“Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.”
Does anyone else still hear those words echoing in the back of their mind every now and then?
Since I saw the film at a screening back in October thanks to MTV UK and Channel Four, I can’t seem to shake those spine-tingling words from my head.
It is for this reason that I knew the first chapter of my new project, ‘Been There, Scene That’, had to be about this film and book. In this series, I will be traveling to some of the best movie locations and stepping into the scenes that will stay with us forever.
So here it is, then:
Been There, Scene That: Call Me By Your Name
I began my journey in Milan. I was traveling with my friend who also had the desire for a short city escape, and who didn’t mind making the trek to the movie locations with me. Whilst in Milan, we visited two essential tourist spots:
- The Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)
- The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
Tip: book in advance for the Duomo as the queues are HUGE, and if you’re not a big stairs climber, book yourself a ticket for the lift.
The interior of the Duomo is stunning, so my friend and I spent a good 45 minutes just walking around and taking in its beauty. You can also make a donation to the cathedral and take a candle to light for a loved one. The Galleria is also perfect for a good photo op, as you’ll see below *flicks hair*, and again has beautiful murals and paintings inside. Make sure you also carry on the weird tradition of spinning your heel on the mosaic of the dancing bull (it marks the spot where the creator of the Galleria fell to his death just 14 weeks before the building was finished) for good luck.
Then we began my Call Me By Your Name voyage (I say voyage because this was an ACTUAL voyage, guys. This isn’t an easy trip, but it’s worth it.)
We decided the first day would be spent visiting the place where the ‘Tregua?’ scene was shot (when Oliver and Elio shake hands using the arms of a statue), the beautiful island of Sirmione. It’s situated in the bottom half of the Riva del Garda and can be reached by ferry (or train), we took the ferry tour with Gestione Navigazione Laghi for under €24 from Peschiera del Garda (which we reached by taking a train from Milan Central Station). The ferry doesn’t go exactly to Sirmione, so we had to stop over in some towns for 10 minutes or so to wait for the next ferry, but arrived there in under two hours.
When your ferry arrives at Sirmione, you will ride past the Roman Ruins of Grotte di Catullo where the scene was filmed. It’s situated at the very end of the island and is an easy 15-minute walk from the port. Walking through the island, you will pass multiple restaurants and cafes and beautiful views of the ocean and islands around you. Once you arrive at the Roman Ruins, you will be asked to pay a fee to enter, but under 18’s can go in for free. (It’s not super expensive, charging at around $8 for entry.)
After we visited the ruins, we walked down to the beach scene. It’s based just below the ruins but you will have to exit and walk down the island to reach it. (The easy entrance from the ruins to the beach is closed, filming privileges only, sadly.) It’s a truly breathtaking view and great opportunity to make this into a beach holiday, as in the summer heat it’s perfect for a swim.
We then had dinner in Sirmione and returned to the port for our ferry journey back to Peschiera del Garda, and then a train back to Milan Central Station.
The next day we journeyed to Crema. We took the train from Milan Central Station and had to cross over in Treviglio to then catch a train to take us to Crema station. Once we arrived, we cycled for 5 minutes to the Duomo di Crema (Crema Cathedral) in the Piazza del Duomo. This is where Elio and Oliver go for a drink at the beginning of the film and also where Elio cycles to meet Oliver before he professes his love to Elio with “I’d hold you and kiss you if I could.” These are super easy to locate and all center mainly near the La Provincia newsagent shop.
We then left Crema and headed to Pandino, where the “You know what things” scene was shot (where Elio reveals how he feels about Oliver.) We typed in the location of the World War 1 memorial and cycled there by bike. It took us about an hour and a half but our google maps took us via the motorway, so I really do recommend driving or taking the train there. (Unless you want to be cycling down the motorway fearing for your life for an hour like we did.)
I remember cycling around the corner and seeing the memorial standing there, the sun shining on it, the piazza practically empty just like it was in the movie… it was surreal. We walked around it and of course, I had to do a one-man show reenacting the quotes to myself. Yes, the sight of a girl asking herself “what things that matter?” “You know what things” was definitely enough to make the locals think I was crazy.
After we visited it, we headed to the same cafe you see shown in the film just behind it, Il Cantuccio. As soon as we entered, the owner came over and said “I know why you’re here” before proceeding to hand us a Call Me By Your Name postcard with the shot from the scene that had the cafe in the background on it. He was very welcoming, and told us to make ourselves at home before helping us order and talking to us about the filming of the movie and how much he enjoyed the book. He seemed to be very fond of Timothee but not so sure of Armie (soz, Hammer.)
After a quick bite to eat and a charging of our phones, we headed to Capralba, to the scene where Monet’s Berm is filmed (Elio’s spot.) The bike ride to Capralba took us about an hour and a half and lead us on a beautiful cycle through the Italian Countryside.
Once we reached the spot, we locked up our bikes (as bikes aren’t actually allowed into the area where it was filmed) and headed over to it. Just like in the film, it’s very hidden, and – unless you’ve got the eyes of a hawk – you’ll probably miss it. But this hiding of it is what makes it so special. A secret sanctuary.
The water is definitely freezing, as Oliver says in the movie. But I pushed through and walked around, luckily we had good weather and the sun shone through the trees, making the water glisten and the spot all the more sublime. We also met some lovely locals who were there, they asked us what we thought of the area and we told them we thought it was beautiful. Similar to Elio, the boy told me that it was a pretty boring place to live and that it was only nice in the spring and summer. If that’s true, the film did a great job of portraying Italian country life.
After this, we cycled straight back to Crema, again my google maps took us via the motorway and we suffered through another hour of fearing for our lives, but we managed to make it back safely. When we arrived back in Crema, I tried the BEST ice cream of my life at UNIKA Cremeria in the Piazza del Duomo, order the chocolate orange flavour and you will not be disappointed.
We then cycled back to Crema station and got there just as the sun was setting. We caught our train back to Milan Central Station via Treviglio.
The trip was an almost out of body experience for a huge fan of the film like me and is definitely worth the trek to the locations. In the summer, with the Italian sun and heat in full spin, you truly do feel like an extra in the movie, as everything seems exactly as they left it.
LOCATION GPS LINKS:
Roman Ruins scene, Sirmione: 45.500872.10.606488
Tregua? scene, Sirmione: 45.502894, 10.606492
Scenes shot in Crema: 45.362952, 9.686916
Scenes shot in Pandino, World War 1 memorial: 45.405106, 9.552548
Scenes shot in Capalbra, Fontanile Quarantina: 45.446893, 9.624420
Location links are thanks to @Steve_Beals on Twitter.