Culture + Style

See Northern Italy Through the Enchanting Lens of “Call Me by Your Name”

The breakout film “Call Me by Your Name” tells a lush coming-of-age tale about the passion and perils of first love between 17-year-old Elio and his father’s intern, 24-year-old Oliver. Nominated for a bevy of Academy Awards (including both Best Picture and Best Actor for Timothée Chalamet’s performance as Elio), the most underrated star of the film may well be its picturesque Italian setting.

The story is set over the course of a memorable summer in 1983 and shot entirely on location. Director Luca Guadagnino treated the film’s northern Italian setting — from the small town where the story is focused to a nearby lakeside community — like tangible characters rife with vivid emotion.

With a little guidance, travelers can experience their own Italian adventure around the very locales the movie’s characters traversed.

Your Base: Milan

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Milan’s modern high rises stand in stark contrast to nearby mountains. (Photo: Getty Images)

Though it isn’t directly featured in the film, Italy’s fashion and design hub of Milan is situated smack in the middle of “Call Me By Your Name’s” Italian universe, with the film’s various locations a short drive away.

Thanks to its international airport, make the world-class city your home base and rest your head at the Boscolo Milano, Autograph Collection (an opulent choice located in the heart of the city’s fashion district) or AC Hotel Milano.

The Quaint Charm of Crema

Hop in a car for an easy 90-minute drive from Milan to Crema, the town where much of the movie takes place. It’s here where Elio’s parents, Professor Perlman and his wife Annella, reside in a sunny 17th-century Italian villa that serves as the perfect backdrop for a blossoming romance.

“Crema has a sense of timelessness that I like, but I also think that it is quintessentially Italian without being an idea of Italy,” Guadagnino explained to digital magazine Amuse. “A lot of these Hollywood movies made in Italy look as fake as a chocolate coin. It’s a danger I don’t want to risk. For me it’s important you make the thing that looks the most correct and the most real.”

Bike like Elio and Oliver did around the streets of sleepy Crema, lined with buildings that date back hundreds of years, including the intricately constructed Crema Cathedral, completed in 1340.

After your jaunt, treat yourself to dinner at The New Ridottino, which is as known as much for its location (in an ancient palace dubbed Palazzo Crivelli) as for its sumptuous food. Make sure you order Tortelli Cremaschi, a famed dish native to Crema. Best described as a sort-of-sweet tortellini, a scene in the film depicts its preparation.

The Sleepy Community of Pandino

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Set foot inside Pandino’s Visconti Castle. (Photo: Getty Images)

One of the most memorable scenes in a movie full of them takes place in a square in the municipality of Pandino, which can be found 19 miles east of Milan. It’s here, while wheeling bicycles around a memorial dedicated to World War I, where Elio works up the courage to finally speak about the feelings he has for Oliver. (“If you only knew how little I know about the things that matter.”)

Equal parts laid-back and picturesque, Pandino is also the home of a 14th-century architectural marvel known as The Visconti Castle. While visitors to its property are permitted, a look inside can be achieved by appointment only.

The Impressive History of Lake Garda

At a key moment during Elio and Oliver’s blossoming relationship, the two tag along with Elio’s father, Professor Pearlman, to the bottom of the Dolomites to check out an archaeological discovery at Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake.

Located approximately an hour and a half by car from both Milan and Crema, Lake Garda is home to Grotte di Catullo, ancient remnants of a high-class first-century Roman villa with impressive views of the surrounding area.

Accessible from the town of Sirmione, Grotte di Catullo’s expansive property also features a museum, a visit to which would make Professor Perlman proud.

The Spectacular Sights of Bergamo

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Dramatic landscapes unfold in Bergamo. (Photo: Getty Images)

Showcased during Elio and Oliver’s final fleeting moments together, the Province of Bergamo is located about 20 miles from both Milan (to its south) and Switzerland (to its north) and is known for its surrounding natural beauty.

Most notably, the scenes where the couple hikes through what seems like a postcard were shot at Bergamo’s Serio Waterfalls, known for being the tallest in Italy and second-tallest in all of Europe.