A Guide to Call Me by Your Name’s Enchanting Northern Italian Setting

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From Call Me by Your Name (2017), Credit: The Everett Collection

Still, Call Me by Your Name’s sun-dappled version of Northern Italy, with its verdant gardens, grand architecture, and misty swimming ponds, is sure to ignite a certain ache in viewers—and not just an ache for an all-consuming romance long gone or for a breathless future dalliance. The ache might just as well be for something simpler and more attainable: an idyllic summer sojourn to the Italian countryside, perhaps. After all, a great love affair is not something one can easily manifest, but a paradisiacal vacation? All that requires is a bit of planning. And anyway, as the actor Armie Hammer (who plays Oliver) recently told NPR, a beautiful time spent “somewhere” is capable of making its own indelible mark, too. “This [was] my new summer romance—going to Italy, shooting the movie . . . this was that summer for me that I knew was going to end and did not want it to.”

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From Call Me by Your Name (2017), Credit: The Everett Collection

Below, a brief guide to orchestrating your own sabbatical somewhere in Northern Italy. The romance, unfortunately, may not be guaranteed—but one should always hope.

Where to Go

Though the book on which the film is based takes place in the Mediterranean seaside region of Liguria, director Luca Guadagnino set his version in the inland region of Lombardy, an area he knows well. For years he has made his home near the small Lombardian town of Crema, less than an hour outside of Milan, and it is in the neighboring countryside where much of the film unfurls. “Crema has a sense of timelessness that I like, but I also think that it is quintessentially Italian without being an idea of Italy,” the director has explained. “It’s just Italy. A lot of these Hollywood movies made in Italy look as fake as a chocolate coin. It’s a danger I don’t want to risk. For me it’s important you make the thing that looks the most correct and the most real.”

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Crema, Italy, Credit: Alamy

Guadagnino’s Crema also makes a good base from which to explore the piazzas, duomos, and sweeping landscapes seen in the film: Cremona, a picturesque village 45 minutes southwest; Lake Garda, the sister lake to Como an hour and a half northwest (where the scene of the archaeological dig occurs); and the northern town of Bergamo, where Oliver and Elio spend the final days of their affair. The majestic Serio Waterfalls—the highest in the country and the second highest in all of Europe—where the couple hikes together near the end of the film, are located just outside of Bergamo.

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Bergamo, Italy, Credit: Alamy

Where to Stay

“I love the place and I knew the house,” Guadagnino told Another Magazine of the semi-decrepit 17th-century Villa Albergoni, where the fictional Perlman family summers. “In fact I wanted to buy the house, but I couldn’t afford it. But I knew that I could do something meaningful there, so I made a film instead.” While the villa is privately owned and much of the decor and furnishing were sourced especially for filming, there are other, equally grand places to stay. One such option is the three-bedroom Fiesco Villa, a historic family home built in the 1900s. For a slightly more provincial experience, rent a restored stone barn with a swimming pool and vine-covered terrace surrounded by 124acres of fields and woods near Piacenza to the south of Cremona.

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Lake Garda, Italy, Credit: Getty Images

What to Eat

Don’t expect to find vast orchards of peaches and apricots in Lombardy. Though they play a pivotal part in the book and film, they are not truly native to the region. Like the rich, eye candy mix of antique decor that decorates the film version of Villa Albergoni, the lush fruit trees that form the backdrop of the outdoor dining pergola were created for the film, set designer Violante Visconti di Modrone explained to The New York Times: “We stuck some real, ripe peaches to the trees, but the others were props.”

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The countryside of Lombardy, Italy, Credit: Alamy

Still, the region is an agricultural center—rice, corn, grapes, and cows—and its singular cuisine has little to do with the pasta, tomatoes, and olive oil for which the rest of the country is famed. Instead, expect risotto and polenta in Lombardy, plus lots of butter and meat alongside local cheeses like Taleggio, Gorgonzola, and Grana Padano. The most memorable place to sample all of the above (and more) might just be Cremona’s Lago Scuro, a working dairy and organic farm housed on a sprawling medieval manor surrounded by hazelnut, oak, and magnolia trees. The farm also hosts guests to stay the night in its bed-and-breakfast—perfect, because you’ll likely fall in love with its enchanting setting, too.

Source: https://www.vogue.com



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