A long time ago, my only goal when in Rome was to find a red convertible Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider so I could repeatedly re-enact Brigitte Bardot’s final scene in Jean-Luc Goddard’s 1963 film Le Mepris (Contempt), shouting “get in your Alfa, Romeo”. Le Mepris was my world, shot entirely in Italy, I was fascinated with the behind-the-scenes studio life of 1960s Cinecittà, its Hollywood tainting and the beautiful of Capri’s ultra-modern Casa Malaparte. But the only time I ever came close to the famed studio, aside from a few drive bys, was via silver screen.
Everyone who is anyone has shot or been filmed at Cinecittà: Dario Argento, Roberto Benini, Nanni Moretti, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Wes Anderson are just some modern names to the roll call that includes luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor, Charleton Heston, Brigitte Bardot, Marcello Mastroanni, Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, William Wyler, Joseph Mankiewicz and Godard. Even with its recent successes, including HBO’s Rome (shot almost entirely at Cinecittà), rumors were that the privately-owned studio was potentially facing closure. As New York Times’ writer Michael Kimmel reported earlier this month, “[the owners] are now contemplating a $115 million expansion on vacant parts of the property, encompassing a new soundstage, offices, a hotel, a gym and a restaurant complex of the sort that Mr. Sperandini said Cinecittà’s competitors offer.”
Instead waiting for the expansion, celluloid fantasies can become real. From today through November 30, Cinecittà is open to the public with its Cinecittà Si Mostra (Cinecittà shows off), for visitors to walk through pre-skyscraper New York, hang out at the Roman Forum, inside the Sistine Chapel and even medieval Florence. With children? There is Cinebimbi, a didactic space for kids. Wednesdays through Mondays 10.30am to 6:30pm. 10 euro adults, 5 euro children.
Via Tuscolana 1055