Inaugurated on 28th April 1937 in the presence of Mussolini, the studios were created to strengthen the regime’s propaganda and boost the Italian film industry. A month after the proclamation of Empire (May 1936), the film magazine Lo schermo announced the production of a series of feature films celebrating Italian conquests in Africa. Two of them, Scipione l’Africano (1937) and Luciano Serra Pilota (1938), were shot in the brand new Cinecittà studios.
Production continued in the studios until 1943. With the birth of the Italian Social Republic, Fascist cinema moved to the Biennale halls in Venice and the Cinevillaggio established by the Salò Ministry of Popular Culture. In the same year, after the dismissal of around 1,200 employees, the Nazis took control of the studios in Rome, turning them into a concentration camp for civilians rounded up from the surrounding areas of the city. From there, to give just one example, the almost one thousand men arrested on 17th April 1944 in the working-class neighbourhood of Quadraro were deported to Germany.
After the Liberation of Rome, the premises were used by the Allies to shelter displaced people. Film production resumed gradually from 1947 onwards. Today, Cinecittà’s studios are among the largest in Europe.
Facility or museum: yes
Geographic location: Rome, Lazio