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With its squares, alleys, churches and monuments, Rome is an open set which has attracted the biggest stars in film history and fascinated directors from all over the world for over a century. In 2015, it received further international recognition when UNESCO proclaimed Rome “Creative City of Film”.
During the golden age of Cinema, from the end of the Fifties to the Seventies, Rome acquired the nickname “Hollywood on the Tiber” thanks to the many great productions shot in Cinecittà (via Tuscolana, 1055) – the dream factory inaugurated in 1937. Over the years, this 40-hectare area just outside Rome, was home to the production of films like Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, Cleopatra, The Agony and the Ecstasy, La Dolce Vita, Death in Venice and, in more recently, Gangs of New York, Zoolander 2 and Spectre, the last chapter of the James Bond series.
Today, the studios include 22 sound stages, 300 dressing rooms and offices, 21 make up rooms, a 7,000-square meter swimming pool, as well as three main permanent sets and different exhibitions celebrating its history. Guided tours can be booked, to go behind the scenes and visit most curious places, such as the famous Teatro 5 where Master Federico Fellini reigned.
Outside Cinecitta’s perimeter, it is still possible to soak in a bit of the Dolce Vita atmosphere – albeit faded – by following an itinerary of the locations of the most popular films in history. It begins at the Trevi Fountain – where we can still hear “Marcello, come here”, the sensual invitation to Marcello Mastroianni, from La Dolce Vita which immortalized Anita Ekberg. Next, the Spanish Steps, where Joe Bradley and princess Ann – played by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck – first met in Roman Holidays. In the recent award-winning film The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino captures an indolent and unreal Rome: from the initial sequence to the Fontanone del Gianicolo where a tourist falls to the ground, to the views from the attic opposite the Colosseum and the night walks of Jep Gambardella between Piazza Navona, the Baths of Caracalla and Via Veneto.
In the heart of Villa Borghese is the Casa del Cinema, the symbol of La Dolce Vita and much frequented by paparazzi. It houses numerous and exclusive projections. Director Nanni Moretti is passionate about his city and the owner of a cinema, Nuovo Sacher. Rent a vintage Vespa to roam around – as in his celebrated Dear Diary film – through Garbatella, Monteverde, the Tiber embankment and Olympic Village.
Rome’s cinematic heritage culminates at the Parco della Musica Auditorium, where every autumn a huge red carpet is rolled out for the International Rome Film Festival, an exclusive event loaded with previews, exhibitions and meetings. If you’re planning a Roman holiday in summer and you consider yourself a genuine film lover, don’t miss the Island Cinema, an outdoor event featuring Italian and International films on a big screen. It is set in the most beautiful and original place in the world, the Isola Tiberina, the only urban island of the Tiber, located in the heart of Rome between the Ghetto and Trastevere.