Actor Kiki Layne on Embracing Her Inner Tourist in Rome

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I often get to go to these really cool places for work, though I can’t do much because of my schedule. But in November 2018, I went to Rome for the first time to shoot a short film called The Staggering Girl, directed by Luca Guadagnino, and got to frolic around the city in beautiful Valentino gowns. And I found time to be a tourist. I did guided tours with the headphones and everything, listening to all of this history of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and different ruins. It allowed me to actually participate so that I was receiving more information—not just visually but really learning about the richness of the history, stories, and structures. I even began to understand how Pierpaolo Piccioli translates it all into his Valentino gowns. When my guided tours finished, I would just keep walking, letting landmarks lead the way. At the Trevi Fountain, I threw a coin in over my shoulder; they say it means you’re going to come back to Rome, but my wish was that I would get to go to Spain. People will tell you this ritual has history, magic, power, or whatever, and in the moment I feel like I actually tapped into that—the magic of Rome. I rang in that new year in Spain and spent the night thinking back to that legendary Roman fountain. Taking that trip and making time to be a tourist and really experience the city made me more proactive about doing things when I go somewhere to film. Most recently, when I was in London and Morocco shooting The Old Guard, even if I was feeling tired or had worked a 14-hour day, I would tell myself, ‘You gotta get out.’ So I went to museums, I did bus tours—anything I could to make the most of that time. I got to really enjoy being there.—As told to Meredith Carey

Kiki Layne stars in Coming 2 America, out March 5, 2021, on Amazon Prime.

This article appeared in the December 2020 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here. All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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