When it was opened, on 18 May 1913, the correspondent of the Frankfurter Zeitung dubbed it, probably quite rightly, “the most beautiful road in the world”. Winston Churchill called it “the eighth wonder of the world”. Now Provincial Road No. 38, the Porto-to-Pieve which rises from the Garda lake road, winding up to the green plateau of Tremosine through the forra (gorge) of the Brasa stream, will be the setting for a breathtaking car chase featuring the world’s best-known secret agent, James Bond 007, spying for Her Majesty’s secret service.
Provincial main road SP38 is already a star of television and the silver screen. Another thrilling car chase was shot on the road last October for The International produced by Hollywood major Columbia Pictures and helmed by Tom Tykwer. The film is due for release in October 2008. Numerous TV commercials have been filmed on the road over the years for prestigious European car manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes. More recently, SP38 provided the backdrop for a commercial for the sports version of the Seat Leon, endorsed by motorcycle champion Loris Capirossi.
The road’s outstanding scenery and stunning views make it seem the way into the Garden of Eden. It has now been chosen by two Hollywood giants, Sony Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the producers of the latest Bond film, the 22nd in the saga of MI6 agent 007, portrayed by Daniel Craig.
Shooting will start on 14 April. The plot is top secret, of course, but it’s already sure that the road will have a “starring” role. Bond’s Aston Martin DBS and a Ford GT40 will chase each other at top speed around hairpin bends set into a rock face that falls sheer to the lake. The two cars will dodge bullets and other vehicles, and the hot pursuit will involve a number of lorries, resulting in spectacular explosions with vehicles falling down the cliff face.
Two locations have already been selected: SP38 through the Forra to Tremosine, and the Gardesana lake road from Limone to Porto di Tremosine. The car chase’s reverse angles will be shot on the road between Capo Tempesta di Torbole and Navene di Malcesine, on the Verona-province side of the lake.
The film will certainly provide a wonderful opportunity for promoting Lake Garda throughout the world using a very special endorser, the most famous spy in the history of movies. Daniel Craig, the current face of 007, will come to Lake Garda together with the usual bevy of stunning Bond girls, which for the latest film are Ukranian model/actress Olga Kurylenko and British actress Gemma Arterton. The film’s première will be the key event at the next WTM, the major international travel show held in London, 10-13 November, where Lake Garda will, of course, have its own stand. Then the film goes on general release and the world’s cinema screens will showcase the most magnificent routes around Lake Garda.
Tremosine, the Porto-Pieve road
The project for the Porto-to-Pieve road was drawn up by Arturo Cozzaglio who was a Tremosine-born autodidact, an engineer with no university degree, a hydrologist and geologist and the man behind many challenging construction works. The road was built between 1908 and 1913.
Two priests, Giacomo Zanini and Michele Milesi (the latter was also a local councillor at the time), championed the project. Many considered it to be an impossible feat of engineering, but the two convinced Count Vincenzo Bettoni, a member of the Chamber of Deputies, of its validity. Count Bettoni took the matter to the prime minister, Giuseppe Zanardelli. A special Act was passed by which the State paid half the cost of the work, a quarter was paid by the provincial assembly and the final quarter by the local council. The work began in 1908 and continued for over four years. The workforce included men skilled in blasting, most of whom came from the little village of Serle.
We know from contemporary reports that many cars travelled the road on the day of its opening and it was crowded with people from all over the province. Today, the SP38 (which is equally evocative at night when the Forra is dramatically illuminated) is still considered one of the most spectacular roads of Italy.
The Lemon Riviera celebrates 007The presence around Lake Garda of the crew and cast of the new Bond film will arouse a lot of interest and offers an ideal opportunity for promoting a series of related events.
For example, a celebration of the centenary of the birth of Ian Fleming, James Bond’s creator. The event is called Cerchio Giallo (literally “Yellow Circle”, a reference to crime/detective novels, which in Italian are called libri gialli, or “yellow books”). It is promoted by the Lemon Riviera in partnership with CartoonMics, the comics fair held at Fiera Milano City at the end of March. Cerchio Giallo guests will include Raymond Benson, an official author of the Bond continuation novels, and Carlo Andrea Cappi, the Italian translator of Benson’s books and himself an acclaimed writer of detective fiction.
During the shooting of the new Bond film, the Riviera dei Limoni (in co-operation with CartoonMics) will also promote a whole variety of cultural, publishing and wine-and-food events in various locations of this amazingly beautiful region.