Art and culture

The little Italian town that inspired an Oscar-winning movie

CHRISTINA PÉREZ visits the Lombardy village where the hit movie Call Me by Your Name was filmed

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be entranced by Luca Guadagnino’s film Call Me by Your Name – and not just because of its haunting love story or its dreamy pace. The film, which won Best Writing Adapted Screenplay in this year’s Oscars, is set in Italy’s Lombardy region, a place whose sun-dappled gardens, classic architecture and quiet villages are lovingly captured.

The magnetism of the setting is no mistake. Guadagnino set the film in and around the tiny village of Crema – instead of the Mediterranean seaside region of Liguria where the book is based – precisely because of its timelessness and nostalgic authenticity. As the two male leads, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer), cycle through the region’s sweeping countryside, swim in its crystalline lakes and wander through the marble piazzas of its towns, it’s difficult not to be swept up by the location’s charm.

Villa Albergoni

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Guadagnino used the 17th century Villa Albergoni as the main shooting location for Call Me by Your Name. To create an intellectual-eclectic atmosphere for the film, furnishings, decor and landscaping (including the film’s peach and apricot trees) were sourced. The villa remains closed to the public, but it is possible to catch a glimpse of it: you’ll find it off Via Roma in the village of Moscazzano, just 15 minutes outside Crema.

Piazza Duomo

Italy, Lombardy, Crema, Piazza Duomo Square, Torre Civica, Tower
Riccardo Sala / Alamy Stock Photo / Argusphoto

On Oliver’s first day in Italy, Elio offers to show him around. They bike to Piazza Duomo in Crema’s centre, and it is here that Oliver asks, ‘what’s one to do around here?’ and Elio answers, ‘wait for the summer to end.’ A few steps from the piazza is the arched passageway where, later, Elio and Oliver steal a passionate moment behind the newsstand.

Lake garda

The Catullo's Villa (Grotte di Catullo), Lake Garda, Italy, Europe
Oliviero Olivieri / Getty Images

A day trip to Lake Garda provides the backdrop for a significant moment in the budding relationship between Elio and Oliver. The ancient ruins through which the characters walk are located at the Area Archeologica della Grotte di Catullo on the tip of Sirmione, a tiny peninsula that juts into the lake. Use its steep Alpine cliffs as your jumping off point to swim in Italy’s largest lake, which is just an hour and a half’s drive northwest from Crema.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III

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Sailko

The scene in which Elio asks Oliver if it is ‘better to speak or die’ takes place at the First World War monument at the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele III in Pandino, a small village outside Crema. From the statue, follow their path via bicycle along the country roads that lead to Capralba and the site of Fontanile Quarantina, Elio’s ‘secret’ reading and swimming spot where the couple share their very first kiss.

Bergamo

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Elio and Oliver spend the final days of their affair in Bergamo, a northern city famed for its fortified Citta Alta high on a hill. The place where Oliver dances to the Psychedelic Furs’ Love My Way is located at Piazza Padre Reginaldo Giuliani, while the street fountain where the couple drunkenly kiss is around the corner at 91 Piazza Duomo. Just outside Bergamo are the Cascate del Serio, where Oliver and Elio hike together before parting ways in Bergamo.

Cathay Pacific flies to Milan seven times a week from Hong Kong. Crema is a 45-minute drive from Milan

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