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Sunday June 23rd 2024

Romeo And Juliet | 1968

Romeo And Juliet filming location: Basilica of St Peter, Tuscania, Italy
Romeo And Juliet location: the secret marriage: Basilica of St Peter, Tuscania, Italy | Photograph: Shutterstock / lorenza62

Franco Zeffirelli’s beautiful to look at (if slightly schmaltzy) version of the William Shakespeare play benefits from the vocal participation of an uncredited Laurence Olivier, not only narrating but supplying additional voices.

Bruce Robinson, who plays Benvolio and who went on to write and direct Withnail And I revealed that the lecherous Uncle Monty was inspired by director Zeffirelli.

The same director’s 1967 The Taming of the Shrew, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, had been filmed entirely in the studio, but he takes this tearjerker out onto some glorious practical locations around Italy.

The Capulet family mansion is Palazzo Borghese, Artena in Rome. Nicknamed Il Cembalo (‘the harpsichord’) because of its unusual trapezoidal groundplan, this palace was once the main seat of the Borghese family. Since 1947, its first floor has housed the Spanish Embassy.

The main square of ‘Verona’ is based on the Tuscan hill town of Pienza, although practical considerations persuaded Zeffirelli to have the piazza reconstructed in the Cinecittà Studios, Rome.

The fateful duel between Romeo (Leonard Whiting) and Tybalt (Michael York) was staged in the streets of the small medieval town of Gubbio, on the slopes of Mount Ingino in Umbria. The little piazza can be found at the junction of Via del Consoli and Via San Giuliano, which contains the Fontana del Bargello.

The secret wedding of Romeo and Juliet (Olivia Hussey), and their death, is the interior of the Basilica of St Peter in Tuscania, on the River Marta, 50 miles northwest of Rome.

This is a basic entry and due to be expanded.