La Dolce Vita

Art Rome

A Beautiful Italian Film Set in Rome

One of the first movies that comes to mind when it comes to Italian Films is undoubtedly La Dolce Vita. Release in 1960, La Dolce Vita, which means "The Sweet Life" in English, was directed by Federico Fellini and stars Marcello Mastoianni and Anita Ekberg. 


Iconic Trevi Fountain Scene

The movie is set and filmed in Rome, and it is this beautiful backdrop that gives us the iconic scene of Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain. Fellini claimed that during the famous Trevi Fountain scene, which was filmed in Winter, Ekberg, who was born in Sweden, stood in the frigid water in her dress without so much as complaint. Mastroianni, on the other hand, not only wore a wetsuit underneath his suit, but apparently also polished off a bottle of vodka in order to shoot the scene.

The Origin of "Paparazzi"

If you've ever read celebrity gossip magazines, then you've seen one of the lasting cultural impacts of the La Dolce Vita firsthand. The character of Paparazzo, the news photographer played by Walter Santesso, is the origin of the word paparazzi now used in many languages to describe intrusive photographers. Ennio Flaiano, the film's co-screenwriter who created Paparazzo, says that he took the name from the character Signor Paparazzo in the novel By the Ionian Sea by George Gissing. 


Criticism & Praise

When the film was released it sparked a heated debate. It was harshily condemned by the Vatican newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano" in 1960, and was subject to widespread censorship. It was banned in Spain until 1975, after the death of Spanish military leader Francisco Franco.

Even amidst all this controversy, the film went on to attain critical acclaim. It was nominated for four Academy Awards and won one Oscar, as well as the Golden Palm at Cannes Film Festival. It was voted the 6th greatest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly. 

According to Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, La Dolce Vita is a movie where "dignity is transmuted into the sensational. Old values, old disciplines are discarded for the modern, the synthetic, the quick by a society that is past sophistication and is sated with pleasure and itself. All of its straining for sensations is exploited for the picture magazines and the scandal sheets that merchandise excitement and vicarious thrills for the mob … it is an awesome picture, licentious in content but moral and vastly sophisticated in its attitude and what it says."

An evening watching La Dolce Vita is all that you need to be transported back to Rome in the 1960s. It is one of the most beautiful and famous Italian films, and it's easy to see how it became an Iconic symbol of Italy. Its charm is infectious though, so be prepared to start planning your next trip to the Eternal City. While we strongly advise against attempting to bath in the Trevi Fountain, a trip to Rome is the perfect way to experience the backdrop to this timeless film, and create your own timeless memories that will add some sweetness to your life.