More than just a film, due to the care lavished on every detail, each frame could be a work of art in itself. La Grande Bellezza, winner of the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2013, is a wonderful advert for some familiar Roman locations, but it also helps us to discover some that are less well-known. In arguably the world’s most beautiful city, and above all, in a period when Rome has faced great difficulties in finding the right expression of its unique history, art and culture, Paolo Sorrentino’s film continues to be an extremely powerful endorsement of our artistic and cultural heritage… Encapsulated in these five symbolic locations that we have chosen to describe.
1. The enormous terrace used for Toni Servillo/Jep Gambardella’s huge party in one of the first and most famous scenes from the film. It is located in the exclusive area around the via Veneto, which also features in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. The building is in the Fascist architectural style and is easily recognisable from the large, neon Martini logo which can be seen from a distance, even from the street, and has been there for years.
2. Jep’s house, where he relaxes on his hammock and entertains his intellectual friends over long discussions. In the Celio quarter, with a sensational view of the Colosseum, it is in a building from the 1920s that has recently been renovated. The same incredible view can be enjoyed from the penthouse bistro of the Hotel Capo d’Africa at via Capo d’Africa 54.
3. The marble-covered boutique where Jep goes with Sabrina Ferilli/Ramona to choose a suit for the funeral of Viola’s son is in the Salone delle Fontane in the EUR district (via Ciro il Grande 10). This area was built by Mussolini for the Universal Exposition of 1942, which never took place due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Incidentally, the great marble hall is a mere 200 metres from the Palazzo dell’Arte Antica, where our Fashion Night will take place on 25 and 26 September.
4. The stunning restaurant where Jep dines with Ramona and meets Antonella Venditti is inside the Veranda restaurant at the Hotel Columbus (Borgo Santo Spirito 73), and is only a few steps away from the Vatican.
5. Finally, the Bar San Calisto, in Trastevere’s Piazza di San Calisto, is the setting for one of the film’s most symbolic and Fellini-esque scenes. In slow motion, Jep enters to buy cigarettes, crosses the room and is accosted by an elderly lady in a bizarre party dress, the television switched on amid a group of old people in pyjamas… One of the last remaining places that are still permeated by the same, authentic Roman character that existed forty years ago.
Alessandro Di Giacomo