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Apulia has become in the past decades the scenery for lots of films. Although it is not a momentary fashion trend, Apulia has again been chosen by many directors that rediscover it after some years of abandon. Of the whole Apulia, Salento is particularly the zone that arouses so much interest, thanks to the beautiful beaches, to the fabulous sea and the centers of the little villages of the hinterland that well match the demands of modern cinema. Just for these reasons more and more directors choose this zone to shoot their movies, bewitched by the beauty and by the cultural rebirth of this region.
The list of films is very long, but here we will limit to remember the most important and known by the great public also underlining the presence of some foreign productions that have appreciated this beautiful land by choosing it as location. As first, not chronologically but for a reson of “heart”, we mention “Volare - Lagrande storia di Domenico Modugno”, an Italian miniseries for television in two episodes, directed by Riccardo Milani and produced by Rai Fiction.

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The fiction tells the history of the famous Apulian singer songwriter Domenico Modugno, interpreted by Giuseppe Fiorello, who personally introduced it to the Italian public, on the occasion of the 63ª edition of the Festival of Sanremo, where the actor was guest. The film has won the Prize Regia Televisiva as best fiction in 2013. The movie has been made in Rome, Polignano a Mare, Bitonto, Pilone, San Pietro Vernotico and Montalbano. We have chosen to mention it as the top of the list because our name Mr. Volare is dedicated and inspired by the best known song by Domenico Modugno, who was native of Polignano a Mare. The first movies in Apulia were shot in the distant 1923.
In 1973 Polvere di Stelle, with the so beloved Italian actors Alberto Sordi and Monica Vitti. Some scenes of the film was shot in Bari, in particular inside and outside of the Petruzzelli Theater, along the Lungomare and in the old city, but also some of them in the countryside of Locorotondo. Lecce, Maglie and Castro serve as refined and solar background for the beautiful film of Ferzan OzpeteK “Mine Vaganti” (2000). The stories of a note family of producers of pasta, the Cantone, that has to face the news of the homosexuality of their sons, put in scene with great irony. After this successful film, the director has indeed fallen in love with Salento and its beautiful edges of paradise. It has been just him, the director Ferzan Ozpetek to post on Twitter the first official photos of “Allacciate le cinture”, the film shot in Lecce and Salento in 2013 arrived in the cinemas in 2014. A warm embrace among the two protagonists, Kasia Smutniak and Francesco Arca, prelude to a history that develops in two different times and woven within 13 years. This is the second film by Ozpetek shot in Salento, after the fi rst one “Mine Vaganti” was an international success. “Allacciate le cincture” has a notable Italian cast - Filippo Scicchiatano, Carolina Crescentini, Francesco Scianna, Elena Sofi a Ricci, Luisa Ranieri, Carla Signoris, Paola Minaccioni.
Ozpetek will return to Lecce in November to present his first literary fatigue, the novel “Rosso Istanbul”, yet in reprint after its first going out. Among the Italian productions we remember “Liberate i pesci” (2000), the funny ironic comedy by Cristina Comencini and interpreted by Lunetta Savino, Michele Placido and Laura Morante. The stories of a family of gangsters, lovers, misunderstandings and the struggle for the conquest of a love under the hot sunny Lecce. The amusing amazing road trip of the comic trio Aldo, Giovanni and Giacomo in “Tre uomini e una gamba” (1997) concludes in Gallipoli, where Aldo has to marry his beloved and to deliver the precious wood leg to his father-in-law that they guard during their fool journey.
Another great American production was “The Passion” by Mel Gibson. «Several parts of the city are over 2000 years old, and the architecture, blocks of stone, the surrounding rocky lands added a perspective and background that we used to create our striking sets of Jerusalem. The first time I saw the Sassi of Matera I almost lost my mind. It was simply perfect!» These are  the words of Mel Gibson, when he arrived in Italy to choose the locations of this controversial moving pluri-prized colossal. In Matera there is the possibility to visit the “Sassi” by following the “Passion” Tour, touching the touching the 4 major areas where the amazing background of the Sassi was used as a natural set. The itinerary begins from the look-out point of the Murgia Timone, highland plateau facing the antique part of Matera where the presence of man is dated back to Neolithic times. The magnificent panorama of the entire city was used as set during the Crucifixion scene in Golgotha and the scene where Jesus spoke from the mountain. In an ancient “masseria” were shot many scenes regarding the life of Jesus, especially the flashbacks on His life and childhood.
In the heart of the most ancient part of the city called “Civita”, there is the stairway on which the scene of the Via Crucis and the Passion were shot. Curiously, the same stairway was used as a set for Pasolini’s film Vangelo Secondo Matteo (1964). While the naturally breathtaking scenery of the Piazza di Porta Pistola was enhanced by the temporary construction of the monumental backdrop of the gates to Jerusalem and a little further along in the stunning church complex of the Madonna delle Virtù, open to visitors during summer months, where scenes from the Last Dinner were shot. Apulia was also chosen by the production of the notorious series Beautiful, in order to celebrate the 25 years of the soap-opera. The production, enchanted by our suggestive locations, chose Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and Fasano to shot the scenes of the wedding between two young protagonists. We have to stop here our long list, leaving the message that Apulia is a land that could be loved also through the screen of a TV or enjoyed at the cinema.