Rome: movies on the Tiber
Until September 2nd, you'll find nightly films, talks, concerts and other events taking place in the middle of the River Tiber as part of the Isola di Roma Festival. Take a seat in front on the giant screen set up on Isola Tiberina, Rome's only island, to catch a mix of old, new, Italian and foreign films accompanied by the soundtrack of the rushing river.
Photo: Luca Salvini/Isola del Cinema/Facebook
Follow the river north and you'll come to the Molo Film Festival, which will be showing a short film followed by a feature – all for free – on the banks of the Tiber every night from August 5th to 31st. Look for the screen by Ponte Milvio bridge.
For other open-air screenings in the capital, check out Cinema in Piazza, which is showing dozens of films for free until September 8th at three different locations: a school courtyard in central Trastevere, the Casale della Cervelletta park in the east, and by the sea at the port of Ostia.
Photo: I ragazzi del Cinema America/Facebook
In the Villa Borghese, until September 5th, the Casa del Cinema is moving its movies outside for free nightly projections in the heart of one of Rome's loveliest parks.
And you'll also find a carefully curated selection of showings every Wednesday until August 1st at Cinema Giardino in the pretty gardens by the Farnesina, Italy's Foreign Ministry.
Milan: films above the rooftops
For a view as good as the show, book a ticket at Cinema Bianchini on the roof of Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping arcade. Showing a selection of classics until September 30th, the intimate cinema is split across two terraces with panoramic views over the Duomo and the glass dome of the arcade itself. Spectators are provided with benches, blankets and even dessert.
For a less chichi experience, head into the western suburbs of Milan to catch a broad range of open-air films at Cinema in cuffia at the hip Mare urban cultural centre, located on a social housing estate: it'll be a different ambiance, but no less atmospheric. Until September 7th.
Back in the city centre, check out AriAnteo's diverse selection of outdoor screenings at the Royal Palace, the CityLife business district, a converted convent and a church cloister until September 12th.
Turin: screenings under the stars
… or should that be among them? Every Friday between August 17th and September 14th the Turin Planetarium will show films on its rooftop terrace, open to any visitors who've paid to enter the space museum. Each movie celebrates great minds from the fields of maths and science, including Stephen Hawking, Alan Turing and NASA's pioneering “human computers”.
Film fans can also look forward to Cinema al Palazzo Reale, an outdoor screen in the courtyard of Turin's Royal Palace, which will be hosting 41 nights of movies between July 17th and September 1st. Expect an eclectic programme, including a newly restored version of 1916 silent film The Fire accompanied by live music from an experimental rock band.
Padua: an ancient movie (amphi)theatre
We suspect the Romans who built Padua's amphitheatre wouldn't object to it hosting the modern-day equivalent to their ancient entertainments. Until July 31st, you can make like a Roman spectator and watch the show at the Arena Romana, where you'll find a selection of European and American recent releases.
Bologna: pictures in the piazza
Pull up a pew (or just find a spot on the steps) in Piazza Maggiore for Sotte le stelle del Cinema, a summer of movies that runs until August 15th. The free screenings in Bologna's impressive central square are mainly dedicated to classics from Italy, Europe and Hollywood, but also include a select handful of more recent releases. Some will be accompanied by live music and/or an introduction by the director.
Photo: Lorenzo Burlando/Cineteca di Bologna/Facebook
Florence: cinema among the sculptures
The seventh art joins the other six at the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. From June 25th to August 11th, one of Italy's most famous museums will open its courtyard to Apriti Cinema, 48 free screenings of films old and new from around the world. Look out for Hitchcock thrillers, jazz documentaries, South Korean dramas, classics of Italian neorealism and more. All showings are free, but places are limited.
Perugia: a silver screen in the gardens
Every summer Perugia's elegant Giardini del Frontone play host to Frontone Cinema, rigging up a projector behind the park's triumphal arch and turning the space into an outdoor theatre. This year's programme, running until September 13th, contains something for everyone – including a special CinePride selection dedicated to LGBT themes and filmmakers.
Photo: Frontone Cinema/Facebook
Naples: flicks under a volcano
Until August 15th, you can go the movies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. With nightly screenings in the gardens of Villa Bruno in San Giorgio di Cremano, to the south of Naples, Cinema intorno al Vesuvio brings together family-friendly animated features with Hollywood blockbusters and more intellectual fare from this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP
Amantea: shorts by the beach
From August 7-11th, the beach resort of Amantea on Italy's south-west Calabrian coast hosts what might just be the country's most right-on summer cinemas – and one of its most beautiful. Founded with the mission of “bringing the cinema back to the people and the people back to the cinema”, La Guarimba International Film Festival lays on four nights of talks, tours, aperitivi and short films from around the world. Most of the showings take place in a public park nestled into a cliff face.
Photo: La Guarimba