Discover Tuscany through the eyes of “The English Patient”
One of the great films of the 20th century, The English Patient tells the story of a nurse caring for a badly burned patient, in a villa in Northern Italy, at the end of the Second World War. The exceptional cast, headed up by Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche, won multiple Oscars and much of it was shot in Tuscany, not far from Hotel Savoy. Uncover a different side of Tuscany on your next visit to Florence and walk in the footsteps of the cast and crew of the film, visiting some of its most impressive locations.
Begin in the beautiful Val d’Orcia region, where a large part of the film was shot. Wander the streets of Pienza, located between Montalcino and Montepulciano, south of Siena, for a glimpse of the Renaissance. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, this picturesque town is known as the ‘ideal Renaissance city’ for its rational layout of 16th century boulevards, squares and palaces. Next, visit Cosona, a fortified 15th century complex situated on a hilltop in the Crete Senesi, for breath-taking views out over the countryside.
Then, onto the charming Monastery of Sant’Anna in Camprena (now a farmhouse overseen by the diocese of Montepulciano - Chiusi - Pienza). This former monastery complex includes a church and small cemetery and served as the refuge of the eponymous patient. Some of the most moving nostalgic flashback scenes were shot here by Oscar award-winning cinematographer John Seale, both inside and outside, and film-lovers will remember the iconic bell tower rising above the ochre hills.
Other external shots were filmed in the rustic hamlet of Ripafratta, between Pisa and Arezzo, where you can see the ancient medieval fortress and the bridge over the River Serchio,. One of the first towers of the fortified Ripafratta was built as early as 970, probably under Pisan rule; in 1100 the towers were expanded to become one of the most unmistakable elements of the landscape.
During the film, you’ll also catch a glimpse of the 13th century Gothic Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo. Restored in the 14th century, and inspired in its simplicity by the Franciscan aesthetic, inside its Bracci Chapel you can admire the splendid frescoes of Piero della Francesca, depicting the 15 scenes of the Legend of the True Cross. This is where Indian bomb maker Kip hoisted Juliette Binoche by rope to admire the beautiful ceiling images.
The cinematography, panoramic aesthetic and stunning locations won The English Patient many plaudits, a testament to which is the 9 Academy Awards it received making it one of the most recognised films of all time. Speak to our Concierge team ahead of your next stay with us and we will be delighted to arrange for you to experience the unique atmosphere of Val d’Orcia.
Follow the steps of ‘The English Patient’ with a dedicated route by our Concierge at Hotel Savoy and discover the rich history of Tuscany. For more information and to book, please contact our Concierge at email@example.com or call +39 055 2735 836.
© Photos by Manuela Riso