Acclaimed Spanish actress Penelope Cruz arrived here Thursday to start work on "The Bop Decameron," a new Woody Allen comedy that will be set in the Eternal City and feature her as protagonist.

"I'm really happy to be in Rome and to shoot a film with Woody Allen," the actress, who arrived with her six-month-old son Leo and two bodyguards, said.

Cruz won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her turn as an unstable artist in the 2008 Allen film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." While filming that earlier project, she began dating fellow Spaniard and Oscar winner Javier Bardem, and the two wed last year.

Other cast members of "The Bop Decameron," Allen's 42nd film, include Italian actors Roberto Benigni, Antonio Albanese and Riccardo Scamarcio and Americans Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg.

Filming is scheduled to start next week and conclude at the end of August. The movie, which will be a contemporary take on Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th-century story collection "The Decameron" and consist of four vignettes, is scheduled to be released in 2012.

The American director and native New Yorker presented his work plan on Wednesday at the Rome city hall, telling Mayor Gianni Alemanno that Rome is the world's most romantic city, outdistancing even New York or Barcelona.

Allen said he will turn the Italian capital into an immense cinematographic dish featuring 69 distinct film locations.