Gradara and Cinema

The Rocca di Gradara, for its unique architecture and its history which is closely linked to Medieval and Renaissance collective imagery, in the mid-1900s became a favourite destination and set for the staging of important films. In fact, in those years, following the wave of historical and literary films, castles, towers, narrow streets, villages perched on a hill, drawbridges and Gothic arches have become elements that attract directors and writers for the mysterious atmosphere made of intrigue, revenge and furtive love affairs between knights and ladies of the court.
One of the first films shot at the Rocca is Condottieri (Military Warlords) by Luis Trenker, the first Italian-German historical film production made in 1937.
The story features Giovanni Medici, military warlord, son of Caterina Sforza, who, once returned from exile, decides to enlist in the militia of the Malatesti family, becoming a captain of fortune. Returning to Italy, he creates his own National Militia named the “Bande Nere” (Black Bands), but Florence condemns his betrayal. He takes refuge in France, where in the meantime he is called “Giovanni dalle Bande Nere”.
In 1949 Henry King shot the film Prince of Foxes, starring Tyrone Power, Orson Welles and Wanda Hendriz. The film was shot mainly in central Italy, the main character being Andrea Orsini who does not want to submit to Cesare Sforza’s rule.
The same year Raffaello Matarazzo remade the story of Paolo and Francesca, many of the scenes set in the Rocca di Gradara. The film takes place in Italy in the thirteenth century, starting with the marriage between Gianciotto Malatesti and Francesca da Rimini. Paolo, Gianciotto’s brother, falls in love with Francesca, but the two are discovered and the betrayed husband kills the two lovers.
In 1961, Roberto Rossellini chose the Rocca di Gradara for his remake of the novel Vanina Vanini by Stendhal as the ideal setting to tell the story of Vanina, a Roman aristocrat in love with Pietro Missirilli, an affiliate of the Carbonari.
In the 1980s two holiday movies were shot at the Rocca: Stesso mare stessa spiaggia by Angelo Pannacciò and Yesterday – Vacanze al mare by Claudio Risi.

Set of the film Condottieri di Luigi Trenker, 1936
Set of the film Condottieri di Luigi Trenker, 1936
Set of the film Condottieri di Luigi Trenker, 1936
Set of the film Condottieri di Luigi Trenker, 1936