In Puglia there must be something that attracts filmmakers, as more and more movies are being shot here.
It’s probably because this land offers evocative images and weird situations; for instance, an Ape (a three-wheeled vehicle typically owned by Puglia’s farmers) that passes by in the middle of the town just as a bride, getting out of the wedding car, tries to manage her gown, veil and emotions. Even the best director would not be able to render the image of the Ape passing by at that very moment when the bride enters the church. Perfect!
As the idea of a movie-like wedding in Puglia kept on coming to my mind, I decided to write down this article. After thinking about the things that a wedding planner and a filmmaker have in common, I reviewed the trailers of several movies shot in Puglia and recognized so many beloved places of my land. I have understood that it really is a perfect movie set. Do you want to discover it? Come with me!
My dear Puglia, how many films!
In Puglia have been shot many, many movies. And let me tell you that in several scenes you will find weddings – love stories blossomed in white alleys, wild corners, cliffs that gently slope down to the sea.
Love, here, is a simple thing – for instance, that of two lovers waiting for the sunrise at the easternmost point of Italy (Otranto), with the mountains of Albania standing out against the sky in the distance. Maybe some filmmaker would steal my idea. But I would not be jealous; indeed, I would look forward to seeing the movie!
While you try to imagine the scene at the lighthouse, you can make a movie tour through the films, love stories and ‘sposalizi’ (‘weddings’ in the local dialect) set in Puglia.
Fasten your seatbelts – Some loves blossom in the sun
Strong winds sometimes blow over love. So, it is necessary to… fasten the seatbelts. Though both born in Lecce, the two main characters of Ferzan Ozpetek’s “Fasten your seatbelts” belong to very different and seemingly distant worlds. It seems to confirm the saying that people are attracted to their opposites… and sometimes marry them. In an interview, Ozpetek said that Lecce is his favorite city, along with Istanbul and Rome (Vanity Fair, March 17, 2014); one wonders if his decision to set a love story in that city was not a coincidence. Could it be that the director himself has fallen in love?
Places of the movie: Lecce, Otranto, Torre Guaceto.
Tidbits: I would recognize among thousands the small square named after the poet Carducci and renamed “Ozpetek square”; the Tamborrino palace (where the female protagonist lives); and the former filling station that has turned into a pub in the movie.
Inspiration for a wedding planner: Let your imagination run free, always! The creative reuse of the filling station is a perfect example.
Soul Mate – Love and witchcrafts
The italian director Sergio Rubini, born in Puglia, has set many of his movies in his birth region. I suggest that you let the colors of each single scene fill your eyes. Indeed, in Rubini’s movies you will find the true Puglia, particularly in “Soul Mate”, where you can discover Puglia’s ancient traditions, omens, spells and witches, as well as hindered yet successful love stories.
Places of the movie: Gallipoli, Nardò, Santa Cesarea Terme, Gagliano del Capo (Ciolo area).
Inspiration for a wedding planner: Always make sure that the scissors, given to the bride to cut the ribbon before going out her house, work well.
Like loose cannons – love affairs, weddings and civil partnerships
In my opinion, “Loose Cannons” is one of the most beautiful films made by Ozpetek. It is a sort of family saga taking place in Baroque-style palaces, through mysteries and passions enshrined in the characters’ hearts. There is a long scene in which the grandmother’s memories flow freely, evoking her wedding day – a desperate bride who is going to marry a man she does not love. The city of Lecce, along with the red earth, the low dry-stone walls and the sighting towers, form the scenery for the woman acting in her bridal gown.
Places of the movie: Gallipoli’s seaside; the pasta manufacturing plant at Corigliano d’Otranto (it really exists); the areas near piazza Sant’Oronzo and via Paladini in Lecce.
Inspiration for a wedding planner: there cannot be a wedding in Puglia without low dry-stone walls and sighting towers.
The movie “The second wedding night” is set after the end of World War II. Puglia is perfect for vintage stories… including the old aunts!
Places of the movie: the countryside near the towns of Monopoli and Fasano; the Signorelli masseria, in the Pezze Vicine area; via della Scogliera, in the town of Savelletri; the hamlet of Torre Canne; the town of Ostuni, with the San Vito Martire church and Largo Trinchera.
Inspiration for a wedding planner: a photo of the bride and groom with all their aunts.
“Il giorno più bello” (The most beautiful day): the film is about gay marriages, true love and the fear of coming out in a small town of southern Italy.
Places of the movie: Itria Valley.
A long journey – All for a wedding
A journey from the United States to Puglia to shoot ten episodes of the american soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful”, including a ‘sposalizio’: its producers spared no expense. After all, the soap opera celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Places of the soap opera: Polignano a Mare, Alberobello, Fasano (Masseria San Domenico).
On route to Conversano, a promised bride – a noblewoman – travels with a horse keeper, meeting many adventures along the way. “The Bride’s Journey” is another film shot by Sergio Rubini in his Puglia.
Places of the movie: Conversano, Gravina di Puglia, Noci, Altamura, Bitonto, Vieste.
So, I am now sure that Puglia is a perfect setting for weddings. As I have already said, there are many points in common between a movie director and a wedding planner. After all, organizing a wedding means that you have to direct it, from settings to lighting, and so on. It is always an exciting challenge for me, especially because the two main characters change each time. And… “Lights, cameras, action!”