La Vita E Bella (Life Is Beautiful)| 1997
Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) location: the town square: Arezzo,Tuscany, Italy | Photograph: iStockphoto / Karambol
"The indomitability of the human spirit" is always a favourite theme with Oscar voters and, yes, Roberto Benigni's Chaplinesque fable picked up three of the little gold chaps.
The town in which zanily romantic Guido Orefice (Benigni himself) has ambitions to open a bookshop is Arezzo, southeast of Florence in Tuscany (information boards pointing out the film's locations are helpfully dotted about the town).
Life Is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) location: Guido is transfixed by the ‘principessa’ at the opera: Teatro Signorelli, Cortona, Italy | Photograph: flickr / Aurelio Nicchiarelli
The opera house, in which Guido shows more interest in his 'principessa' than in The Tales of Hoffman, is the 19th century Teatro Signorelli, Piazza Signorelli in Cortona, about 15 miles south of Arezzo.
The mood turns darker as Guido and his son are transported to 'Germany'. The forbidding concentration camp (designed by longtime Fellini collaborator Danilo Donati) was built on the remains of an abandoned chemical factory near the Marmore Falls in Terni, quite a way to the southeast.
The complex has since been developed by Benigni into the Papigno film studio, where his live-action film of Pinocchio was shot.