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A giant Moloch, seen in Cabiria, a silent movie filmed in Turin in 1914, opens his jaw as you pass through his huge mouth. It’s the entrance to the new Cinecittà World, a theme park where you’ll be seduced by movies and their secrets.
Cinecittà Studios was first founded during the Fascist era in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, his son Vittorio, and his head of cinema Luigi Freddi. The purpose was dual: on one hand for propaganda reasons under the slogan "Il cinema è l'arma più forte" (Cinema is the most powerful weapon), on the other hand to boost the feature film industry that was at that time in crisis.
Even though early films such as Scipio Africanus and The Iron Crown showcased the studios’ advanced technologies and created jobs for thousands of people, World War II slowed down activity. In fact, the studios were hit by the Western Allies during the bombing of Rome and eventually used as a displaced persons camp. An estimated 3,000 refugees lived there, divided into two camps: an Italian camp housing Italians as well as displaced people from colonized Libya and Dalmatia, and an international camp, where the refugees ranged in origin from Yugoslavia, Poland, Egypt, and Iran, to China.
After the war, Cinecittà was used once again for its original purpose and finally the Italian film industry could really take advantage of these studios. In the 1950s rebuilding had begun, and within a few years Cinecittà became the studio most closely associated with Federico Fellini. It was the set location for several large American film productions such as Ben-Hur, and the number of international productions being made there led to Rome's being named “Hollywood on the Tiber”.
In the ‘60s producer Dino De Laurentiis added more buildings to the studio complex, and created the most modern and technologically advanced cinematographic establishment of the day.
Today’s movie-themed amusement park, Cinecittà World, opened in July 2014, and owes its shape to the work of Academy Award winning designer Dante Ferretti. The park expects to receive 1.5 million visitors annually, attracted by the many sets, historical icons, and its movie history. Among the many productions Cinecittà has hosted, there are the famous La Dolce Vita, Satyricon, Helen of Troy, Francis of Assisi, Cleopatra, Fellini’s Casanova, Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, La Traviata, the more recent Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ, and many other grand film productions.
Cinecittà World also offers Enigma, a permanent and unique show, a live experience in a submarine from World War II, and four Stunt Shows that bring alive the Far West or a gladiator fight from Ancient Rome.
For the youngsters there’s the new Casa dei Piccoli (House of the little ones), a new area full of activities and shows for children.
Enjoy the magical atmosphere of movies!