Dating back to the Middle Ages then rebuilt in the 16th century, Castel Sant’Elia has often been a filming location since the 1940s. Its most famous landmark is the Basilica di Sant’Elia. The façade and the interior of this church appear in several historical movies: Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di Giacomo Casanova veneziano (1969) by Luigi Comencini, Il Decameron (1971) by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Agostino di Ippona (1972) by Roberto Rossellini, Flavia, la monaca musulmana (1974) by Gianfranco Mingozziand Maraviglioso Boccaccio (2015) by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani.
The Basilica was also the ideal backdrop for the celebration of cinematographic weddings (as in Ma quando arrivano le ragazze?, 2005, by Pupi Avati and Tutti pazzi per amore 2, 2010, by RiccardoMilani), funerals (as in Nessuno mi può giudicare, 2011, by Massimiliano Bruno and Boris il film, 2011, by Giacomo Ciarrapico, Mattia Torre and Luca Vendruscolo), christenings (as in Tutti i santi giorni, 2012, by Paolo Virzì) and spiritual retreats (as in Commediasexi, 2006, by Alessandro D’Alatri).
Castel Sant’Elia’s centre attracted many film-makers over time. The melodramatic …E non dirsi addio!(1948) was the very first movie to be (entirely) shot here. The great film director Alessandro Blasettiincluded a panoramic view of the Basilica di Sant’Elia in Casa d’altri, an episode of Tempi nostri (1954).
The village centre can be easily spotted in some scenes of Il bidone (1955) - a little-known film by Federico Fellini – and in Vanina Vanini (1961) by Roberto Rossellini.
Castel Sant’Elia shares with the neighbouring Nepi the honour of being the location of many other popular films such as Beatrice Cenci (1956) by Riccardo Freda, Gli scontenti (1960) by Giuseppe Lipartiti, La congiura dei dieci (1962) by Etienne Périer and Baccio Bandini, L’armata Brancaleone (1966) by Mario Monicelli, Er più – Storia d’amore e di coltello (1971) by Sergio Corbucci, Antropophagus by Joe D’Amato (Aristide Massaccesi), Francesco (1989) by Liliana Cavani, Il branco (1994) by Marco Risi, Il vestito da sposa (2003) by Fiorella Infascelli and Marcello Marcello (2008) by Denis Rabaglia.
In more recent times, two comedies were filmed here - Fantozzi 2000-La clonazione (1999) by Domenico Saverni and Le nuove comiche (1994) by Neri Parenti – as well as several Italian TV series such as Un medico in famiglia 7 (2011) and 10 (2016), Squadra Antimafia 3 (2011), 7 (2015) and 8 (2016), Don Matteo 10 (2016) and Il bello delle donne… alcuni anni dopo (2017).