Although the chapter of the saga directed by Mario Camerini in 1972 moved the entire town to San Secondo Parmense (PR), everyone knows that the eternal story of love and hate between Don Camillo and Peppone takes place in the squares and streets of Brescello (RE).
"Il Mondo piccolo" described by Giovannino Guareschi, the figures of the parish priest and the mayor, identified - despite the various interpreters - with Fernandel and Gino Cervi, the bell tower, the companions, and the faithful: everything happens and moves mainly within the confines of the small municipality in the province of Reggio Emilia.
In the central square - today accompanied by the statues of the two protagonists - they continue to face each other, in an emblematic way, the City Hall and the Church of Santa Maria Nascente, which preserves the famous talking crucifix.
A few steps away, the monastic complex of San Benedetto, is the home of the "Peppone and Don Camillo Museum" where the film's objects are kept, such as Peppone's motorcycle, Don Camillo's order dress and their bicycles, but also photographs taken during filming, posters and reconstructions of some locations. Restored thanks to the volunteers of the pro-loco, the locomotive, which many times made us enter and leave the village, is located in the park dedicated to Guareschi; while a "substitute" for the tank, that appears in "Don Camillo and the On . Peppone ”, peacefully rests in Piazza Mingori, near the “Museo Brescello e Guareschi – Il Territorio e il cinema”.
Brescello is a true extended set, with many cinematic clues, such as the chapel of the “Madonnina del Borghetto” and the bell made by Peppone in the episode "Don Camillo Monsignore ... but not too much", now hanging under the arcade of Via Giglioli. About Peppone, the mayor's house and the balcony for the display of his son, is located along via Carducci, whereas the railway station - practically unchanged - is always at the end of Viale Venturini.
Obviously, there are not only Don Camillo and Peppone. This area has also inspired Pietro Germi - author of "Il Cammino della speranza", set in Campegine (RE), Luciano Ligabue with "Radiofreccia", set in Correggio, and Federico Fellini with "La voce della luna", set in Novellara.
Bernardo Bertolucci, a native of Little Paris, used Parma several times as a set of many films.
Wanting to follow an ideal cinematographic journey along its imaginary, the opening titles must necessarily start from the Duomo, where the director set some scenes of "Before the Revolution", which also winds in the Villetta area, - where Caesar's house is located in Via Vittime Civili di Guerra – and arrives in the interiors of Palazzo della Rosa Prati, home of Fabrizio.
The film also immortalizes the Ducal Park and the Pilotta complex, a location that - together with the Duomo - the director will reuse for the filming of "La Luna".
Ugo Tognazzi, in the role of Primo Spaggiari in "The tragedy of a ridiculous man", rides the streets of the city by bicycle, crossing Via Farini, the Caprazucca bridge and Piazza Garibaldi under the rain, and leaving San Giovanni behind, where it was celebrated the marriage between Fabrizio and Clelia in "Before the Revolution”.
Also the little medieval villages and the castles have been chosen for their beauty and history as film setting for several movies. Bertolucci moved to Roncole Verdi, precisely in the Piacentine farm court, for a moment of "Novecento", not far form Busseto, the city of Giuseppe Verdi.
Salsomaggiore Terme offered to the Parmesan director the Salone Moresco of the Palazzo dei Congressi the setting for some scenes of "The Last Emperor" and to Carlo Lizzani and Mauro Bolognini the spaces for "Il Carabiniere a Cavallo" and "Arabella ".
The Torrechiara Castle was intead the setting for several films, including "Addio crudele fratello" by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, "The Condottieri - Giovanni delle Bande Nere" by Luis Trenker, "Donne e Soldati" by Antonio Marchi and Luigi Malerba and, more recently, "Ladyhawke" by Richard Donner.
"Belle al Bar" by Alessandro Benvenuti is a tour among the locals, the Duomo and the Piacenza station; it returns a cross-section of provincial cities in which Piacenza can well recognize itself, or even see itself improved, for example deceiving the possibility for the inhabitants to live longer along the Po.
The luxurious party hall in the "Anguissola" Palace in the "Rocca Cimafava" near Piacenza, makes one experience some evocative déjà vus: in front of the frescos that celebrates Alessandro Magno's glory, Marco Bellocchio shot some scenes of the movie "Addio del passato" displayed at the 2002 edition of the Venice Film Festival, which besides was co-produced by the Municipal Theatre.
The noble dwelling was also chosen as a film setting for "Avalanche Express" (1978) with Lee Marvin and Linda Evans.
But the real cult place for this area of Emilia is Bobbio (PC), where, in 1965, Marco Bellocchio filmed his debut, "I Pugni in Tasca", winner of the Nastro d'Argento award for the best subject.
Entirely set in the village where the director's family spent their summer holidays, the film takes place mainly in the mother's country house, while for some exteriors, have been chosen the curves of the state road 45 that follows the course of the Trebbia river, natural landscapes of a rare beauty.
Like the suggestive Gobbo Bridge, the Castelletto cliff is the site of the dramatic apex of the film, which also moves into the bell tower of the Cathedral of Bobbio.
In 1980, Marco Bellocchio pays homage to his land and his childhood memories in "Vacanze in Val Trebbia", a autobiographic documentary film, entirely produced in Bobbio.
Also the film "Sorelle mai" (2010) by Bellocchio, who won the Leone d'Oro career award, takes place in Bobbio, where often we can recognize the banks of the river Trebbia to host the events of its protagonists Giorgio Bellocchio, Alba Rohrwacher e Donatella Finocchiaro.
The village of Piacenza has been home to Fare Cinema, a highly specialized course in film directing that the Foundation chaired by Marco Bellocchio strongly wanted in these places so kind to him, reused by the director for the 2015 film, "Sangue del mio sangue".
We should not fprget to mention the famous Bobbio Film Festival, held every year at the end of August and it hosts numerous film open to the public. The event started in 1995 thanks to an idea by the director Marco Bellocchio, a native of the Emilian village and awarded the Palme d'Or for Lifetime Achievement on 16 July 2021 during the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
Moving on, in 1985 in Castell'Arquato, in the "Rocca Viscontea", in the "Collegiata" and in the places surrounding Bacedasco's countryside, Richard Donner directed part of his "Ladyhawke".
The three main characters played by Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer enact the moving love story between the beautiful Isabelle and the noble Navarre, doomed to be always together, but eternally separated by the curse that the evil bishop has cast upon them.
Still in the province of Piacenza, the cinetour continues towards Cortemaggiore, where Francesco Rosi filmed - with regard to the reality of the facts - some scenes from "Il Caso Mattei", and the Mignano Dam in Val D'Arda, which offered the theater for the epic final of "I Lupi attaccano in branco", with Sylva Koscina and Rock Hudson.
Lastly, in 2012, in the area of Piacenza was shot "La finestra di Alice", directed by Carlo Sarti and interterpreted by Sergio Muniz, Debora Caprioglio and Fabrizio Bucci.