caught by a wave romantic scene

20 Irresistible Italian Romance Movies to Watch in 2024

Italian cinema has produced a lot of masterpieces that are internationally renowned—romantic movies included. 

From modern favorites like “Call Me by Your Name” to classics by directors such as Federico Fellini and Franco Zeffirelli, the best Italian romantic movies will make you feel a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Here are 20 Italian movies that immerse you in captivating stories, with settings like Florence, Rome, Tuscany and Lombardy:


1. Chiamami col tuo nome (Call Me By Your Name)

Year: 2018
Main Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer
Where to Watch:
Amazon Prime 

“Call Me by Your Name” is one of the most popular modern Italian films ever. I read the book before watching the movie, and the movie succeeded in capturing the essence of the book, with an emotional soundtrack, lush views of the Italian countryside and sensual details.

Elio is a teenager living with his parents in Northern Italy. Elio’s father, who’s a professor, invites an American graduate student named Oliver to stay with the family for the summer.

As Elio and Oliver share intellectual conversations and explore the countryside together, they start flirting with each other and become more intimate. 

2. Malena  

Year: 2000
Main Cast: Monica Bellucci, Giuseppe Sulfaro
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

This raw, one-of-a-kind drama made a deep impression on me because of its commentary on human nature.

It’s told through the perspective of Renato Amoroso, a 13-year-old boy who becomes infatuated with a beautiful war widow named Malena. She’s sought after sexually by many men in the town, but she remains aloof as she mourns her husband.

As Malena turns to desperate means to survive in a war-torn society, the townspeople become more hostile towards her and judge her harshly.

All the while, Renato watches her life unfold, and he fantasizes about being her protector and savior—but he has no power to change her fate. 

3. Romeo e Giulietta (Romeo and Juliet)

Year: 1968
Main Cast: Olivia Hussey, Leonard Whiting
Where to Watch: 
Google Play

This is one of the best adaptations of “Romeo and Juliet.”

It follows Shakespeare’s play very closely: Romeo and Juliet are from enemy families, and they’re forbidden from ever being together. The tragic finale doesn’t change, with both Romeo and Juliet killing themselves because of a misunderstanding.

What’s unusual about this movie is Franco Zeffirelli’s choice to cast teenagers as Romeo and Juliet—Olivia Hussey was 15 years old then, while Leonard Whiting was 17.

But this actually helped because the acting feels authentic. The movie is heartbreaking since it’s so easy to believe that both of them are really in love.

4. Sulla stessa onda (Caught by a Wave)

Year: 2021
Main Cast: Elvira Camarrone, Christian Roberto
Where to Watch: Netflix

“Caught by a Wave” is a coming-of-age story about two teenagers, Sara and Lorenzo, who meet in a summer sailing camp in Sicily.

They’re young, free and drawn to each other right away with an intensity that feels like it could last forever. But then comes the devastating news: Sara’s battling a progressive disease.

Despite this, Lorenzo continues to be supportive of Sara and stand by her as they try to seize every moment. Throughout the summer, their relationship deepens, and they learn about resilience and how precious the present is.

Both of them are very adorable and sweet with each other, plus the soundtrack is catchy.

5. L’ultimo bacio (The Last Kiss)

Year: 2001
Main Cast: Stefano Accorsi, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Martina Stella
Where to Watch: Disney Plus

Carlo is in his late twenties, and he’s shocked when Giulia, his long-term girlfriend, gets pregnant. The problem is he’s not sure if he’s ready to take on such a huge commitment and become a dad.

It’s not just him, either. Many of his other friends are in a similar stage where they’re still wavering about settling down.

Francesca, an attractive 18-year-old girl, then appears in his life, and he’s tempted by the possibility of escaping his responsibilities.

This movie won awards for its screenplay and acting, with characters that are very relatable since they tackle real-life issues. 

6. Matrimonio all’italiana (Marriage Italian Style)

Year: 1964
Main Cast: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni
Where to Watch:
Amazon Prime

Domenico, a wealthy businessman, takes on Filumena as his mistress. As the years pass, even though she was a prostitute at first, she becomes a loyal partner to him.

Still, he refuses to marry her because he’d rather keep her on the side while he chases other women. Feeling undervalued and looking for security, Filumena resorts to faking a life-threatening illness and—on her supposed deathbed—convinces Domenico to marry her.

A lot more surprises and comical situations follow.

I was impressed at how well Sophia Loren acted here as Filumena at different ages. In fact, she and Marcello Mastroianni are two of Italy’s most iconic stars.  

7. Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow)

Year: 1963
Main Cast: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni
Where to Watch: 
Amazon Prime

This is another movie that stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. It consists of three separate stories that show a certain aspect of love, and they play different characters each time.

