Prima Della Rivoluzione (BEFORE THE REVOLUTION) | 1964
The second feature film from Bernardo Bertolucci is a loose adaptation of Stendhal’s Charterhouse Of Parma, with Francesco Barilli as Fabrizio, a young bourgeois who carries on a passionate affair with his Milanese aunt, Gina (Adriana Asti), while tussling with the complexities of Euro-Communism.
It was actually filmed in Parma, in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Don’t go bothering the local tourist office – there is no Charterhouse; this was invented by Stendhal, and features only at the very end of the novel, when the hero retires to it, “in the woods by the Po, a couple of leagues from Sacca.”
In Bertolucci’s film, Fabrizio and Gina hang around the city’s main square, Piazza Garibaldi.
In the aftermath of the Communist Summer Rally, Fabrizio mooches around the Park Ducal, the grounds of the Farnese palace across the Ponte Verdi from the town centre.
The opera house in which Fabrizio and Gina attend, separately, a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth, is the Teatro Regio di Parma on the via Garibaldi, which is indeed closely associated with Verdi, as well as conductor Arturo Toscanini, who was born in Parma.
If you’re visiting Parma, you’ll hardly need reminding that it’s famous for its food, particularly Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (Parmesan) and, of course, Prosciutto di Parma (Parma ham).