Wayne passed through Rome to do screen tests for Legend of the Lost. His arrival in the Eternal City (pictured here with Pilar, as his trains arrives at Termini Station in Rome, on December 4, 1956) made the headlines and he held a press reception at the Hotel Excelsior, at the famous Via Vittorio Veneto 125. Wayne was at the Grand Hotel, Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando 3.
Wayne also went to a gala at the Teatro Sistina, Via Sistina 129, and he had spaghetti at The Alfredo Restaurant, Via della Scrofa 104. The Alfredo alla Scrofa had been operating since 1914 and is still known as the birthplace of Fettucine Alfredo.
He obviously didn't mind the infamous papparazzi of Rome as they followed him into a gun shop where the Duke took a closer look at some Italian made rifles.
As head of Batjac, Wayne sealed the Legend of the Lost deal with co-producer Dear Films, an Italian company based in Rome. One condition was that Cinecitta in Rome had to be used for the studio scenes. By March, Hathaway had moved the company into the Cinecitta Studios in Rome at Via Tuscolana 1055. The fascicsts had founded the studios in 1937. The Allies had bombed Cinecitta during the war. After Rome fell to the Allies, they used the former studios as a displaced persons’ camp.
During his stay in Italy, Wayne took a secret vacation on Ishia, the volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples. The Burt Lancaster flic The Crimson Pirate had put it on the movie location map a few years back. By the time Wayne visited, it was already known among celebrities for its natural hot springs. He bathed in hot water at the Regina Isabella, on the Piazza Santa Restituta, in the village of Lacco Ameno. The hotel was then brand new and built by the Italian film producer Angelo Rizzoli.
Wayne returned to Rome in July of 1965, for Cast a Giant Shadow. He hit every nightspot in the Eternal City. Seen here at the Trevi fountain, made famous in movies when Wayne's protegée, Anita Ekberg, waded in the water in La Dolce Vita.
His scenes were again shot on the Rome stages. They built the Dachau concentration camp in Cincecitta.
They used locations close to Rome for remaining exteriors. Wayne had to do just one exterior, in Santa Maria di Galeria, north of Rome. The little town was chosen to represent a village in Normandy during D-Day. He hurt his back in the scene where he ducks a sniper’s bullet behind a Jeep. He was treated to the nearby Villa Clara Hospital.
Taking a stroll at the world-famous Spanish Steps in Rome, also a location from the classic Roman Holiday.
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All pictures posted on this website are from the collection of the author, unless otherwise noted