For example, in one story, a woman keeps on getting pregnant to avoid being imprisoned in jail while she tries to illegally earn money for her husband. Another segment features a seminary student who scandalously pursues a high-class prostitute, and the prostitute has to find a way to dissuade him.

The tone is light and playful, and the versatility of the actors really shines through, especially because they always use very animated gestures here.

8. Era ora (Still Time)

Year: 2022
Main Cast: Edoardo Leo, Barbara Ronchi
Where to Watch: Netflix

I’ve seen plenty of variations of the time loop concept in movies, but “Still Time” adds a creative twist to it!

The movie starts with Dante, a workaholic, meeting a cute girl named Alice at a party.

His 40th birthday then arrives quickly. But to his surprise, when he wakes up the next day, it’s his birthday again—except an entire year has passed and Alice is already pregnant. The day after that is another birthday, with another year added again.  

As time continues to leap forward, Dante finds himself missing important milestones in his life and tries to salvage his relationship with Alice.  

9. Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips)

Year: 2000
Main Cast: Licia Maglietta, Bruno Ganz, Antonio Catania
Where to Watch: 
Amazon Prime

“Bread and Tulips” is a modern, feel-good fairytale for adults! 

Rosalba is a neglected housewife from Pescara. During a bus tour with her family, she gets accidentally left behind. But instead of waiting for her husband to go back for her, she impulsively hitchhikes to Venice.

Once she gets to Venice, she ends up working at a flower shop and makes friends who are quirky, including a kind-hearted Icelandic waiter and a bubbly masseuse. As Rosalba enjoys her newfound freedom, she rediscovers her enthusiasm for life.

Meanwhile, her husband hires a bumbling private detective to track her down, which leads to funny (and heartwarming) results.

10. Nuovo Olimpo 

Year: 2023
Main Cast: Damiano Gavino, Andrea Di Luigi
Where to Watch: 

This movie takes us back to 1970s Rome, right into the lives of two men: Pietro, a shy medical student, and Enea, a film student and aspiring director. They run into each other at the Nuovo Olimpo theater, a hotspot for gay men, and spend a night together.

Even though they have a deep, haunting connection, they’re forced to part ways because of an accident. Years later, they meet again by chance, still unable to forget each other even though they’ve both moved on with their lives.

The story’s inspired by the director’s real-life experiences, plus the visuals are striking, showcasing Rome’s beautiful architecture and cityscape.

11. Io sono l’amore (I am Love) 

Year: 2009
Main Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Pippo Delbono
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime | Hulu

This award-winning film is captivating and decadent, and it’s a must-watch if you’re fascinated by the lives of aristocrats.

Emma is the wife of Tancredi Recchi, a wealthy business owner, and they live in Milan with their three children. She’s originally from Russia, but she has settled into a life of luxury and tradition that feels increasingly isolating and unfulfilling.

This changes when she gets introduced to Antonio, a talented young chef. Both of them are passionate about food and cooking, and as she becomes more attracted to him, she questions her place in the Recchi family and her own identity.

12. Le fate ignoranti (The Ignorant Fairies)

Year: 2001
Main Cast: Margherita Buy, Steffano Accorsi, Andrea Renzi
Where to Watch:
Disney PlusHulu

Antonia, a successful doctor, is devastated when her husband Massimo suddenly dies. As she grieves for him, she discovers that he was having a long-term affair with a man named Michele.

Surprised and confused, she looks for Michele and his eclectic group of friends, who are all part of the LGBTQ+ community. As she gets to know them, Antonia comes to understand the depth of Massimo’s secret life and his relationship with Michele.

This unexpected journey leads her to redefine her identity and her idea of love.

It’s definitely not a conventional film—in fact, I found it refreshing because it does away with cliches.

13. L’Eclisse (The Eclipse) 

Year: 1962
Main Cast: Alain Delon, Monica Vitti
Where to Watch: 
Amazon Prime

Vittoria has just broken up with her older lover, Riccardo.

Struggling with a sense of emptiness, Vittoria wanders through Rome and then crosses paths with Piero, an energetic stockbroker.

Even though they have very different personalities—Vittoria is introspective and detached, while Piero is materialistic and impulsive—they begin a tentative romance.

It’s quite an experimental and symbolic film that might leave you surprised, especially with how it uses landscapes and architecture to reflect the characters’ inner worlds. The setting even looks like it’s for a horror film (even though it’s set in Rome).

For more movies like this, check out L’Avventura” (1960) and La Notte” (1961), all by the same director—Michelangelo Antonioni.

14. Vincere (To Win)

Year: 2009
Main Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

“Vincere” is a masterpiece of an Italian historical drama. It’s a vivid portrayal of the dictator Benito Mussolini and Ida Dalser, his first wife.

In early 20th century Italy, Ida—a beautiful and ambitious woman—falls passionately in love with a young Mussolini, who was still an activist back then. She becomes deeply devoted to him and even gives him financial support as he rises to power.  

