Posted by: Jerry Garrett | May 10, 2010

Where Was “Letters to Juliet” Filmed?

The lavish Villa Arvedi near Verona was seen in the movie - but only in one scene.

Where was the movie “Letters to Juliet” filmed? Well, Verona, Italy gets top billing – but perhaps not deservedly so. Yes, they go to Casa di Giulietta (the 13th century house actually has little or nothing to do with any real “Juliet”). Not everything that is purportedly shot in Verona is actually shot there.

Soave, Lake Garda and even Livorno get mentioned in the script, but the filmmakers really didn’t go to any of those places. (They did, however, stop at Cantina di Soave long enough to sample their famous Rocca Sveva white wine!) The lavish Villa Arvedi near Verona’s airport was seen – but only in a one-scene cameo. Siena‘s historic central plaza, where the famous Palio di Siena horse race is run, is seen from a breathtaking aerial view. (The New York scenes were shot in places like Bryant Park in midtown, and on Elizabeth Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.)

This is indeed Casa di Giulietta; but if she ever lived, she never lived here.

But the stars of the show go largely uncredited and unidentified. Would you believe the movie is actually something of an infomercial for Tuscany’s Caparzo wines and tourist accommodations? Yes, the movie’s winery is a real place. Actually, Caparzo is in more than one place – its vineyards, estates and residences cover large areas of Tuscany.

The Relais Borgo Scopeto is sublime - and hard to find!

Most of the movie seems to have been filmed in and around Caparzo’s sublime Relais Borgo Scopeto – that’s the hotel with swimming pool they stay in. It is in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area just northeast of Siena. The borgo (neighborhood, in Italian) surrounding the inn is where Caparzo’s well-regarded Chianti Classico and Tenuta wines are grown.

The main Caparzo Winery and agriturismo Podere La Casa are located on five hillsides surrounding the beautiful Tuscan hill town of Montalcino.

The accommodations are all available to the public for rental by the day, week or month. I’ve included links to the websites for them; in addition to those, I would also recommend searching http://www.vrbo.com (Property listing # 223379 Wow!) for tourist properties near Siena; a couple of them (at least) are real finds – if you look hard enough. Prices double in high season (summer).

Montalcino, a Tuscan hill town, is surrounded by Caparzo vineyards. (Jerry Garrett Photo)

Montalcino is where the fabulous Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino wines are grown. The Rosso was a recent pick of the month from a wine connoisseur’s website, which noted “its intense, spicy black cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors. Its tightly structured with fine-tuned tannins.”

Caparzo's famed Brunello

(Let it breathe for at least 30 minutes after opening, and pair with a grilled steak or dry, hard cheese like a Pienza. $22 a bottle)

In 2005, I had the opportunity to stay at Relais Borgo Scopeto (rated four out of five stars). The driver who was supposed to pick me up at the Florence airport never materialized – so I rented a car and went off in search of it myself. I figured I could find any place. But I couldn’t find that place – not without help from a search party sent out to look for me.

A junk shop in Castelnuovo

The address is in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area – but that’s 15 miles east; it’s actually nearest to Vagliagli – but you’ll need help from a good map to find it. (Dirt roads are involved!) When the searchers finally found me, I had just spent three, glorious, completely serendipitous hours “lost in Tuscany”; it was an odyssey through every back road imaginable, immersing myself in the almost unbelievable beauty of the Tuscan countryside. If you should ever have the opportunity, I suggest you also try to lose yourself in Tuscany!

But what about Borgo Scopeto? It advertises itself as being on a hill overlooking Siena, but you can hardly see that far for the rows of cedars (a Tuscan landscape signature) and other huge trees encircling the property. The inn’s rooms are more like villas; my room was in the property’s iconic tower, from which the sweeping views of Tuscany are best seen.

The tower provides super Tuscan views

And yes, the Tuscan moon does look as amazing as it did in the movie. The relais is far from any city lights, so the stars are innumerable. The Milky Way looked like a cloud bank of planets. The sunsets and sunrises glow with an intensity seen in few other places on Earth. At least that’s how it was every night I was there.

The filmmakers do a clever job of looking like they went all over Italy. But I would estimate at least 80 percent of the filming was done in Tuscany – either at Borgo Scopeto or in the Montalcino area. In fact, the place where they eventually “find’ the clue that leads them to unlock the mystery of Lorenzo’s whereabouts is recognizable as the first place they looked. But I don’t want to give away the plot as completely as the movie’s trailer did (see below).

