If you have seen the film “Call Me By Your Name”, a love story that takes place “somewhere in Northern Italy”, the likelihood is that it left you itching to experience the romance of the region for yourself.
Although the tag line is vague we have pinpointed the locations in Lombardy in the northwest of Italy. This means all you need is three days to explore and be guided by the story of 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and his professor father’s 24-year-old graduate-student assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer) as it unfolds in various locations around this region.
Built along the river Serio, the city of Crema is dominated by its Duomo, a church built in the gothic style almost 700 years ago. It rises out of “Duomo Square” and is surrounded by pretty terraced houses painted in rose pinks and soft yellows.
Several major scenes in the film were shot in Crema including one shot in the Duomo Square, where Elio and Oliver awkwardly engage in conversation, before Oliver jumps on his bike and cycles off, leaving a slightly bewildered Elio in his wake.
The Duomo Square looks particularly lovely when bathed in the soft glow of sunlight, and true to form locals on vintage bicycles meander gently over the cobbled floor.
Where to eat: There are several eateries dotted around the square, most with outdoor seating. At Trattoria Quin, a cosy restaurant with traditional furnishings and wooden beamed ceilings, try some deliciously light asparagus risotto as well as a local dish, Tortelli Cremaschi. The sweet filled pasta contains 16 special ingredients and had a unique chocolaty consistency.
Lake Garda’s crystal blue water and crumbling ruins have long made it a popular holiday destination. Situated at the foot of the Italian Alps, the vast lake covers 370m2 and its shoreline is divided between the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige.
One of Lake Garda’s most picturesque towns is Sirmione in the Lombardy region, which pre-dates the Roman era and contains a 13th century fortified stronghold, Scaliger castle, that looks out on to the lake. Only around 150 people live in the old town, which is dominated by narrow, cobbled streets, tourist shops and restaurants.
Sirmione’s most famous landmark is the crumbling ruins of Grottoes of Catullus, which was a grand Roman villa in 1st century BC. The ruins are set in a serene backdrop of olive groves and rosemary bushes, overlooking the translucent waters of Lake Garda.
This is where Oliver, Elio and his father walk through the decaying arches towards the “hall of giants” and wade into the lake, where they discover a beautiful bronze Roman statue. The lake is called “Jamaica beach”, so named because the flat, overlapping rocks on the lakebed look like sand from afar. Oliver and Elio shake hands on this beach (via the broken arm of the bronze statue) and sparks fly.