James Bond Italy tour: 007’s stunning Italian movie locations
When it comes to Italy, 007 can’t keep away. Bad guys, secret plots to destroy the world, dead lovers and a litany of potential new ones always seem to bring him back. While James is not here to see the sights, there is no reason why you can’t plan a James Bond Italy tour and enjoy these stunning backdrops without constantly looking over your shoulder.
Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig brought the iconic secret agent to Italy. The country’s stunning landscapes have played a role in From Russia with Love (1963), Moonraker (1977), The Spy Who Loved Me (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), Spectre (2015) and No Time to Die (2021). And now, you can visit these places too.
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James Bond Italy tour
The James Bond Italy locations tour is a great way to incorporate the movies into your trip. While there is no set way to visit them, I’ve put together a suggested itinerary to make things more convenient for planning.
From Russia with Love (1963), Moonraker (1979), Casino Royale (2006)
Venice is a stunning city filled with history, architecture and picturesque canals. It’s also a popular James Bond Italy location that appears in three movies with three different Bonds – Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Daniel Craig.
The first time Bond made a trip to Venice, he romanced Tatiana Romanova of the Soviet intelligence under the Bridge of Sighs. While many of the movie’s scenes were filmed in Venice, the iconic gondola scene was completed in the studio. But hey, it was 1963, and Sean Connery was Bond. Enough said.
Moore’s Bond raced bad guys in speedboats along the Grand Canal before ending in Piazza San Marco, Venice’s famous main square. It was ridiculous and pure James Bond. He checks into the Hotel Danieli and visits Ca’ Rezzonico, a former palace now turned 18th-century museum.
If Daniel Craig is your Bond, you’ll remember that Venice is where he gets his heart broken by Vesper Lynd. Before that happens, we get a lovely montage of the city as Bond and Vesper cruise the Grand Canal, with many famous attractions in the background. It all ends with a confrontation inside a Venetian palazzo that comes crumbling into the canal. Don’t worry, that was filmed in a studio, and no palazzos came to harm.
Recommended Italy tours:
- La Maddalena Archipelago: Full-Day Trip by Boat
- Venice Grand Canal: Private Gondola Ride and Serenade
- Cortina: Full-Day Hike through The Dolomites
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
James Bond heads to Cortina d’Ampezzo, a ski resort in northern Italy in For Your Eyes Only. Set against the mighty Dolomites, this skiing resort town is home to the 1956 Winters Games and the destination of the 2026 Winter Olympics. But Bond is not here for that.
Think epic chases down ski slopes and stop at a bobsleigh run. Bond must outsmart those pesky Russians from getting their hands on a missing communications device. That doesn’t prevent him from staying in style at the historic Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel. For those who need to know, Bond stayed in room 300, but the balcony we see is from room 108.
While the hotel is still operating, I was disappointed to learn that it doesn’t offer the James Bond Experience, which in my opinion, is a missed opportunity. In fact, I couldn’t find any mention of 007 on the website. Sigh.
Lake Garda and Carrara
Quantum of Solace (2008)
Quantum of Solace opens with a typical and exciting James Bond car chase on a narrow, windy coastal road. If you’ve been to Lake Garda, you automatically recognize the iconic scenery as 007 skillfully navigates his car from the village of Malcesine through Navene and Tempesta to Riva del Garda.
As the chase is underway, he ends up in the Carrara marble caves, which looks cool, but logistically doesn’t make sense. The quarry is in Apuan Alps in Tuscany, about five hours away. But hey, enjoy the stunning views and chalk up the rest to creative licence.
Lake Garda is a stunning place, and I’d recommend extending your James Bond Italy experience by staying here for a few days. You can thank me later.
Casino Royale (2006)
For some reason, I expected Lake Como to make more appearances in the James Bond movies. Given Bond’s penchant for chasing powerful villains in glamourous settings, you’d think that 007 would have frequented the area more often. Apparently not.
