Spotlight on Rome, Italy

KFTV talks to local and international production figures, including for Mission: Impossible 7, about their experiences filming in Italy's capital city

By Chris Evans 3 Dec 2020

Spotlight on Rome, Italy
Tom Cruise filming in Rome. Credit: IPA

Spotlight on Rome

Italy’s capital city with its world-famous historical sites, including the Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi fountain, has been the backdrop of many films and TV series over the years.

The biggest and most exciting project to arrive in the city post lockdown is Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 7 film, which has been shooting action sequences with Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell, including a dramatic chase scene through the central Piazza Venezia.

Filming had been halted in Italy earlier this year after cases of coronavirus rose sharply. But the crew and actors returned to filming in Norway in September, and now Italy. However, there are very strict protocols on set as the country has seen coronavirus cases rise once more. 

Matt Spooner, production safety supervisor for Mission: Impossible 7

“Italy [Rome] is a stunning place to film. We have attached an extra technical Covid person (a trained nurse) as a compliance officer with a medical background, as well as two location assistants who have gone around supporting with putting up signs, hand sanitiser refilling machines etc. Then there are a couple of additional medical people. So, it is a slightly larger team than normal because of the situation with Covid. We’ve also empowered departments to take some responsibility for their Covid decision-making, so they put it in to their daily work processes."

HBO Max/Warner Horizon Television’s crime drama series, The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco as Cassandra Bowden, a flight attendant who wakes up with a dead man, also filmed in Rome early 2020.

Luca de Angelis, service executive producer, PSN Italy, production support service for the Italian shoot of The Flight Attendant

“After a detailed location scouting in December 2019, the US crew arrived at the beginning of January 2020 and shooting took place not only in or nearby some of the most iconic places in Rome, such as the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Circo Massimo, via dei Coronari, but also at the Fiumicino Airport, Le Meridien Visconti Hotel near Piazza Cavour and a house in the outskirts of Rome – home to the main Italian character, Enrico.

“The shooting went smoothly, since the preparation was extremely precise and everyone was always well informed and in the loop. Not all permits were easy or fast to obtain, but, since all decisions were made unanimously and in advance, we managed to move fast. And thanks to a great cooperation by the private and municipal offices we were able to bring Cassandra Bowden on to the Roman streets.

"Everyone at Warner Horizon Scripted Television was the definition of professionalism and kindness, therefore you can say that the Italian and the American crews really bonded with each other - of course, around a table always filled with Italian food and specialties. After a couple of days you could see how much trust grew in every department: direction, production, camera, art, wardrobe, make-up & hair… and we think that all of this will emerge on screen too."

Other big projects to film in Rome, include Terrence Malick’s The Last Planet, which shot in the outskirts of the city, and Sky’s historical drama series Romulus, produced by Cattleya, which built two cities as sets for the shoot involving thousands of extras and 700 stunt professionals.

Nicola Maccanico, EVP for programming at Sky Italia

“Romulus is an epic series in the true sense of the word, an international project featuring some of the youngest and outstanding Italian talents. A project that has at its heart what is perhaps the most recognizable brand of our country, Rome, which is once again set to attract worldwide attention with a great story to tell – that of the founding of the Eternal City and its myth.”

Local studios

Cinecitta Studios is the most famous with 24 stages located just 11.5 kilometres from central Rome. The studios offer extensive production offices and dressing rooms, and a large outdoor water tank. The government is investing $42m (€37m) in an expansion of the facility over the next few years.

Videa Studios in the Veio Reserve near Rome offers six stages over a 15,000 square metre space, as well as 20,000 square metres of virgin forest and greenery that can be used for productions.

Studios S.r.l provides eight soundstages and two backlots over 25,000 square metres.  

Key facts

  • Italy offers a tax credit of up to 30%, with up to $10.8m (€10m) available per producer claiming the credit.
  • The iconic Cinecitta Studios has 24 stages and a large outdoor water tank located just 11.5 kilometres from central Rome. The government is investing $42m (€37m) in an expansion of the facility over the next few years.
  • Italy is a peninsula of 300,000 square kilometres with mountains along its backbone.

This profile is a brief extract from our new International Production Guide 2021

Main homepage image credit: Agostino Fabio/MEGA

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