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Roman Holiday

Published on 19/12/13 in Reading

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Roman Holiday 3

A film that has conquered our heart

Every time that summer comes, Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck is shown on Italian television.  Not just once, but two or even three times.  I’m not sure exactly why RAI chooses this time of year to show us the movie, but I’m sure it is not for the benefit of the Romans but, rather, that of tourists, who insist on viewing the city in a more romantic light. 

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve seen the movie over ten times, and it always manages to give me the same feeling of freshness as the first time I saw it.  Every summer I like to imagine touring the entire city on a scooter, just like the protagonists of the film, and I would do it if Paolo wasn’t Italian and didn’t give me that look of extreme disbelief that always manages to discourage me.  Over time I came to realize that, no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to get him to see Rome as I saw it.

In the movie, Audrey Hepburn plays a northern-European princess who comes to Rome on an official visit but manages to escape the palace where she is staying one night.  The next day, awed by everything she is seeing and experiencing, she visits the city’s famous sights on the back of a scooter driven by Gregory Peck, playing the role of an American journalist.  They are forced to part ways at midnight and her charming guide returns her to the palace. 

Annex Hepburn Audrey Roman Holiday 2I won’t go into the story with more detail which gives, along with the excellent acting provided by the main protagonists, such delightful twists to the film.  Nowadays, the movie just seems to be a pleasant romantic comedy, but in 1953, when it was made, just eight years after the War, it had a more relevant place in Time.  Rome was struggling to stand on its own two feet financially, politically and, most of all, psychologically, and the two pillars chosen to help Rome in its new beginning were tourism and the film industry. 

Roman Holiday audrey hepburn 824690 640 2Naturally, the Eternal City had never stopped radiating glamour, sometimes by means of the Caesars, other times by means of the Popes, artists and all its princes, but now it was a different time and required a different means.  So the much-seen ride around the city on the scooter to take in all the marvellous sights, as seen through the enchanted eyes of an Audrey Hepburn at the peak of her beauty and freshness, plus the ruggedly handsome physique of her on-screen partner, captivated the world and American tourists started to pour into the city.  That was just the beginning.  And then? ... An excerpt from the book: Feeling Rome.

The e-book Feeling Rome, illustrated with colour images, is available on:

ROME English small 15Amazon Kindle:

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YouTube Feeling ROME book video




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