In Casino Royale, James and Vesper visit the Villa del Balbianello, where he recuperates from his encounter with La Chiffre. The villa is on the western shore of Lake Como near Lenno. Once again, the lake views are not on his mind here. At the end of the movie, he returns to Villa La Gaeta, near San Siro and Menaggio, where he shoots Mr. White. Maybe he should have taken some time to process things while he was in the area.
Siena and Talamone
Quantum of Solace (2008)
After the car chase along Lake Garda, Bond heads to Tuscany. Of course, he does. He arrives in Siena during the annual Palio di Siena horse race at the Piazza del Campo. But he’s got no time to appreciate it as he’s chasing bad guys across Siena’s historic rooftops.
The festival takes place twice a year, in July and August, so this is a great reason to plan your James Bond Italy experience that coincides with the event. After, you can head to the coastal town of Talamone. In the movie, Bond goes there to visit his friend René Mathis, who lives at Villa Le Torre.
No Time to Die (2021)
Even before the latest James Bond installment rolled into theatres, we all saw teasers of what undoubtedly will become the next go-to destination in Italy. We’re talking about Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside known as Sassi.
James and Madelaine Swann come here hoping to finally let go of the past, but it’s a Bond movie, not a rom-com. Cue in bad guys and motorcycle chase across the historic areas and Sassi squares, and you got yourself an action-packed tourism video that will pay dividends for years.
While Matera is a beautiful place to visit, you might also want to add the town of Gravina to your list. That’s where Bond bungee jumps off the stone bridge. Gravina, in the Puglia region, is about 25 km from Matera, which is in Basilicata. Add both for an extended James Bond Italy experience.
- Matera: James Bond 007 Guided Tour
- Sassi di Matera: Explore Matera’s Ancient Cave Dwellings
Fun fact: Some of the scenes in No Time to Die were also filmed in Sapri, a coastal town below Naples. Visit at your discretion.
James Bond arrives in his usual style – during a fast and furious night-time car chase in the tight streets of Rome. There are bad guys, a damsel in distress and a secret organization set on taking Bond out once and for all.
Like in Siena, he’s got no time to admire the sights. He speeds by the Vatican City, and the districts of Monti and Prati before checking off the Gianicolo Hill and ending up in the Tiber River. Oh, the possibilities Rome could have offered in terms of secret societies, shady characters and hidden treasures. It did wonders for Dan Brown.
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Sexy Bond girls, Russian spies, looming disaster, epic henchman and crazy gadgets make this James Bond movie one for the books. Love him or hate him, Roger Moore’s 007 didn’t take himself too seriously, and this movie is proof of that. Hello, Jaws.
Bond and the Russian agent XXX Anya Amasova arrive on the north coast of Sardinia. They stay at the Hotel Cala di Volpe perched on the cliffs of the beautiful Costa Smeralda. The Spy Who Loved Me delivers with a car chase along Vista Point and through the piazza of San Pantaleone before Bond drives his car – a Lotus Esprit – into the sea. It turns into a submarine, and he ends up relaxing at Romazzina Beach.
While the hotel’s site doesn’t specifically mention the James Bond association, they offer exclusive Aston Martin test drives (Aug. 13 – Aug. 22). You might want to end (or start) your James Bond Italy tour here, and I recommend you spend a few days in Sardinia.
Recommended Sardinia tours:
- La Maddalena Archipelago: Full-Day Trip by Boat
- Golfo Aranci: Tavolara and Molara Snorkeling & Boat Tour
Bond, James bond Italy edition
Italy is always a great place to explore, whether you’re a James Bond fan or not. There is a reason why so many have been drawn here for millennia. Now you can add some fun to your visit with a James Bond Italy themed-trip and make the best of it.
You can rent a convertible, go on a boat ride or visit a vineyard and imagine what 007 would be doing with his time off. Of course, that entirely depends on which Bond you model your experience after. No matter which one you go with, it’s guaranteed to be epic.
Just for funsies: 10 Reasons Roger Moore Was The Best Bond