Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 28, 2014

The Great Beauty

La Grande Bellezza, The Great Beauty, is a movie set in Rome, and the city is the star. Many movies have had this glorious city as the backdrop. People come to Rome to throw coins in the Trevi Fountain because of a movie. The money is collected and given to a charity…a good outcome.

La Dolce Vita made in 1960 takes the viewer through the gorgeous streets of Rome with Marcello Mastroianni as a bored writer. Paolo Sorrentino’s movie takes us on a similar trip with another bored writer, Jeb, who wrote a novel early in his career allowing him to live the high life for years to come.

Along with 2 nights at the Regina Baglioni we were driven in comfort on La Grande Bellezza Experience with a fabulous guide, Beata. As well as having an encyclopedic knowledge of Roman sites, art and history, she was charming and led us on a delightful tour of many of the scenes featured in the movie.

The film begins at Gianicolo and the firing of the canon at midday.


Gianicolo is the perfect place for a panoramic view of Rome.


Garibaldi sits high on his horse in the park at the top of Gianicolo, keeping an eye on things off to the side, or perhaps looking in the direction of the monument to his wife, who fought beside him.





Nearby, another scene from the movie is the beautiful Aqua Paola fountain, built in the late 17th century to celebrate the reopening of a Roman aqueduct created in 109 AD by Emperor Trajan. Here a tourist dies after photographing Rome below…perhaps it was too much for him.


A beautiful fountain where the main character drinks while watching children run though gorgeous gardens is another stop, along with the stunning little Tempietto built by Bramante in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio. It has a delightful mosaic floor and you can look through the metal grid to the floor below where a little girl in the film hides from her mother.

In one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie Jeb and his companion look through a keyhole for an amazing view of Rome. We lined up too and it was fabulous, but unfortunately my camera wasn’t able to capture it.



They are then taken through a series of gorgeous locations by a mysterious gentleman with a precious set of keys allowing him access to secret Rome. You must see the movie for these locations alone.

One of them is the optical illusion in Palazzo Spada. In the arcaded courtyard by Borromini, what appears to be a lifesize sculpture, is only 60 centimetres high.

Photos were not allowed inside, (don’t you hate that?) so my photo taken through glass is not the best.


In a day of amazing sights, the baths of Caracalla, built between 212 and 216, stand out. The place is huge. Thousands of Romans from all classes could bathe for free every day. In the film a giraffe appears in one of the more bizarre scenes.


…and this leads to our next stop. Aqua Marcia aqueduct was built specifically to serve the baths. We drove along the Apian Way to one of the remaining aqueducts, surely one of Rome’s most useful inventions.






We ended our day at the penthouse apartment mentioned in the previous post, just the place for one of Jeb’s party scenes which pop up all through the movie.

Even if you haven’t seen the movie, La Grande Bellezza Tour of Rome is a great way to see this incredible city. Regina Baglioni has put together a special package for a 2 night stay at the hotel, lunch in their restaurant, aperitivo and the tour, and more. Click here to see the details. This is exactly what our little blogging group was treated to and I can report that it was excellent in every way…thank you Baglioni Hotels.

Thank you especially to our guide, Beata, her knowledge of Rome is amazing. It is wonderful to learn the history and stories behind the ancient sites, they become so much more interesting.


Baglioni Regina, Via Veneto, Rome.


  1. Wow Deb how fabulous – we saw the movie together & I have bookmarked this for a future visit to do a tour with her

    • I liked the movie much more the second time, especially after the tour. I could pick out lots of places I recognized in the film. You would love the tour.

  2. Sounds like the kind of tour I would love Debra. I used to adore Marcello Mastroianni, Shall watch La Grande Bellezza before I visit Rome, hopefully soon 🙂

    • It was a great tour, I would recommend it to anyone.

  3. Just another example of you taking me place to where I want to go. In this case, Gianicolo is a place I haven’t been, and I think I recall this place from several of your past posts. Wonderful.

    • I have written about Gianicolo before. It was great to be there for the firing of the canon.

      • Cheers to my memory remembering your efforts!

  4. Beautiful places and photographs, The passage is wonderful, Thank you dear Debra, love, nia

    • Rome is a fabulous place. There is always something new to discover.

  5. Amazing! Must see the film.

  6. You might alsobe interested in my take on the Janiculo at

    • Thank you for the link Francis.

  7. Sounds like a memorable experience. Glad that you enjoyed it!

    • I loved it. The hotel was wonderful and the tour amazing.

  8. Reblogged this on carmillaweirdlove.

  9. Mia bella amica…un bello blog!
    I have seen the film 3 times and I am now reading the script in Italian- a great way to assist my developing lingual skills. Great to know about this hotel and their package….I will for sure let others know. I have returned to Brisbane but am taking the family back to Italy on the 29th June…will you still be there?? Will have a car so we could drive to bagno di lucca to see you?!?!

    • I enjoyed the film much more the second time around. There are some great lines in it and of course Rome shines like a star all the way through the film. I will be leaving Bagni di Lucca on 29th June, so we will have to meet in Brisbane when you return.

  10. These trees . . . just classic !

    Nirav .

  11. We looked through that keyhole too and I was desperate to try and capture it by camera but of course it wasn’t possible!

    • If there hadn’t been a queue behind me I would have tried a bit longer.

  12. I love doing film walks so have added this to my list of things to do next time I’m in Roma, thanks!

    • There are some very beautiful scnes of Rome in the movie. I think it is fun to watch a film after having been to some of the places.

      • Yes the film was a bit of a love song to Roma I thought and definitely made me want to return again! I’ve also retraced the steps of an old Katherine Hepburn film called “Summertime” in Venice – not much changes here and practically every setting was exactly the same! Bliss!

      • It was a lot of fun to see the scenes from the film and then watch the movie again.

  13. What a wonderful experience….great blog.

    • Thanks, it was a fun day.

  14. What a fantastic tour, Debra! I haven’t seen the movie, but absolutely love the beautiful city of Rome.

    • The movie is better on a second viewing, but Rome shines all the way through it.

  15. Love the aqueduct photos with the umbrella pines! I was at Palazzo Spada last September and took photos of the perspective. No one said “no” and I must have missed signs.

    • We had a sour faced guard watching us to make sure we didn’t take photos. Apart from glaring at us she was supposed to give us a commentary on the illusion, but she didn’t bother.

  16. Wonderful stuff. A good guide can make all the difference and help you see even familiar sights through new eyes.

    • Some of the places were very familiar, I had not been to the Caracalla baths and the aqueduct…amazing.

  17. How fabulous! You’ve captured some great insights into a different part of Rome. Now I have to see the movie!

    • See the movie, then come to Rome and do the tour.

  18. Reblogged this on Junefinnigan's Weblog and commented:
    Great coverage of a visit to Rome… Bagni Di Lucca and Beyond.

  19. A wonderful post Debra – I feel like I was there with you, especially with all your amazing photos. Thank you for sharing your experience! I need to see the film a second time too!

    • I enjoyed the film much more the second time, especially after seeing the scenes from the movie. The tour was wonderful, it wad very well put together.

  20. What an inspiration. I love the idea of seeing Rome this way. I loved the movie though it’s not an easy film to watch in many ways. Rome is ancient but always so modern too. Fabulous post Deb. A great heads up. xx

    • I found the movie very difficult the first time. I had to look away in the Botox scene. I actually enjoyed it the second time…there are some great lines in it.

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