Interested in the drive from Tuscany to Verona? The scenery is extraordinary. I took that trip last year, in a Maserati GranTurismo S (somewhat more fun than the Fiat 500 or the Lancia Delta the characters drive in the movie), I was on my way to see the opera “Aida” at Verona’s magical Arena amphitheater (my No. 1 sightseeing pick in the entire Verona and surrounding Veneto areas). The Arena is a well-preserved example of what a Roman amphitheater should look like, if it had not been ruined and looted like Rome’s Colosseum.

I digress. Back to “Letters to Juliet“, it’s a delightful romantic fantasy (and book). Many who see the movie will probably be most interested to ask – not about the wines, or the lovely inns, or even about the beauty of Tuscany – but about whether the lovelorn really do leave their notes to Juliet on her wall (they do). And if her “secretaries” really answer them (they do). In fact, on Valentine’s Day each year, prizes are awarded by the secretaries for the preceding year’s best letters! So, summon your “inner Sophie” and write one – you can even mail them in.

Juliet's statue

Should you decide to go in person, is there a best time – an ultimate day – to visit Juliet’s house, gaze up at her balcony, or touch the breast of the 13-year-old’s statue? Try either July 31, August 1 or September 16; each is recognized by some component of Juliet Capulet’s admirers as her birthday.

Jerry Garrett

May 10, 2010

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Responses

  1. Check out http://www.tuscany-villas.it for a great selection of villas and farmhouse rentals in Tuscany. In the Montalcino, Siena and Castelnuovo Berardenga areas there are hundreds of beautiful villas to rent. Both luxury villas and affordable accommodations can be found.

  2. […] blog he posted an informative article about the filming of ‘Letters to Juliet’ – check it out. This entry was posted on Thursday, May 13th, 2010 at 4:30 pm and is filed under Video. You can […]

  3. Wow – thank you for all the insight into the location of Letter to Juliet. I just saw the movie yesterday and was so in awe of the scenery. I was in Tuscany about 7 years ago, and just kept thinking, that looks familiar, and after reading your info, I was right – the filming basically took place in the same areas I visited. Verona was never on my “Must See” list, but now it might be.

    Thanks again – I found your blog by accident, but now I’ll keep visiting for interesting insights.

    • Tuscany is almost indescribably beautiful. The filmmakers were there in the fall, when everything is starting to turn to gold. This makes for exquisite “golden light” in their early morning and sunset shots. I love it also in the spring when everything is so many impossibly beautiful shades of green, and the fields become carpets of red poppies. Thanks for writing!

  4. Hello, Thank you for your feedback about the movie. I saw it last week also and I was very interested to know where it was filmed for I am going to Siena in August. I am especially interested in finding where exactly is the property where the wedding scene was filmed. I just called the Borgo Scopeto Relais, but they did not know what I was talking about??? Had not seen the movie. Any help you can give me to find that enchanting place would be greatly appreciated.
    Grazzie
    Lorenza

    • Sorry for the tardy reply. I believe the wedding scene was filmed at one of the Caparzo winery properties near Montalcino. see this photo: http://www.caparzo.it/img/foto/foto_C.jpg. I’m surprised that the folks at Borgo Scopeto Relais being so clueless. This column has already referred more than 120 people to their reservation site (as of 6/5/10)!

  5. Hi again,

    I am on my way to post this movie’s location too when I found your blog (again) haha.. Beautiful location. I have friends studying in Italy now, they post the pictures but this movie is make me drooling more! great facts by the way. I’m gonna put link to your blog 🙂

    • Good to hear from you, and glad that you liked the column. Hope you stop in again soon.

  6. Thanks for the insight! i just visited verona and i wonder if the book/movie ruined some of the magic of the letters written to juliet from the publicity as their were no areas for letters to be posted… only large walls with writing on them that apparently get replaced every few months.

  7. Hi =D
    Happened to come about your blog in searching for where was letters of Juliet filmed….. I have to say that I have {had} no wish to visit any location outside the USA but after seeing this movie & reading your blog…. wow! I think I just changed my attitude towards this =D I don’t know I figuered everything in the movie was a “set” but you have proved this wrong =D…. now to set a time….. hmmmmm?
    Super mil gracias!

    • El gusto es mio, Lydia! Do yourself a favor you will never forget, by visiting these places.

  8. does anybody know where the small stone church is located? the one where the young couple got married?

    • I believe it is on the winery’s property near Montepulciano.

  9. Thanks a lot for all the informaiton. We just watched the DVD and are interested in all the locations the movie was shot.

    • Thanks for writing! A lot of people seem to be fascinated with this movie’s locations. More than 675 people (so far) have clicked from this blog to the site for Borgo Scopeto Relais.They are probably booked up for years in advance now! You’re welcome!

