The story of the greatest movie studio in Italy

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Outside of Los Angeles, few cities commemorate the golden age of cinema as loud as Rome. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Italian capital was colder per capita than anywhere on the planet. Responsible for and synonymous with both fashion, music, nightlife and – of course – today’s cinema, Rome has been at the center of it all, with the biggest names in the world of cinema helping to re-establish the Eternal City as an icon in its own right. Burton and Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Audrey Hepburn: they all lived and worked here for some time. It was “Hollywood on the Tiber”, and at its heart were Cinecitta Studios.

I say “center”. Cinecittà is actually 5.6 miles southwest of Rome, where it lies a lemon’s throw from the Appian Way, one of the first roads of the Old Republic. While Rome’s empire may have long since faded, its size and grandeur echo in the pale walls of Cinecittà, still the largest film and film studio in continental Europe, covering 99 acres. With a population of 5,000 production workers, it’s no wonder this Italian neo-realist incubator has been dubbed “Cinema City”.

Cinecittà Studios, founded by Benito Mussolini, opened its doors in 1937. At this time, it was used to make government propaganda films, many of which still exist. The studio vault is said to contain more than 100,000 pre-war newsreels, including the dictator’s declaration of war against the Allies. In 1945, when Italy decided to get rid of the Nazis, Roberto Rossellini began work on his masterpiece of neorealism Rome: an open city. The film was formative in the post-war development of Italian national identity, offering an alternative to the Hollywood studio system, putting amateur actors center stage and using real-world locations wherever possible. Rome: an open city It won the Grand Prix at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival and the New York Critics’ Choice Award for Best Foreign Film in the same year. Its success not only ushered in the heyday of the golden age of Italian cinema, but established Cinecittà as a good alternative to Hollywood’s dream factory.

By the end of the 1950s, Cinecittà was producing some of the largest film productions on the planet, including classic historical epics such as Helen of Troy and MGM Ben HurThe latter used more than 33 combinations, 10,000 accessories, and more than 100,000 different outfits. It had a budget of over $15 million, and its director, William Wyler, created an artificial lake constructed in one of Cinecitta’s back lots, which was used in many of the seascapes. Perhaps the most famous set designed for the film is the amphitheater that serves as the setting for the chariot race between Ben-Hur and Masala. At 18 acres, it was the largest set ever built for a movie and cost about $1 million to build. after success Ben Hur, became Cinecittà The Sword and Sandal Film studio, hosting a crew Helen of Troy And CleopatraStarring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1960, another era-defining filmmaker set up shop at Cinecittà Studios. Federico Fellini used the studio to produce a controversial romantic drama No Dolce Vita, sparking a love affair that will last a lifetime. The studio was once called “my ideal world, the cosmic space before the Big Bang.”

in case of release, No Dolce Vita He was condemned by the Vatican for his frequent depictions of sex and drug use – basically all of the things that made him such a success. The film grossed over $19 million at the box office, is widely seen as the bridge between neorealism and is best known for breathing new life into modern Italian cinema. Indeed, if there is one thing that can be said about Cinecittà studios with absolute certainty, it is that life springs from figurative wazoo. Responsible for creating some of the most enduring cinematic narratives of our time, the echoes of the film studio’s heyday still ring in our ears. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Cinecittà and find it in Rome, you can find it on Via Tuscolana.

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