La Grande Bellezza is a film set in Rome

La Grande Bellezza

"La Grande Bellezza", the Sorrentino film, not only shows the Rome we find on postcards, but the one hidden behind front-doors, walls and gates that seem always closed. Yet there is a way to visit them, even when they seem inaccessible. Here is a guide that will allow you to discover them, to experience Rome like a if you were inside a movie.


Let's start from the house of Jep Gambardella, the protagonist: Sorrentino establishes it on the attic of a building in Piazza del Colosseo n. 9, which overlooks the south side of the Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum) the most famous monument in the world.

Viola, the rich and depressed friend, lives alone with her psychopathic son at Palazzo Sacchetti, in via Giulia, where she organizes a lunch in which no one will participate. Not far from her live the phantom Princes Colonna di Reggio, the nobles who have set up their family museum at Palazzo Taverna. Sorrentino plays with the identities of the places, intertwines them and transforms them according to what his narrative needs: the "palaces of the princesses" that Stefano opens for Jep and Ramona are actually museums that preserve some of the most fascinating works in Rome. From the door of Santa Maria del Priorato to the Aventine, with the most famous keyhole in Rome, to the sculptures of the Capitoline Museums, from the courtyard of Palazzo Altemps to the monumental staircase of Palazzo Braschi, from the Fornarina of Raffaello in Palazzo Barberini to the false perspective of Borromini in Palazzo Spada, up to the sculptural group of the Niobidi in the heart of Villa Medici, where their fascinating night exploration ends. Rome is wonderful especially when it appears deserted: so it manages to admire it Gambardella in his walks at dawn, returning from the most mundane festivals.

Sorrentino explores in his own way the most famous places of the Gianicolo: the cannon that fires right at the beginning of the film is located under the terrace where stands the equestrian statue of Garibaldi, surrounded by busts of the heroes of the Roman Republic. A few steps away, the water of the Fontanone flows, surmounting the complex of San Pietro in Montorio, with the Tempietto del Bramante. Even when the camera leaves the Historic Center, Rome appears monumental: the performance of contemporary art is staged in the Parco degli Acquedotti, while for the funeral of the only woman loved by Jep the director has preferred the Monumental Cemetery of Verano. Sorrentino often makes surprising choices, such as setting up a clothing store in the atrium of the Salone delle Fontane at the EUR, where the monologue of the funeral takes place. "La Grande Bellezza" is a film between dream and reality, just like the exhibition of photographs under the loggia of Villa Giulia or the trick that makes the giraffe disappear, in the heart of archaeological Rome, at the Baths of Caracalla.