10 ways to find La Dolce Vita in Italy

Chris Leadbeater
Famed Italian director Federico Fellini would have turned 100 today - Rilind H (Rilind H (Photographer) - [None]

Sixty years on from La Dolce Vita, Chris Leadbeater goes in search of Fellini’s famous film locations

1. Sweet thing

This week brings a major milestone for Italian cinema. Wednesday (Feb 5) marks the 60th anniversary of La Dolce Vita, the most famous film of Federico Fellini, the country’s greatest director. How to salute this big-screen genius? Perhaps a long weekend in Rimini (visit-rimini.com). A four-night stay at the four-star Mercure Rimini Lungomare, flying from Stansted to Bologna on April 23, costs from £180pp (lastminute.com).

Federico Fellini is beachy Rimini's most famous son Credit: getty

2. Roman holiday

La Dolce Vita is an elaborate portrait of a dissolute journalist wining and womanising his way around Rome. Having used locations such as St Peter’s Square, the Baths of Caracalla and (notably) the Trevi Fountain, it is easily traced in the modern city. Viator.com sells a near-three-hour private tour (ref: 20455P167) of the relevant sites for £121pp. A four-night stay at the five-star Palazzo Naiadi, flying out of Heathrow on March 18, starts at £583pp (ba.com/holidays).

The Baths of Caracalla Credit: getty

3. 8.5th wonder

A weekend in Rome can also be a chance to visit one of the director’s favourite places to work – he crafted parts of La Dolce Vita and 8½ at Cinecittà, the film studios on the south-east flank of the city. The complex is open to the public for tours (cinecittasimostra.it; €15/£13), and has a permanent exhibition devoted to Fellini.

Parts of La Dolce Vita and 8½ were made at Cinecittà Credit: Cinecittà

4. Local hero

Fellini’s ghost can be found in Rimini – a city which, although it only really framed the first 18 years of his life, clutches his legacy close. A museum in his honour, run by the Fellini Foundation (federicofellini.it), is due to open in December. It will explore his career via drawings and costumes – as well as celebrations of his movies.

A museum in the Director's honour is due to open in December in Rimini Credit: Fellini Foundation

5. Suite dreams

Fellini returned to Rimini most decisively with Amarcord (1973) – his semi-autobiographical semi-comedy about an adolescent boy growing up on its outskirts during the fascist era. The film made heavy reference to the Grand Hotel, the resort’s 1908-built five-star dame, which was given a gaudy, dreamlike air by a series of fantasy scenes. You can, of course, stay there; double rooms start at €128 (grandhotelrimini.com).

6. Juliet, bravo

The 1965 Fellini fandango Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta degli Spiriti) made fine use of Fregene – a seaside haven, just over 20 miles west of Rome on Italy’s Tyrrhenian shore – as the setting for its amusing yarn about a middle-aged woman trying to leave her cheating husband. A suitable place for a summer break? Indeed. A seven-night stay at the three-star Hotel Miraggio, leaving Gatwick on July 4, starts at £426pp, via Expedia.co.uk

7. Eternally yours

If you want to delve into Fellini’s art as deeply as any film critic, you may want to point your cultured soul towards “Cinema & The Eternal City” – a six-day group tour of Rome that MartinRandall.com has planned for Sep 7-12. The itinerary will assess the capital via movie locations and lectures. From £2,780pp, with flights. 

Tour Rome's most cinematic spots with Martin Randall Credit: istock

8. Gran Torino

It may be best known for churning out cars, and for Cristiano Ronaldo posturing on the pitch in a Juventus shirt, but Turin also has a page in the Fellini story. The capital of Piedmont is home to Italy’s National Museum of Cinema (museocinema.it; €11), where the director of La Dolce Vita features prominently. A three-night stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Sitea starts at £598pp (including flights), with KirkerHolidays.com

Explore Fellini's movies in the capital of Piedmont Credit: getty

9. Bologna marks

Get set, go – to Emilia-Romagna, which provides a wider backdrop to Rimini’s sun-seeking. Explore.co.uk sells an eight-day group walking tour (ref: TOER) of what is a glorious region, visiting the food-focused cities of Bologna and Parma, and the hills and vineyards in between. Next departure May 24. From £1,413pp, with flights.

Emilia-Romagna provides a wider backdrop to Rimini’s sun-seeking Credit: getty

10. Night out

You don’t need to go to Italy to tip your hat to Fellini. The British Film Institute is running a centenary season that will see La Dolce Vita, Juliet of the Spirits, I Vitelloni, Nights of Cabiria and 8½ screened at cinemas from Aberdeen to Brighton between now and April (bfi.org.uk)

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