The Italian film studio has a colourful past with its share of allure and intrigue. It was none other than Italian dictator Benito Mussolini who ordered the creation of Cinecitta in 1937 as a way to establish – and celebrate – Italy’s filmmaking prowess. These were different times – when Italian production and Italian movies were at their peak in terms of skills and talent.
The building marked its 77th anniversary on April 28, a milestone that has both sweet and bitter sentiments considering its once glorious past and its current unsteady present and future. Nowadays, the movie studio is used for TV productions including Italy’s version of Big Brother (Grande Fratello).
“In its heyday, Cinecitta was the location of choice for iconic films
such as La Dolce Vita, Romeo and Juliet and Ben Hur.”
In its heyday, Cinecitta was the location of choice for iconic films such as La Dolce Vita, Romeo and Juliet and Ben Hur. But it had its share of darker days, too, when it was bombed during the Second World War and even utilized as a refugee camp.
It regained a bit of momentum afterwards until the early 1980s. After that, film production slowed down considerably, going hand in hand with the decline of Italian filmmaking.
Although it has never fully regained its former stature, Cinecittà is much more than a building – it is the emblem of a time and place with a rich history that although gone will never be forgotten.
Laying the first stone of Cinecittà, January 29, 1936
Cinecittà, 1951. Centurion with vespa
written by Rita Simonetta