Cinecittà ☆☆☆

A set from the TV series Roma, Cinecittà, Rome, Italy (Photo by Claudio Caravano)
A set from the TV series Roma

Visiting the Hollywood of Italy

From its ignominious origins in 1937 as a propoganda machine for fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, Rome's Cinecittà movie studios has grown to become a Mediterranean mini-Hollywood, the site of more than 3,000 productions from sword-and-sandals epics to spaghetti westerns, classic Fellini films to HBO miniseries.

A short, short list of some of the most famous films made at Cinecittà:

  • Quo Vadis? by Mervyn Loy (1951)
  • Roman Holiday by William Wyler (1953)
  • Ben Hur by William Wyler with Charlton Heston (1959)
  • La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini (1960)
  • Cleopatra by Joseph Mankiewicz with Elizabeth Taylor (1963)
  • The Pink Panther by Blake Edwards (1965)
  • The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly by Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood (1966)
  • Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zefferelli (1968)
  • Satyricon by Federico Fellini (1969)
  • Fellini's Roma by Federico Fellini (1971)
  • Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese (2002)
  • Life Acquatic with Steve Zissou by Wes Anderson (2004)
  • Rome, the HBO series—naturally (2005–2007)
  • The Eagle with Channing Tatum (2011)
  • The Young Pope (2016)

Sadly, a 2007 fire destroyed some of the modern sets (including many from the HBO series Rome—leading to many jokes in bad taste about filming the Great Fire of AD 64, the one that gave us the famous, but totally erroneous, phrase "Nero fiddled while Rome burned." Yes, the emperor was psychotic and cruel, but (a) he played the lute, and (b) was no where near Rome when the fire happened, and in fact poured his own money into the rebuiling effort).

Touring Cinecittà

The rest of the studios, however, remain open for guided tours, and includes a thorough "Cinecittà Shows Off" exhibition, a series of informative and interactive rooms and sections that delve into the art, science, and history of moviemaking.

Since this is a working studio, you never quite know which bits of the grounds you will get to see (sets and soundstages being used for production will be off-limits), but it's invariably fascinating.

Yes, the sets are cool but the best are the prop rooms, vast warehouses overflowing with oddments from every conceivable era and type of movie—ancient Roman statues wedged between scale model spaceships and Victorian furnishings, that sort of thing.

Photo gallery
  • A set from the TV series Roma, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo by Claudio Caravano)
  • Costumes in the Fellini room, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo courtesy of Cineecittà)
  • set of medieval Florence, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo courtesy of Cineecittà)
  • A display dedicated to Roman Holiday, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo courtesy of Cineecittà)
  • This just _looks_ like Ancient Rome. It
  • Memorabilia from Ben Hur to Cleopatra, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo courtesy of Cineecittà)
  • The entrance, Cinecittà, Italy (Photo by JRibaX)
Rome tours
 
More tours
 
 

Tips

How long does Cinecittà Studio take?

If you're making the effort to come all the way out here, I am assuming you are a film buff and will want to spend at least two hours.

How to get to Cinnecittà Studio

Take Metro A to the "Cinecittà" stop.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).