  10. OH MY GOD I LOVE ITALY AND I’VE SEEN IT JUST IN TV. I WOULD LOVE TO GO SOMEDAY. ITS MY DREAM SINCE I WAS LITTLE . IS AMAZING HOW THE NATURE UP THERE IS SOOOO BEAUTIFUL LIKE NO OTHER. IM IN LOVE WITH ITALY!!!!!!! “Addio, amore mio”

    • Make your dream come true. GO!!!

  11. Enjoyed reading your blog and info on your website…..we are in the midst of planning our 25th anniversary this Fall. We have always wanted to visit Italy and this movie just sealed the deal. We were thinking of Verona, Siena, Florence (we have heard Florence is amazing as well)….any must sees or places to stay that you would suggest for a romantic holiday!!

    • Thank you for your kind words. In Tuscany, I love the small hill towns such as Montalcino (a real favorite) and Montepulciano. These are places that you can see in the movie. But there are so many fabulous choices. You may like larger cities. In that case, Florence is unforgettable. Fall is a terrific time to visit; the tourists of summer are gone, the trees are turning gold, and the weather is usually perfect.

    • I loved reading this post Judy! My husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding Anniversary in Tuscany this fall as well. This was one of my favorite movies. We can’t wait to explore all the wonderful places it portrayed. Many wonderful blessings to you. And thank you to Jerry for writing this 🙂

      • Thanks so much! It was a lucky coincidence to have stayed at Borgo Scopeto!

  12. Hi, Jerry….same Judy from Feb. post…..just booked flights and want to stay in Rome for a few days….any suggestions….do not want to spend a fortune but want to stay in a nice clean place close to everything!!
    Also would you suggest taking a train from Rome to Florence and renting a car from there to save time etc.
    Starting the countdown!! 🙂

  13. […] From Jerrygarrett.wordpress.com : The filmmakers do a clever job of looking like they went all over Italy. But I would estimate at least 80 percent of the filming was done in Tuscany – either at Borgo Scopeto or in the Montalcino area. In fact, the place where they eventually “find’ the clue that leads them to unlock the mystery of Lorenzo’s whereabouts is recognizable as the first place they looked. More in here. […]

  14. Hi Jerry,

    It is Melody, the “other” 25 year anniversary traveler. I have been looking for Caparzo locations around Montepulciano and haven’t been able to locate any. The only one that comes up is the Borgo Scopeto. Any ideas where I can find the others?

    Grazie!

    Melody

    • Hi Melody,
      Check out their website, http://www.caparzo.com, and go from there. Let me know if that does not answer your question.

      • Yes, I tried that Jerry. It’s not very user friendly. I’m going to keep searching. If nothing else, we will just explore when we get there! Thanks for your help 🙂

      • If any of you folks decide to get married at the Caparzo Estate, or Borgo Scopeto, please invite me to the wedding. I may not show up, but I will give you one heckuva nice bottle of the local red.

  15. Now that’s a good deal! Will do 🙂

  16. Via facebook my husband, a retired professional basketball coach, has recently renewed his relationship with some campers and counselors from three wonderful years of Italian basketball camps back in the mid 80s. He have always preferred Spain. We recently watched the movie and Jerry, with all the information you have provided, I now know we are definitely returning to Italy for our 60th wedding anniversary in 2012. Thank you so much for all your wonderful insight and advice. I am also reviewing my Italian from so many years ago.

    • Thank you, Phyllis, for taking the time to write, and for your kind words. I salute you and your husband for 60 years of marriage. What a wonderful love story!

  17. Magnificent Tuscany was scenery to many of my fav movies, clearly an excellent location choice. “Letters to Juliet”, “Twilight”, “Dancers”, “Room with a view”, “Under the Tuscan sun”, “Tea with Mussolini”, “Where angels fear to tread”, “Midsummer’s Night dream”, to name just a few. Lose yourself in Tuscany, by all means, I did just that: got lost a couple of hours, found my way to a small café after being soaking wet by the rain, sat under the stars and had my hair adorned with poppies. Why not? The one thing that I wish had happen was to find diapers for my son in the local pharmacy. This took place 21 years ago, I am sure things are now different. And Italians are still the hottest looking men on the planet.

    • What a wonderful list of movies! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Jerry: You have answered all my questions! I have seen “Letters to Juliet” several
    times. A real feel good movie with great actors and the beautiful of Tuscany.
    After finally getting the info of the hotel in the movie I will be on my way to Italy
    in a few months. I definitely will stay at the Relais Borgo Scopeto and visit the other
    sights in the movie.
    Again, many thanks for the info!
    Regards,
    Curtis Turner

    • Thanks, Curtis. I am also reminded, after sitting through another viewing of “Under the Tuscan Sun” last night that Montepulciano – along with nearby Montalcino – is well worth a visit. Buon viaggio!

