On the set of Call Me by Your Name

Last month, as part of my most beloved birthday present, we went to Italy, which was the breath of fresh air I’ve been dying for. While we spent most of the time in Bergamo and Milan (posts coming soon), we went to Crema as well, and for a specific reason. Bits and pieces of Call Me by Your Name were filmed in the northern Italian town of Crema (and the surrounding countryside).

Located in the region of Lombardy, Crema is a small town with rather narrow streets and numerous historical buildings that the director, Luca Guadagnino, once described as “quintessentially Italian without being an idea of Italy”. Aside the piazzas, monuments and the typical Italian buildings, there is the Piazza del Duomo, where the Arco del Torrazzo can be found. It is a triumphal arch gate built around 1520 that connects the town center streets and the Cathedral. The arch gate made an appearance in the movie, more specifically, Elio and Oliver found themselves in the Piazza del Duomo, sat at a café, having the following conversation:

I took a long swill from a large bottle of mineral water, passed it to him, then drank from it again. I spilled some on my hand and rubbed my face with it, running my wet fingers through my hair. The water was insufficiently cold, not fizzy enough, leaving behind an unslaked likeness of thirst.

What did one do around here?

Nothing. Wait for summer to end.

What did one do in the winter, then?

I smiled at the answer I was about to give. He got the gist and said, “Don’t tell me: wait for summer to come, right?”

Call Me by Your Name – Andre Aciman, pp. 7

Being there felt very odd, especially considering I’ve recently read the novel and absolutely loved it. There’s some sort of magic in visiting places where actors were strolling, having coffee and saying their lines while being filmed. It was such a memorable experience. If anything, there are agencies organizing Call Me by Your Name themed tours and you can rent a bike to visit the countryside surrounding Crema, where most of the film was shot. Considering the torrid weather, we decided that a bike ride wouldn’t be the best choice in a 40°C heat; however, I’m sure it would’ve been a unique experience. Obviously there is so much more to Crema than the Piazza del Duomo, and there’s no need for me to detail how tasty the food was as it’s common knowledge that Italian dishes are just next level. All things considered, it was one of those experiences that I will remember at 70 and certainly every time I see the book on my shelves, listen to the soundtrack or watch the film.

Source for the photo from the film: British Vogue

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