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Tea with Mussolini

We just watched "Tea With Mussolini" last night, and cannot recommend it highly enough. Funny thing is, we watched this movie a number of years ago, and I remembered it as rather ho-hum, and DH didn't remember it at all!

But it's definitely worth watching, especially if you are headed to Italy, and even more especially if you're headed to Florence or San Gimignano. It's the story of a group of women - most English, two Americans - in Florence in the 1930s and through WWII. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright play the English ladies; Cher (really) and Lilly Tomlin are the Americans. It's sad, sweet, funny, heart-wrenching... Oh, and it's Judie Dench's husband's last film. And there's a delightful child actor (2 actually). And a dog. What more could you want?

How about this: it's based on events in the life of director Franco Zeffirelli, as a child in war-time Italy.

I think the reasons we got more out of it this time were 1.) we have been to Italy three or four times since we first watched it - twice to Florence, and 2.) we recently read - and loved - "Saving Italy," about the Monuments Men in Italy. There was a thread about this book recently. Here's the link:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/great-book-to-read-before-you-go

So find the movie, find the book, and enjoy. You will be entertained and edified.

Posted by
940 posts

I love this movie, but I typically like anything with Judi Dench in it. Good recommendation.

Posted by
2983 posts

Thanks for reminding me. I need to see if Netflix has it. I've seen this movie several times, and I agree that it's much better if you've actually been to Florence and/or San Gimignano before.

And don't forget A Room With A View. Another great ensemble cast that includes Dames Judy Dench and Maggie Smith.

Posted by
215 posts

Seeing this title just jogged my memory--I saw this movie being filmed on my first trip to Europe in 1998! I cannot remember if it was in Siena or San Gimignano. I've never actually seen it, but now it's on my must-watch list.

Posted by
743 posts

I went to San Gimignano in 2002 and bought the Video when I got back to the UK.
My rental was actually one of the towers in the centre of town,indeed the ladies formed a human wall to stop the Germans blowing my "front door" up !
What amazing odds that should be.