Because I run this film and travel blog, I make an extra effort to research everything film-related in a place I’m planning to visit. And that’s literally the only reason why I found out about the Cinecittà Studio Tour before I went to Rome in May last year! How awful is that?! One of the most historically important and the largest film studio in Europe and I didn’t know it existed. For shame.
Luckily I did my research because Cinecittà Studios is a great place to visit for film fans. It’s easy to travel to from Rome city centre via public transport, there’s a fantastic film museum/exhibition on all the famous films that shot in Cinecittà and there’re daily tours around the film sets, too. If all that sounds like your kind of thing, then continue to check out my guide to the Cinecittà studio tour and film museum! The tour is also referred to as ‘Cinecittà Si Mostra’ which means ‘Cinecittà Shows Off’ because you might see that name instead of the far simpler ‘Studio Tour.’
Cinecittà Studio Tour & Film Museum in Rome
How to get to Cinecittà Studios from Rome by Metro
The Cinecittà Film Studios are based a little further south in Rome than tourists would ordinarily venture but it’s still incredibly easy to visit. Cinecittà has it’s own metro station simply called ‘Cinecittà’ and as soon as you walk out of the underground, the studios are right in front of you on the left. It’s that easy! The station is on the ‘red’ line meaning it’s direct from Rome Termini station. Metro trains depart every three minutes and the journey takes about 20 minutes.
Single metro tickets within Rome cost €1.50. Travelling to Cinecittà via public transport in Rome really is so simple. I don’t think the studios have a car park but I really wouldn’t drive anyway, travelling by metro is too easy.
Cinecittà might seem like a bit of a ghost town when you arrive. But if you think about it, film studios tend to be in quiet, out of the way locations, don’t they? If you’ve ever visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour then you’ll know it’s a trek from London city centre!
Cinecittà Studio & Film Museum History
Pronounced ‘chinny-cheeta’, the ‘Cinecittà Shows Off’ part of the film studio’s business opened in 2011, but the studio’s history goes much further back.
The Cinecittà Studios were built in 1937 by none other than Fascist dictator Mussolini. The Italian film industry was experiencing a low so he built the studio in reaction to this, and of course to produce propaganda films for his own cause. During WWII, western allies bombed the studios and they were temporarily turned into a displaced persons’ camp.
Il cinema è l’arma più forte/Cinema is the most powerful weapon – Cinecittà’s first slogan
The 1950s were a period of rejuvenation for Cinecittà Studios. Tax/money incentives attracted American productions to make films at Cinecittà like Roman Holiday (1953) and sword and sandal epics like Ben-Hur (1959). This influx of American productions in Rome is named the ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ era. Revered Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini also made several of his films there, including La Dolce Vita (1960).
Nowadays, Cinecittà Studios is still very much in use. Recent films shot at the film studios in include Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) and the TV series The Young Pope (2016) amongst several others. So it’s still a working film studio as well as being open to visitors! Usually, international productions are drawn to Cinecittà by the talented art department.
Cinecittà Film Museum & Exhibition
So, there is a ‘film museum exhibition’ part of the whole Cinecittà Si Mostra experience and a guided tour around the studio/sets which I’ll get into next. I recommend checking out the Cinecittà film museum before your Cinecittà studio tour. You’ll appreciate seeing the studios and sets more after you’ve learnt about the film studio’s history.
The film museum has three different buildings and exhibitions. The first is called ‘Why Cinecittà’ and focuses on the studio’s inception and early history. The Fellini years, really. There are tonnes of fantastic costumes and behind the scenes pictures. The second is called ‘Shooting in Cinecittà’ and this is the most impressive part of the exhibition. Costumes, photos and sets from Roman Holiday, Cleopatra (1963) and many others are housed in this bit.
And the final part of the Cinecittà exhibition is ‘Cinecittà’s Educational Route’ where you learn more about the ‘behind the scenes’ of filmmaking. The role of the director, scriptwriter, etc. which I imagine was built with school trips in mind because Cinecittà hosts a lot of those. You also get to step inside the submarine built for the film U-571 (2000) at Cinecittà.
It’s a fantastic exhibition and really well thought out! An interesting set-piece from Fellini’s Casanova (1976) is also out in the open for visitors to see on the grassy area.
Cinecittà Studio Tour (Cinecittà Si Mostra) in English
After you’ve had time to look around Cinecittà’s film museum and exhibitions, you’ll meet either an Italian or English-speaking guide for your Cinecittà studio tour. The tours are scheduled multiple times per day and are included in your ticket price. I wouldn’t visit Cinecittà without going on a tour as it’s the only way to see the studios and sets. No need to book or anything, just wait outside the café at the arranged time for the correct language.
What you visit on the tour depends on what is being filmed during your visit. But it’s very likely that you’ll at least see the sets of Ancient Rome for the HBO series Rome (2005-2007), The Temple of Jerusalem built for The Young Messiah (2016) and several others.
So… A lot of these sets are from shows I don’t watch and films I’ve never even heard about. Don’t get me wrong, the tour guide was fantastic and the sets are just brilliant. I find it stuff like this so fascinating, despite having never watched any of the films/TV shows in real life. But the sets aren’t from super well-known films. So if you’re not a lover of cinema, you may not appreciate the Cinecittà studio tour or exhibitions. But if you do love film, then you just have to visit!
Visitor Information & Tickets
Cinecittà is open to visitors every day except closed Tuesdays from 9:30-18:30. However, new visitors cannot enter after 16:30. And unless you’re visiting the film studios with 15 of your closest friends, booking is 100% NOT required. In the nicest way possible, the place was dead when I visited in May/June. I had a decent amount of friendly people show up for my tour, but I just can’t imagine it’s the kind of attraction that gets packed out.
Tickets are €15 for adults, which includes the exhibitions and tour, with other options for concessions. I think the admission price is well worth what’s on offer. When you visit the Cinecittà studios, don’t forget to check the set and studio tour times for your language on the website. I joined the English-speaking tour at 15:15 in the afternoon after leisurely wandering around the exhibitions for approx 90 minutes and that worked out perfectly. The tour portion is also around 60-90 minutes and my guide was fantastic.
There’s also a café and a bookshop on-site, too! I do think most of the books were in Italian but nevermind…
That’s my guide on how to visit the Cinecittà Studio Tour (Cinecittà Si Mostra) and film museum in Rome, Italy! Are you planning a trip to Rome and want to visit Cinecittà? Let me know in the comments below!