Russell Crowe's house between San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza

You will no doubt remember scenes in the Oscar-winning film 'Gladiator' which depict the star's house and the dramatic events in the Elysian fields. The location chosen for shooting these scenes was between San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza. This area had already become famous as the setting for another prize-winning epic 'The English Patient'. For the film 'Gladiator', Maria Eva Genna Barbarini's estate at Poggio Manzuoli was taken over for a day by more than 200 people, props, lorries, extras and horses. The estate became a base from which Ridley Scott and his crew shot the scenes of fire in the house of the valiant Roman commander, the massacre of his family and the boy being trampled by horses. However, the Australian heartthrob Russell Crowe never actually set foot in Tuscany since his role was performed by stuntmen. The Elysian Fields scenes were shot nearby at Terrapille which is also on the Pienza road. This all goes to show that if you are looking for paradise on earth, Tuscany is the one place you will find it.