I love Rome, actually I love everything about Rome except the graffiti, most of all I love its cinemas, there are your big old buildings converted into Multiplexes with smaller screening rooms, there is a superb free cinema Casa del Cinema in Villa Borghese, although sadly they will have to start charging from 1st July 2011, as all cinemas ticket will attract 1 Euro in Tax from then onwards, then you have the smallest cinema in the world Cinema Dei Piccoli also in Villa Borghese showing children films and cartoons during the day followed by more adult material in the evening, already spoilt for choise, I think you are with me so far. Summer is here and so is L’Isola del Cinema found on L’Isola Tiberina, the most wonderful venue for an openair Cinema, there is no drive in you will need to cross an ancient bridge to get to it, worth going just for the brilliant atmosphere and gorgeous surroundings alone, grab a Melon Granita at the mobile bar by the bridge before the show, so your Italian is not red hot? OK, you can always catch a glimpse from the surrounding streets Lungo Tevere if you are out for a small romantic stole or doing an evening run. The first screening will be on the 16th June and will continue untill the 4th of September 2011, the programme is exciting with film both current and retro, the programme will be available from L’isola del Cinemas here.
There are no dress code however as you know the Italians like to ” Fare la Bella Figura” so make a little effort if you can and a word to the wise, leave the newly bought ode de perfume at the hotel, just bring a good mosquito spray instead, once you have settled in you will be seduced by the odour ” OFF'” or “CITRONELLA” and find it rather welcoming and very soothing once the Tigers starts hitting on you.
A beautiful setting for this shining star among “Free” cinemas, yes gratis, hard to believe in 2010, where prices in the UK are hitting 12 to 15 pounds for just one ticket. Casa del Cinema is found in Villa Borghese at the Via Veneto entrance , a delightful building dating back to 1833 with a colourful past. It was restored in 2001 and has for the past 5 years been show-casing many foreign film festivals and is often the only place in Italy, where you will find the old black and white movies screened.
I first visited this germ back in 2005 during the first Roman Film Festival , where for a period of 2 weeks all Marcello Mastroianni’s film and documentaries with this much-loved actor was shown for free, all you had to do was stand in line before each show. I was there an hour before hand expecting hundreds of people to show up…… NO I was on my tot untill 10 minutes before it was to start. There are 3 screening rooms seating 126 ,64 and a small 35 seater, the seating is very comfortable and it is a super place to spend a few hours relaxing . During the hot summer months there are open air screenings, again free of charge and the best part ( nearly) is the DVD library from which you can choose a film for your very own private screening. Recently there have been complaints about the lack of Independent films makers being able to show their work, I hope that will be rectified soon. There is a lovely Cinecafe with friendly staff and good house wine ,again both in and outdoor service. The shop with all things cinema is worth a visit ,many books and DVDs are on sale here together with posters, cards and cinema trinkets.
I always enjoy Casa del Cinema such a free luxury.
Do not miss the little green wooden cinema a stones throw away ( no, I am not advocating stone throwing , that would be fawned upon) Cinema dei Piccoli it is a delightful children’s cinema by day and a cool adult cinema by night. With only 63 seats it is in the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest cinema in the world. See my separate blog entry.
I love this cinema and if in Rome do not miss this tiny germ in Largo Marcello Mastroianni, Villa Borghese by the Via Veneto entrance.It dates back to 1934 and is build entirely of wood, it has always been used as a cinema for children except for a brief period during the 2nd world war. The Guiness Book of Record has it recorded as the smallest cinema in the world, with only 63 seats, it is worth looking at just from that aspect alone. Was originally named Cinema Topolino ,predominately showing children comics and animations. Cinema dei Piccoli today has programmes showing from 10.30 in the morning until late afternoon followed by a more adult theme until midnight (with Adult movies I do of course not mean porn…., that would be so very wrong in so many ways) it boast a small snack bar , run by the box office and projectionist a real one-man band.
You will also be only meters away from Casa del Cinema another Roman germ, see separate blog, there you will also find a cinema shop and a lovely Restaurant/Bar for your pre and after show drinks, actually it is a great place to rest if you are walking around the beautiful Villa Borghese.