It doesn’t surprise me at all there is a huge selection of independent cinemas in Rome, and cinemas in general. Around the world, arthouse cinemas are shutting up shop due to lack of funding and interest. But luckily, cinematic capital cities like Paris and Rome still have strong ties to their film heritage.
The independent cinemas in Rome range from loveable yet dingy, back alley one-screeners to the fancy ones in century-old buildings with plush seating and artisanal cafés. There’s a Rome cinema for every type of film fan whether you want to watch classic horror movies, the latest arthouse or world cinema releases or you just want to watch new blockbuster films in independently-owned cinemas. Let’s check out some of the best arthouse/independent cinemas in Rome!
13 of the Best Independent Cinemas in Rome
1. Casa del Cinema
Address: Villa Borghese, Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1, 00197
One of the top independent cinemas in Rome, Casa del Cinema is a must-visit for film fans. It’s located in a beautiful building in Villa Borghese and hosts both indoor and outdoor screenings in summer.
2. Nuovo Sacher
Address: Largo Ascianghi, 1, 00153
Cinema Nuovo Sacher is the quintessential example of an arthouse cinema. Housed in a building that dates back to the 1930s (so many cinemas were built during the art deco period!), this cinema also has a bookshop, café and outdoor cinema screenings. A bit rough around the edges but you can tell it’s a well-loved, community cinema.
3. Cinema Dei Piccoli
Address: Villa Borghese, Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 15, 00197
Another cinema randomly located in Villa Borghese, Cinema Dei Piccoli is officially the world’s smallest cinema! The building is this adorable green shed with around 63 seats. Unsurprisingly, screenings for kids are regularly programmed and you can even catch films in their original language.
4. Nuovo Olimpia
Address: Via in Lucina, 16, 00186
Another great cinema from the 1930s, Cinema Nuovo Olimpia is a two-screen arthouse movie theatre and is still going strong. In a story that could only happen in Rome, around 80 years ago the Ara Pacis ruins were excavated from underneath the cinema. I’m sure it doesn’t happen too often but I imagine excavations of important historical sites are a common occurrence somewhere like Rome.
5. Multisala Barberini
Address: Piazza Barberini, 24/26, 00187
Okay, so Multisala Barberini is technically not an independent cinema. ‘Multisala’ means ‘Multiplex’ after all. But just like the Pathé cinema in Amsterdam, sometimes if the cinema is just such a beautiful building then I’ll add it to the list regardless. So this cinema screens the usual mainstream cinema with some live opera shows thrown in. But it does so in a huge classical building with a chandelier in the foyer so *shrugs emoji*.
6. Cinema Teatro Adriano
Address: Piazza Cavour, 22, 00193
An independently-run cinema showing mainstream movies, Cinema Teatro Adriano‘s building dates back to the late 1800s for crying out loud. Is every building in Rome at least 100 years old?! It’s a bloody beautiful cinema though, probably because it was formerly a theatre. You’d kind of feel bad for watching the latest Fast and Furious movie in such a nice cinema.
7. Cinema Farnese
Cinema Farnese Persol is tucked away in a corner so you’d be forgiven if you walked right past it. The Farnese is actually the oldest cinema in Rome and has seen many actors and directors present their films here. This independent cinema concentrates mainly on the latest Italian and European films but sometimes you will be able to catch films accessible to anglophiles.
8. The Space Cinema Moderno
Address: Piazza Della Repubblica, 43/45, 00184
One of the more swanky cinemas in Rome, The Space Cinema Moderno (along with Cinema Farnese) featured in the 2012 film To Rome with Love. Okay, so it’s not an independently run cinema anymore, it’s owned by Vue. Which is probably why it screens the big Hollywood films, but it’s a Roman institution! The cinema is really well located, though.
9. Detour Cinema
Address: Via Urbana, 107, 00184
Detour looks more like a cool film club venue than a cinema and I’m very much here for it. It’s a cute little one-screen cinema covers in film posters and because they only have one screen, they usually only programme one film at a time which tends to be the latest World Cinema releases.
These kind of cinemas are the ones that are dying out so Detour would be first on my list of independent cinemas in Rome to visit on my next trip!
10. Cinema Azzurro Scipioni
Address: Via Degli Scipioni, 82, 00192
Cinema Azzurro Scipioni is the brainchild and labour of love for filmmaker and writer Silvano Agosti. It has a fascinating back story: the Franco Piavoli film The Blue Planet (1982) was struggling to find any cinema that would screen it over the popular American films. So, Silvano Agosti opened a screening room himself. He named the cinema ‘Azzurro’ after the Italian word for ‘blue’ which is, of course, a reference to The Blue Planet and the name of the street where the cinema is situated.
And, somehow, the cinema is still going! It deserves a visit just because of how unlikely it is that the cinema still exists. I have an inkling it doesn’t screen many English-speaking movies, however. The current programming is 2/3rds Italian and a bit of a random selection of films.
11. Cinema Trevi (National Film Archive)
Address: Vicolo del Puttarello, 25, 00187
I’m including Cinema Trevi on this list of cinemas in Rome in the hopes that by the time you read this post, it will be up and running again. For years, Cinema Trevi hosted screenings from the National Film Archive. But in February this year, the building had to close due to maintenance work and the screenings are now held at National Library of Castro Pretorio in Rome, but only on 100 days of the year.
Bit of a shame really because a library can never match an actual cinema and Cinema Trevi had a cool view of some ruins next door, too. Because it’s Rome.
12. Greenwich Cinema
Address: Via Giovanni Battista Bodoni, 59, 00153
Greenwich Cinema screens a real mix of films. Sometimes the programme includes blockbusters, sometimes there’s world cinema on the listings. It’s not the most good-looking cinema and could probably do with a bit of a revamp (but what independent cinema nowadays couldn’t do with a bit of love?). But it’s a cute little backstreet cinema that won’t be beaten on ticket price.
13. Intrastevere Cinema
Address: Vicolo Moroni, 3, 00153
The last independent cinema in Rome I’m featuring is the Intrastevere Cinema. Would you believe me if I told you that this cinema is in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome? You should, it’s in the title of the cinema.
Showing the latest American blockbusters to its local community, Intrastevere is part of the small Cinema di Roma group which runs small theatres in the city.
Those are my top arthouse/independent cinemas in Rome! Have you watched a film in any of these Rome cinemas? Let me know in the comments below!