  19. Jerry: Thanks for the “Under the Tuscan Sun” reminder. It has been almost
    a year since I last viewed it. I will get a DVD and watch it again. I still think
    “Letters to Juliet” is a beautiful movie. Amanda Seyfried was perfect for
    the role; the entire cast was fantastic and add the scenery of Tuscany and
    you have a real keeper. Again, once I found your site all my questions about
    the filming locations were answered
    Curtis

  20. Hi Jerry – I stumbled across your blog as I googled to see what wineries were featured in Letters to Juliet. I’ll be moving to Livorno in November for a few years and feel like there’s so much to explore in the area… especially since I’m from Eastern Washington and have grown to love wine 🙂 Thank you for posting this and any other information or suggests will be greatly appreciated! 🙂

  21. […] The Talented Mr.Ripley and Nine were some movies that took film locations in Italy. Here’s a great reference of the movie’s location. Eat, Pray & Love (2010) – Bali, IndonesiaBased on novel and true […]

  22. […] in Italy. Here’s a great reference of the movie’s […]

  23. I have just found your blog. I just loved it, it s perfect. You have answered all my questions regarding the film locations.
    We will be taking my daughter to Italy as a birthday present ( we are from Argentina)
    She chose this present after watching the movieand falling in love with the beautiful landscapes.
    Your blog was of great help. thankyou again
    Eugenia Rocchetti

    • Your kind words are appreciated, Eugenia. I hope you have a wonderful trip. Tuscany is magical.

  24. I will be visiting Rome, for four days, in this month. Is there a trip to visit places where the film was taken? Thanks for this blog.

    • Maria,
      I don’t know for sure. But you could certainly ask in Rome at a travel agent about going to Siena. I’m sure there are bus trips from Rome to Siena. From Siena, it would be quite easy to tour not only that amazing city, but also to hire a guide (or even just a taxi) to take you to places such as Borgo Scopeto, which is only a few miles (less than 10) away from Siena; or down to Montalcino and/or Montepulciano. There are bus tours to those cities every day. When I visited Borgo Scopeto, they had a shuttle to Siena. You might contact them and ask.
      Now, if you have a car, and you can navigate yourself around, you have a little more flexibility. You could definitely drive north a couple of hours from Rome and – with the help of a decent road map – find most of them yourself. The Caparzo wines website offers maps of where their facilities are. You can also email them for more information. They seem quite happy to help our readers – especially since this blog has sent them more than 1,000 referrals! (Seems like they should send me a nice bottle of wine, at least!) That’s the way I would do it, but I drive like an Italian. A lot of visitors to Italy are intimidated about driving a car there; but it’s not as scary as you might think.
      I hope this is helpful. If you need more detail, please write again and I will try to provide it.

  25. I just saw the movie too and couldnt’ believe how much the filming locations look like Sonoma and Napa Counties where I grew up. I mean they look identical. I once asked a restaurant owner of an Italian restaurant I used to work at in Santa Rosa, Ca why there was such a large Italian population in Sonoma County and he told me that it reminded them of home becuase Sonoma County looked alot like Italy. I can now see what he ment.

  26. Hi,
    I really tried to find the place where Lorenzo and Claire got married, but I’m not sucesfull….Could you help me please? I’d like to know the name of villa…
    Thanks,
    Tereza

    • On the grounds of the Carparzo wineries in Tuscany. Contact the folks at the front desk of Borgo Scopeto for exact locations.

  27. .how to find the scrip of letters to juliete movie???

  28. Hola jerry, im going to Italy the last week of july, HELP!! any tip you can give me will help or places i should see since it’s my 1st time and it will take me some time to go back 🙂

    • Some questions: What airport are you flying into? How are you going to be getting around? Train? Rental car? Bus? How long will you be there? Do you want to see all the touristy things, or the real Italy? It is actually quite huge, with so much to see, it might be good to concentrate on one area.

