“The Name of the Rose”: All the Italian Locations
Discover some unique and fascinating locations around Italy where both the BBC movie “The Name of the Rose” (1986) and the RAI tv series (2019) were shot. Let yourself be brought back in time into the Italian Middle Ages!
“The Name of the Rose”, an overview
“The Name of the Rose” is a historical murder mystery written by the Italian author Umberto Eco: even though it was his debut novel, it achieved a great success from the very beginning, selling more than 50 million copies all over the world!
The novel inspired the film director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s homonymous movie released in theaters in 1986, six years after the book was published. Later on, in 2019 RAI, the national Italian broadcasting company, produced a mini series based on the book and its historical drama.
The story takes place in 1327 inside a Benedictine abbey in northern Italy, where some monks lost their lives in mysterious circumstances. All this leads to three condemnations at the stake but above all to an internal investigation that goes far beyond faith and mysticism.
Are you ready for a journey through the Italian Middle Ages?
Together we’ll see all the fascinating set locations of “The Name of the Rose” movie and tv series. Check them out below!
The Italian Locations of “The Name of the Rose” (1986)
Starring Sean Connery, who plays the monk William of Baskerville, and the young Christian Slater, who plays novice Adso of Melk, this film saw the extraordinary artistic touch of a great Italian production designer and art director: Dante Ferretti. His ability laid in reproducing the exact dark atmosphere that we find in the book inside the monastery walls.
Even though the monastery interiors were shot in Germany, more precisely in Eberbach Abbey, Italy offered the most beautiful landscapes and sceneries for this movie.
The Abbey was entirely recreated in Fiano Romano, around Rome, using the map inside the book as a plant. This map was clearly inspired by Castel del Monte, a 13th-century citadel and castle situated on a hill in Andria, Apulia: the octagonal towers are just an example of this resemblance.
Interested in visiting Castel del Monte? Here you are some info:
The adult fee is € 7.00: you can rent an audio guide separately or purchase a guided tour of the castle. Opening times: April 1st – September 30th from 10:15 am to 7:45 pm, October 1st – March 31st from 9.00 am to 6.30 pm. Closed on major holidays. More info on the official website.
Also the region of Abruzzo played an important role: the crew found a particular path ideal for the scene of Guglielmo and Adso’s journey to reach the abbey. The route is near Rocca Calascio castle, in Campo Imperatore, about 35 km away from the city of L’Aquila. The castle, located at almost 1’500 m above sea level, and the adjacent village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio create a single fortified body, which is now freely accessible by visitors. Rocca Calascio was also the set of other famous movies such as “LadyHawke” in 1985 and “the American”, starring George Clooney, in 2010, not to mention Italian tv series.
It’s easy to understand the reasons why this location was chosen: this area is also called “Tibet of Abruzzo”. It is a somewhat vast plateau, located in the Gran Sasso National Park, a splendid area of glacial origin, around 1800 meters above sea level.
New Shooting Locations Of The 2019 TV Series
William of Baskerville, this time played by John Turturro, returns in a television version after 33 years. A huge project, with more than 300 actors involved, as well as 3’000 extras and a troupe of 200 people, all for 24 weeks of filming, which led to work not only in splendid Italian regions, but also in Cinecittà, where three stage theaters were used.
This is the main location used to recreate the Benedictine abbey, which does not exist in reality, complete with an external area of 4’000 square meters.
Using the 26 million budget, the church, cloister, stables, forges, hospital, dormitories and, above all, the library were recreated.
Locations near Perugia, Umbria
Some of the flashback scenes were shot in Perugia, in Umbria, specifically in Piazza IV Novembre. The crew took some shots also at the Rocca Paolina, a 16th-century-old fortress. North of Perugia is the Abbey of Montelabate that was used for some general interiors for Pietranera abbey.
Pietranera Abbey Locations
To recreate the exteriors of Pietranera Abbey, the crew chose two astonishing locations: Civita di Bagnoregio in Tuscia, Lazio, and Sacra di San Michele in Turin, Piedmont.
Civita di Bagnoregio is one is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, with just 11 inhabitants and a candidate for becoming a UNESCO site.
The progressive erosion of the hill and valley led this village to isolation and consequently risking to disappear: for this reason it’s been called “City of the Dead” and “The Dying City”.
Unfortunately, in the movie, we don’t see the long astonishing panoramic bridge overlooking the Calanchi, but you can always check it out yourself!
Interested in visiting Civita di Bagnoregio? Here you are some info:
You can visit Civita di Bagnoregio anytime for just € 5.00 or for free (before 8am and after 8pm or if you decide to stay in one of the cozy B&Bs inside the city).
Visit their official website for more info.
It is said that, as Pietranera Abbey is set on top of a mountain, Umberto Eco was inspired by the famous Sacra di San Michele, perched on top of the Alps in Piedmont, 40 kilometers from Turin. This ancient abbey, built at the end of the I century AD, is worth visiting for the astonishing view of Val di Susa and its magical atmosphere.
Interested in visiting Sacra di San Michele? Here you are some info:
Visiting times vary according to the time of the year and tickets for both self-guided and guided tours are just € 8.00 per person. For more info visit their official website.
Another remarkable location used for “The Name of the Rose” is the Castle of Roccascalegna in Abruzzo, in the province of Chieti. The castle was built between the 14th and 15th century on pre-existing Norman castle walls.
The Castle of Roccascalegna is also known as the “Castle in the Sky” and it inspired other prestigious movie directors such as Hayao Miyazaki for its magical “Laputa: castle in the sky”.
Interested in visiting Roccascalegna? Here you are some info:
You can visit the Castle of Roccascalegna everyday from 10am to 1pm and from 3 pm to 6 pm (7 pm in summer months). Adult entrance fee: € 3.00.
External Locations in Lazio
The filming involved several external locations near Rome, in fact many daily life scenes of the people were shot in the magnificent Parco del Tuscolo, in the Monte Porzio Catone area, in Vivaro municipality, via Latina and Molara valley.
Interested in visiting Parco del Tuscolo? Here you are some info:
To visit the archeological area the ticket price for adults is € 3 (€ 2 for kids). Guided tours are available.
Interested in visiting the Park of Vulci? Here you are some info:
Entrance fee: € 10. Opening times: 9 am-5 pm (from October to March), 9 am-6 pm (April, May, June and September) and 9 am-7 pm (July and August). Closed on major holidays.
Or else, you can bike or walk on horseback in Cimino (UNESCO heritage since 2017) in a magical wood of tall centuries-old beeches.
The Bosco della Macchia Grande in Manziana is also among the locations in Lazio used for exteriors. Here magnificent oaks shade the ruins of the 17th-century Mola di Manziana and Caldara di Manziana, the large volcanic depression where it is said the recipe of the mythical philosopher’s stone was thrown.
Four are the trails: green, yellow, blue (the one with the filming locations) and red. Here you can take a walk or even hike in the unspoiled nature, rent a bike or just relax having a BBQ in the picnic area.
The entrance is free and the park is open at all times.
Other splendid locations that Lazio has offered are Torri in Sabina, on the border between Lazio and Umbria, with the area around the castle of Rocchettine, twin village of Rocchette.
These two villages facing each other are both perched on green hills, but while Rocchette is still alive, despite the few inhabitants, Rocchettine is now a ghost village. Its undisputed charm was thought to be a perfect location for the story wrapped in mystery of “The Name of the Rose”.
Hope you’re now eager to visit these places yourself and be amazed by their magnificence. There must be a reason why they were all chosen for great film locations 😉
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Images credits: Caldara Di Manziana by Manuel73 // CC BY-NC 2.0; Rocchette by danieljcoomber // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.