Their happiness doesn’t last long, though, because Mussolini abandons Ida and their young son for his political ambitions. Ida refuses to accept this, fighting tooth and nail to stay in Mussolini’s life even as he becomes a fascist dictator.

15. L’uomo delle stelle (The Star Maker)

Year: 1995
Main Cast: Sergio Castellitto, Tiziana Lodato
Where to Watch: Amazon

Joe is a charming con artist who pretends to be a talent scout for a major film studio.

Armed with a camera, he travels from village to village in Sicily, offering hopefuls the chance to become movie stars for a fee and capturing a tapestry of post-war life in Italy.

As he hears people’s desires and confessions, his initial cynicism gets challenged repeatedly. And then he becomes close to Beata, a convent girl who eventually forces him to a moral crossroads.

It seems like a comedy at first but then becomes more emotionally intense, and the stories of the different characters are absorbing.

16. Manuale d’amore (Manual of Love)

Year: 2005
Main Cast: Carlo Verdone, Silvio Muccino, Luciana Littizzetto, Sergio Rubini
Where to Watch:

“Manual of Love” describes four stages of love, as lived out by different couples in Rome.

The opening story features a young couple who are giddy about each other. Then the movie shifts to a middle-aged woman who feels her husband is too emotionally distant.

By the third part, a man is considering getting revenge on his cheating wife. And finally, in the last segment, an old man struggles to cope with being abandoned by his long-term partner.

As realistic as the stories might be, they’re pretty funny and insightful as well. There’s also “Manual of Love 2,” which was a box office hit, and “Manual of Love 3.”

17. La chimera (The Chimera)

Year: 2023
Main Cast: Josh O’Connor, Carol Duarte, Yile Vianello 
Where to Watch: 

This unique, mesmerizing film is about grave robbers who dig up ancient artifacts in the hopes of getting wealthy—with a dash of supernatural romance.

Arthur used to be an archeological scholar, but he got involved with a gang of grave robbers (tombaroli in Italian) and was even imprisoned.

His fall from grace started when the woman he loved—Beniamina—died. In an attempt to reach her, he becomes obsessed with communicating with the dead, eventually being able to find important Etruscan antiques using a dowsing rod.

To complicate things further, he becomes attracted to someone who’s alive: Italia, a former maid at Beniamina’s house.

18. Ti mangio il cuore (Burning Hearts) 

Year: 2022
Main Cast: Elodie, Francesco Patanè
Where to Watch:

This movie’s Italian title literally means “I’ll eat your heart,” which already gives you an idea of how it blurs the lines between passion and violence.

Shot in stark black and white, it’s about the forbidden romance between Andrea and Marilena, who belong to rivaling Mafia families. Andrea is the heir of the Malatesta family, while Marilena is the wife of the Camporeale family’s head. When they’re caught having an affair, chaos is unleashed.

The bloody feud between the clans then comes back in full force. Think of it as like Romeo and Juliet, except in a thrilling Mafia setting.  

19. Moglie per una notte (Wife for a Night)

Year: 1952
Main Cast: Gina Lollobrigida, Gino Cervi, Nadia Gray, Armando Francioli
Where to Watch: YouTube

A well-off count becomes infatuated with a mysterious woman named Geraldine while he’s away from his wife. To help out his nephew Enrico, the town’s mayor comes up with a plot: he asks Geraldine to pretend that she’s Enrico’s wife, Ottavia.

Geraldine agrees to play along and visits Enrico’s house to greet the count as if she were Ottavia. But as the charade unfolds, Enrico becomes unexpectedly possessive of Geraldine, which she delights in. The count and Enrico’s real wife—Ottavia—aren’t happy about the situation, and Ottavia resorts to flirting with the count.

It’s a light and upbeat tale of switching identities gone wrong!

20. Luci del varietà (Variety Lights)

Year: 1950
Main Cast: Peppino De Filippo, Carla Del Poggio, Giulietta Masina
Where to Watch:

This is the legendary Federico Fellini’s first movie as a director.

Checco, the manager of a variety troupe, is struggling to keep the business afloat. But the troupe’s fortunes seem to take a turn for the better when they discover a talented young dancer named Liliana.

Checco becomes infatuated with Liliana and decides to make her the star of the show, much to the chagrin of his long-time lover and lead performer, Melina.

As the troupe travels from town to town, their dynamics as a group become strained, with Checco getting obsessed with Liliana and Liliana’s ambitions irritating the other performers.


If you binge these Italian movies, you’ll notice that they go deep. They’re mindful of cinematography, they portray human nature honestly, and they show how love can have so many diverse facets.

This is why they’re so timeless—you can watch them even decades later and they’ll still strike a chord.

For Italian language learners, movies like this are also an incredibly useful learning resource, especially since so many of them are available on platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus.

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For more great movies in Italian, check out this post next:

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