Cinecittà (Italian for Cinema City) is a large film studio in Rome that is the hub of Italian cinema.
The studios were founded in 1937 by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini
for propaganda purposes, under the slogan "Il cinema è l'arma più forte
" (Cinema is the most powerful weapon). The studios were bombed by the Western Allies
during World War II
. In the 1950s, Cinecittà was the filming location for several large American film productions
, and then became the studio most closely associated with Federico Fellini
After a period of near-bankruptcy in the 1980s, Cinecittà was privatized by the Italian government. It hosted the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest, after the venue was changed from Sanremo because of security concerns.
On August 9, 2007, a fire destroyed about 3000 m² (32,000 sq. ft.) of the Cinecittà lot and surroundings. The historic part that houses the sets of classics such as Ben-Hur were not damaged.
As the home of Italian cinema, Cinecittà has seen the production of many classic films such as La dolce vita
Since the days of Ben Hur, the studios have welcomed international productions, recent examples include Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Cinecittà also hosts TV productions, such as Grande Fratello, the Italian version of Big Brother, where the Big Brother house is built on Cinecittà's premises.
Additionally, the BBC/HBO series Rome was filmed here from 2004-2007, the show being widely acclaimed for its sets and designs. BBC Wales reused some of these sets for an episode of the 2008 series of Doctor Who set in ancient Pompeii.