      • I’m arriving to Milan by train coming from Paris then i wanna go to Pisa and Rome. i wanna do all the traveling by train, what do you think? Also i wanna see the real Italy and eat the best gelato. I’m catholic so the vatican is a must !! any help will do thanks a bunches 🙂

      • I’ve done this exact trip! Central Milan is quite elegant – the cathedrals, the gallerias, the designer shops. But it can be seen, and crossed off your to-do list, rather quickly. I took the train from Milan to Riomaggiore on Italy’s famed Cinque Terra coast and stayed at Affitacamere Alla Marina (info@allamarina.com) and the proprietor Sandro Pasini was a wonderful resource in recommending things to see and do, including the famous coastal walks, in this most lovely part of Italy. Safe, secure, intimate and a window into the “real” Italy. From Riomaggiore, it is only about an hour on the train to Pisa, Portofino and even Florence. I thought it was a good base for many different day trips. Sandro was soooo nice. He even invited my wife and I to dine with his family in their home (and give my wife cooking lessons!). Pisa is a must-see. But it can be seen in a few hours – a morning or an afternoon. Pisa is a touristy place that, imho, isn’t a good value for an overnight stay. The train ride along the coast is lovely, and it can be taken all the way to Rome. (For the fast trains, you go through Florence; the train route isn’t nearly as lovely, but it is quick.) If you go to Florence, don’t try to see the many possible sights without a guide! If you take the train between Florence and Siena, you will see not only the best of Tuscany’s countryside, but also the entire chianti region – and, near Siena, the area where “Letters to Juliet” was filmed.
        If you arrive in Rome by train, be extra careful – especially if you are traveling alone – in and around Termini train station! I don’t know your budget for hotels, but if you are on a tight budget, I stayed at Matisse B&B (matissebb.188814@venere.com), which is close enough to the train station to walk, but I would recommend a taxi. If you can spend a few euro, you might try something posh like the Marriott or other big hotels near Villa Borghese. I wish I could remember the name of the excellent guide we had through the Vatican, but he was from Florence, and accompanied us on tours in both places (The David, in Florence, was a highlight.) Generally, you can easily find a guide (they wear badges around their necks with their names on them) outside the Vatican. Prices are all similar. They are not expensive. Pick one with a smile and a good personality; some guides seem like they are on auto-pilot. Guides fluent in just about any language are available. Do not try to visit these places without a guide, however. You will stand in line with the masses for hours, waiting your turn to get in, and you won’t understand what you are seeing, as you are herded through like cattle. A good guided tour gets you an appointed time for entry, special access that avoids the lines, and gives you a predictable time frame in which to see (and get the most out of) the sights. We lucked out on our tour of the Vatican, as we were going through St. Peter’s, the Pope himself came in to pray, and the church was closed off from the public – with us in it! – for almost an hour.
        As to gelato, they make their own in Riomaggiore, from the wonderful lemons (and other fruits) that grow in the area. My favorite gelato place in Rome, btw, is right after you come out of St. Peter’s and walk out past the monuments where a street named Via della Consiliazione starts. It is on your right. I don’t know the name of it (many gelaterias don’t seem to have names), but it will have a crowd of people around it. You’ll know it when you see it! I hope that helps.

  29. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I took notes of all the places you said. I will travel like you said by train and spend a day in milan, pisa and save the most for rome. Everything was really helpful i hope i have a great experience like you and your wife. THANK YOU

    • I’m envious of what a great trip you’re going to have! Writing about it made me want to go again!

  30. Jerry, what hotel and area do you recommend to go to if you was a first time traveler to Italy? I’m going to look at the one’s you’ve commented on other post. Will be traveling next year there. Getting together all information at this time to book travel. Thank you! Have a great day!

    Judy

  31. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes
    which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here
    and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
    Excellent work!

  32. Thanks for finally writing about >Where Was “Letters
    to Juliet Filmed? | Garrett On The Road <Loved it!

  33. Anyone wanting to stay near Montalcino should look at Fattoria Armena. It’s a farm in the country outside the next town of Buonconvento with 3 delightful apartments and the owner loves cooking for her guests: http://www.summersleases.com/villas/small-villas/La-Stalla-Montalcino-farm-apartment/81

    • Thanks! Always appreciate suggestions such as this!

  34. I love this movie it was great and learning where it was filmed is even better. I hope that one day I can go visit!

  35. […] Where was “Letters to Juliet” Filmed (jerrygarrett.wordpress.com) […]

  36. I was curious when the movie Letters To Juliet was filmed, because of the terrible tragedy Vanessa Redgrave endured in 2009: with the loss of her daughter. I was noticing how beautiful and similar they were.

    • Not long after her daughter Natasha. The hair brushing scene was reportedly difficult for her to get through.

  37. […] The official M-B tours happen twice a year; one just happened the first week of June. Another is coming up the first week of September. They last three nights, and parts of four days. Up to 18 people can participate; everyone flies into Florence and is transported to a castle near Siena called Borgo Scopeto (it was featured in the 2010 rom-com “Letters To Juliet” and written about in this blog). […]


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