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Tuesday May 28th 2024

Death In Venice (Morte a Venezia) | 1971

Death in Venice filming location, Hotel des Bains, Venice
Death in Venice film location: Aschenbach’s hotel: Grand Hotel des Bains, Lungomare Marconi 41, Lido, Venice |Photograph: iStockphoto / youaintseen me

Luchino Visconti transforms Thomas Mann’s slim novella about a dying writer into a lush, emotional cinematic wallow, with a soundtrack by Gustav Mahler and the central character transformed into a musician.

The film keeps the setting of the original book, the sumptuous hotel of Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) is, of course, the Grand Hotel des Bains, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi 17, on the east shore of Venice’s Lido, though some interiors were recreated at the famous Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

The Lido, a narrow sliver of land, nine miles long but barely a mile wide, is a ten minute boat ride from Piazza San Marco. To reach the hotel from the vaporetto stop on the Lido, take Gran Viale Santa Maria Elizabetta across the island to the sandy eastern shore.

The Hotel des Bains is is on the corner of Santa Maria Elizabetta, over the main road from the private beach – surprisingly, it's not actually on the beach as it seems to be in the film (don't confuse it with the elaborate Moorish Hotel Excelsior, which is on the beach further to the south. The Excelsior, by the way, can be seen in Sergio Leone’s gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America).

The Hotel des Bains itself can also be seen, as the ‘Cairo' hotel, in Anthony Minghella’s romance, The English Patient, with Ralph Fiennes.

Death in Venice film location, Dietro la Fenice, Venice
Death in Venice film location: Aschenbach follows Tadzio: Dietro La Fenice, Venice

The obsessed Von Aschenbach follows the ethereally beautiful Polish boy Tadzio (Bjorn Andresen) through the maze of tiny canalside paths behind La Fenice opera house, dietro la Fenice.

Death in Venice film location, Campiello dei Calegheri, Venice
Death in Venice film location: disinfecting the city: Campiello dei Calegheri, Venice

The tiny campo, where Aschenbach's questions about the sinister disinfecting of the city elicit no more than stony silence, is the Campiello dei Calegheri, just west of the opera house.

Death in Venice film location, Piazza San Marco, Venice
Death in Venice film location: Aschenbach finds out about the plague: Banca Commerciale Italiana, Piazza San Marco, Venice

The bank, where the English manager is more forthcoming, is the Banca Commerciale Italiana, in the northeast corner of Piazza San Marco (and it now has a cashpoint).

The flashbacks to von Aschenbach's marriage were filmed in a plum orchard about 100 miles northwest of Venice at Bolzano in the Dolomites.