento” film awards awarded each year since 1946 by the Italian film journalists’ association. The documentary tells the story of an unknown Italian soldier during the war. Among the locations of the feature film was Fort Wohlgemuth, also known as “Forte Rivoli“, an Austrian fortress sitting atop Monte Castello near Rivoli Veronese. The Walter Rama museum, which is based there, provided the production with objects and furniture. Shoots were taken in the lower part (“Batteria Bassa”) and the upper part of the fortification (“Batteria Alta”).
The historic “Mille Miglia” vintage car race is traditionally held in mid-May. The race leads from Brescia to Rome and back in four stages. In 2014, scenes of the “Rosso Mille Miglia” film by Claudio Uberti where shot during the race. The leading actors are – besides the marvellous vintage cars and their drivers – famous Italian actors Martina Stella and Fabio Troiano. The film was shot in Brescia, Padua and Portogruaro and in towns along the 2014 course of the route, which is among the most fascinating in the world. The film demonstrates the organizers’ wish to give a new lease of life to the historic Italian vintage car race dating back to 1927.
Verona, old town
Since the Shakespearean drama “Romeo and Juliet”, Verona is considered to be the city of love – but not only of tragic and unfulfilled love! For example, scenes of the 2010 American film “Letters to Juliet” were shot in Verona. In contrast to the numerous film adaptations of the story of “Romeo and Juliet” – none of which where shot in Verona – Gary Winick’s film is a love story with a happy ending. It features an international cast including English actress Vanessa Redgrave, American actress Amanda Seyfried, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal and Italian actor Franco Nero. The film, which is based on the novel of the same name, is located in Verona and refers to Juliet’s fate. This is why the production shows the most beautiful areas of Verona’s old town instead of recreating them in the studio. Juliet’s house, from where an archway leads to Via Cappello, was only one of many film locations, among them Castel San Pietro with a marvellous view of the city, Via Sottoriva with its beautiful arches and its cobblestone pavement and other locations in the old town (Via Leoncino, Ponte Nuovo, Piazzetta Pescheria, Via Portici and more).
Tremosine and Torbole
Lake Garda is a fascinating holiday destination – partly because of the Gardesana road, which encompasses the lake and offers spectacular views. Arguably, this is why the makers of the 22nd film of the series centred on the most famous secret agent in the world, James Bond, decided to shoot on the northern shore of Lake Garda and the road that runs alongside it. The film in question is the 2010 film “Quantum of Solace”. It was directed by the Bavarian Marc Forster, who grew up in Switzerland, before moving to the US to study film making. British actor Daniel Craig, who plays agent 007 for the second time in this film after “Casino Royale”, steers an Aston Martin through the half open tunnels of Torbole and Tremosine in a wild car chase during the opening scene. Through montage, a sequence of scenes is created which depicts an unreal landscape. From the outside, you can see the tunnel of Tremosine, while the actual chase was filmed on the other shore of Lake Garda – as a matter of fact, the shots in the tunnel were made in Torbole.
Castelnuovo del Garda, Gardaland
Gardaland is well known as one of the most famous amusement parks in Europe. At least it was known to the teacher who took his pupils on a school trip to Gardaland in the romantic comedy “Ti amo in tutte le lingue del mondo” by Italian director Leonardo Pieraccioni! The Florentine comedian came to the eastern shore of Lake Garda with his cast and crew for this film – his seventh – in 2005. The shots on location in Gardaland were also more cost-efficient than a reconstruction of the theme park, which is why production moved from the main location of Pistoia to Castelnuovo del Garda for the outdoor shots!
Gardone Riviera, Villa Fiordaliso and Torri del Benaco, Scaliger castle
We travel back to the sixties, when the “Bertolazzi Film” production company made Lake Garda a first-rate film production centre. This adventure is told in the documentary entitled “Quando il Garda era un mare”, which was shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2014. In the mid-sixties, director Delmer Daves brought British films to Lake Garda. Some scenes of “The Battle of the Villa Fiorita”, a film based on Margaret Rumer Godden’s novel of the same name, were shot here. In the book, the main characters move to Lake Garda. The Villa Fiordaliso in Gardone Riviera on the western shore of Lake Garda was chosen as a location. One of the artistic licences of the film worth mentioning is the choice of the Scaliger castle in Torri del Benaco on the opposite lake shore as the alleged entrance of a neo-classical and elegant villa. Today, the castle houses a museum which looks back on the history of the craft trade and industry in the region.
Valeggio sul Mincio, Borghetto and Visconti bridge
Luchino Visconti’s 1954 film “Senso”, based on a short story by Camillo Boito, must be included on a list of the films shot on Lake Garda. In this film, the picturesque Visconti bridge of Borghetto di Valeggio sul Mincio southeast of Lake Garda was captured on celluloid and thus immortalized. The film also shows the centre of Borghetto, a town that proudly carries the cultural and historical title “I Borghi più Belli d’Italia” (The most beautiful towns in Italy). The script was written by Suso Cecchi D’Amico and the director himself, with famous authors such as Giorgio Bassani and Tennessee Williams being hired for the English dialogues. Two of Visconti’s assistant directors, Francesco Rosi and Franco Zeffirelli, made a name for themselves in film. Due to his talent and passion for opera, the latter was responsible for the production of the “Aida” in the Verona Arena half a century later.