The five MovieTravel cinematographic itineraries across UNESCO sites in Europe are already out. After several months of work, MovieTravel has launched five routes that unravel the unique stories of destinations chosen for the pilot test of the project. In this way, MovieTravel successfully covers one of its final phases as a EU funded project: to produce a storytelling that serves as a guide to all those interested in discovering the most important heritage enclaves of the continent from a comprehensive and cultural perspective.
The MovieTravel itineraries have been designed to bring to the fore the heritage of their respective regions concerning their past, art, architecture and traditions. Some of the stops refer to well-known tourist icons. Others, on the other hand, offer visitors the opportunity to discover less popular but equally attractive areas. Let’s discover them.
Tarragona: our past is our present
Film directors from Spain and abroad have regarded the Tarraco‘s UNESCO Roman heritage as evidence of one of the highest forms of architecture in history. From Spanish famous filmmaker Bigas Luna to young but established talents, such as Anna Maria Bofarull and Guillem Morales, have found in Tarragona’s streets inspiration for thrillers, fantasy films and powerful dramas. Son of Cain by Jesus Monllaó and Kidnapping by Mar Targarona are also films set in Tarragona that visitors will be encouraged to discover during their visit.
This route has been inspired by the shared values between western civilization and Roman’s, but still covers other periods of the city of Tarragona, such as the Cathedral or some medieval buildings. Plus, allows the visitor the opportunity to discover the scenarios of the Netflix series The Cathedral of the Sea, shot in the nearby area of the beach and castle of Tamarit.
Valletta: locations behind myths
Malta’s origins as a mythical land, therefore, come from afar. With 7.000 years of culture and history, Malta is home to many myths and legends. The islands of Gozo and Malta have logged appearances in Homer’s Odyssey and The Bible, and Malta itself has even been proposed as the site of Atlantis.
These stories have been a source of inspiration for artists for centuries, and cinema was not going to be less. Films such as By the Sea, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, The Midnight Express or short film Plangent Rain, which delivers a revision of the Hamlet myth, are set in the UNESCO city of Valletta. Among the Maltese route stands out a visit to Marsaxlokk, where local production Simshar was shot. Those interested in II World War would also enjoy the tour around locations related to the war and strategies of the allies in the period film Malta’s story.
Lyon: where everything started (and went on)
Cinema was born in Lyon when the Lumière brothers, inventors of the cinema, shot the first scenes of a factory owned by their family. Together with Georges Mélies, sometimes credited as cinema’s pioneer, the brothers were the first of many other French famous filmmakers. The country has a great audiovisual tradition that honours the memory of their predecessors. Truffaut, Godard, Cocteau, Rohmer, Tavernier… There are many names of famous cinema masters that come to our mind when we think of France. Some of them chose this city, Lyon, as the setting for their stories. This route encounters the work of some of them.
The layout of the city and the mysterious atmosphere of the two rivers that cross it, the Roine and the Saona, make of Lyon the ideal location for plots of mystery and intrigue, but also of love and self-discovery. The district of Ainay, Lyon’s traboules, Saint Paul’s district and the astronomical clock are some of the stops of this itinerary.
Mystras, before midnight
The third movie of the Before trilogy –Before Midnight– has inspired the MovieTravel route across the region surrounding the byzantine city of Mystras, in Greece. The film drops us directly into the daily grind of Céline and Jess as a steady couple, after their ups and downs in Before Sunrise and Before Dawn.
The warm and sunny territory of Greece that they travel to is full of remains of ancient civilizations that, despite the time, resist in their entire splendour. The director, Richard Linklater, skilfully manages the metaphorical transcendence of the surroundings of the UNESCO site of Mystras in the film. Among others, the ruins of Messini, the picturesque village of Kardamyli or the house of English travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor will be visited. The fact that the same characters enrol themselves in an itinerary across the region makes Before Midnight the best guide to know this Greek region, rich in stories, heritage and art.
Genoa: luxury by the seaside
The capital of the Italian region of Liguria was born and still lives facing the sea. Known as a cradle of international traders, the exclusive goods and exotic materials that reached its shores in the holds of ships that came from very long voyages turned it into a flourishing city. Its luxury has made it the ideal scenario for bio-pic Grace of Monaco and bold productions such as Pirates, by Roman Polanski, and delicate Italian-Japanese thriller White flowers. Their main locations are stops of the MovieTravel route in Genoa.
Glory, power and wealth were the backbones of the urban development of Genoa from the 15th centuries on. The Rolli palaces, Via Garibaldi and several of the city’s impressive infrastructures were built during this period, as a result of the buoyant commercial life of the city. Thanks to its history, Genoa gathers in one place several of the most sought after elements in a cinematographic location: it has power, charisma, personality and is full of enclaves with an intrinsic attraction, whether artistic or natural. All of this is envisaged by the film Summer in Genoa, starring Colin Firth, another of the axis of this route.
Soon MovieTravel will launch a digital solution that will allow these routes to be realized through intelligent devices, in a geolocalized and playful way. The routes will be soon updated here.