Five romantic destinations
Have you ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of your favourite movie couples? These five romantic destinations – all of which can be visited on P&O Cruises holidays – offer the perfect chance to relive the iconic moments and soak up the amorous vibes of some of the dreamiest settings in the world
The city of Florence sets hearts fluttering as much as the budding romance in the 1985 big-screen adaptation of E. M. Forster’s classic novel, A Room with a View. Tuscany’s breathtaking Renaissance capital is the perfect backdrop for the romantic awakening of Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter in her first major movie role) as she falls in love with the brooding George Emerson (Julian Sands), its historic centre alive with cobbled streets, artistic flourishes and a vibrant dining scene. The titular view from the bedrooms of Lucy and Miss Bartlett looks out at the famous Ponte Vecchio over the River Arno. Travellers can retrace Lucy’s footsteps to visit the Basilica of Santa Croce and its Giotto frescoes, the Duomo and the Piazza della Signoria, as well as an abundance of art galleries and bustling street cafés.
New York, USA
Woody Allen’s stylish, monochrome Manhattan (1979) is as much a love letter to New York as a romance between its two characters, Allen himself as TV writer Isaac and Diane Keaton as journalist Mary. The film centres on the city’s famously vibrant arts scene, with the couple visiting the Guggenheim, MoMA and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The sprawling green haven of Central Park features, as it does in many Allen films, while the pair watching the sunrise by the Queensboro Bridge is one of cinema’s most romantic and iconic shots. As well as the big sights, such as the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, New York is renowned for its numerous cafés and pizzerias from which you can sit back, relax and soak up the details of daily life.
When a bored Liverpudlian housewife (played by Pauline Collins) sets off for Mykonos with her best friend in Shirley Valentine (1989), she wants to know if there’s more to life, and the beautiful island (with the help of a sun-kissed Adonis) proves there certainly is. The destination has come to represent freedom and self-reflection, sought out by thousands of tourists every year, who travel there to fall in love with the island’s magnificent sandy beaches, or perhaps a local with a twinkle in their eye. The breathtaking Agios Ioannis Beach has become so synonymous with the film it’s now known as the ‘Shirley Valentine Beach’, and is as beautiful today as it was when Collins sat gazing wistfully at the view some 30 years ago.
Rome may not have been built in a day, but it’s possible to pack a lot into one, as proven by Audrey Hepburn’s wayward Princess Ann and Gregory Peck’s cynical journalist Joe Bradley as they fall in love over one magical day in Roman Holiday (1953). It was the first American film to be shot entirely in Italy, and it makes the most of its iconic location where centuries of history combine with a thriving energy. Visit the Forum where Joe discovers the princess a little worse for wear; sit on the Spanish Steps where Princess Ann famously devours a cone of gelato; enjoy a great photo op at the Mouth of Truth into which Joe pretends to have lost his hand; and feel the emotion at the Palazzo Colonna where Hepburn stood for her final scene. For your own action-packed Roman holiday, down an espresso and hop aboard a Vespa to see the city in true Italian style.
The list wouldn’t be complete without a Meg Ryan rom-com – in this case, French Kiss (1995) – and even if you don’t speak the ‘language of love’, romance abounds in the French Riviera. Cannes is not only the location of the world’s most glamorous film festival, but also Kate (Ryan)’s decision between getting her ex-fiancée Charlie (Timothy Hutton) back or following her heart with new love Luc (Kevin Kline). The famous Carlton hotel, and its exclusive private beach on La Croisette, may have been the scenes of particularly heated exchanges between Kate and Charlie, but it promises a much more romantic backdrop in real life. And, it wouldn’t be a trip to Cannes without going full glamour and visiting the luxury boutiques along its elegant avenues, including Cartier, where Kate famously ‘returned’ Luc’s diamond necklace.