If you’re a film lover in Rome, a visit to Cinecittà is a must. Built by Mussolini in 1937, the studio has long shed its fascist ways (save for an eagle at the base of the flagpole), becoming one of the longest running and largest film studios in Europe. Great directors have worked here, most notably Federico Fellini for the production of his classics La Dolce Vita and Satyricon. More recently, the studio was used for the filming of Martin Scorsese’s The Gangs of New York, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and HBO’s television series Rome, in which a multi-million dollar set was produced (photos below). Located along the Metro’s Linea A, reaching the expansive movie studio via public transit is really easy.
FIVE TIPS FOR VISITING CINECITTÀ
1. You can’t visit the sets without a guided tour, and the guided tour is only in Italian.
I decided to test my Italian comphrehension by opting for the guided tour, as I didn’t come all the way here just to check out Cinecittà’s Si Mostra film exhibit. The guide, Francesca, spoke clearly and loudly, so I was able to understand most of what she said (phew), but, honestly, if I didn’t understand Italian, it would have been a great tour anyway. Taking guests through the sets of Gangs of New York, Rome, Romeo and Juliet and more, you simply need to love film to appreciate the surroundings. Be sure to touch the sets to get a sense of the falseness of it all. And if you have questions, they are more than happy to respond in English.
2. Save two euros (and the environment) by taking the Metro.
Hold on to that Metro ticket because you save two euros off the guided tour price (18€ instead of 20€; price for just the exhibit is 11,50€ at the time of this post; family rates available for both). The Metro stop is directly in front of the studio, so there’s no chance of losing your way.
3. It’s more meaningful if you read up on Cinecittà before visiting.
As a lover of Italian films, even I was lost when it came to many of the classics I hadn’t yet seen. Several of the sets are also used for Italian television shows, of which I am not at all familiar. Reading up on the history of the studio, and the films and shows produced here, makes the tour much more meaningful (especially important if you don’t understand Italian, as you’ll be able to pick out phrases from the guide – ‘Gangs of New York’ in Italian is still ‘Gangs of New York’).
4. Your time spent at Cinecittà can range from an hour to three.
The guided tour lasts about an hour. The exhibits can take 45 minutes up to two hours, depending on how much you love to get into the details of things. There are two viewing rooms where short films featuring actors and directors are played, and many of the displays here include historical notes. Like Rome itself, it’s often best to just take it all in slowly.
Outside, there’s a large park area with a cafe and bookstore. It’s a nice place to unwind after the tour, as it’s quite tranquil here.
5. Wear sunscreen and and bring water, and have something to eat beforehand.
The tour is mostly in the sun, so wear sunscreen or wear long-sleeved, light clothing. The rest of the exhibits are indoors in air-conditioned rooms.
While a cafe is available around the park area, it’s quite small, so if you’re a particular eater, you might want to consume something ahead of time. I don’t know what the rules are of bringing food in, but there wasn’t anyone checking and Cinecittà would be the perfect place for a picnic…