The Signore & Signore season will run Sept 27 to Nov 29 in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The programme will cover more than four decades of films in a range of styles.
The IFF is co-producing the special programme with Cinecitta Holding with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture-General Direction Cinema. The Italian Cultural Insitutes in London and Edinburgh are also on board.
Piera Detassis, who wrote the book Signore & Signore, curated the series. The actresses featured include Anna Magnani, Guilietta Masina, Claudia Cardinale, Ginna Lollobrigida, Monica Vitti and Sophia Loren.
Cardinale is expected to attend screenings on Sept 27-29.
IFF UK co-director Richard Mowe, who runs the festival with Screen International critic Allan Hunter, said: 'This is a glorious treat of some 18 titles featuring Italian cinema's most sensational actresses who have all become legends. Rather than offer filmgoers too many choices at the one time we have decided to run the season ahead of the festival itself. By the time November comes around appetites should have been well and truly whetted for a selection of new films representing the best of contemporary cinema italiano.'
The IFF UK will run Nov 17-Dec 2 in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.