ROME – Rome’s long-in-the-works $300 million Cinecittà World theme park, designed by multiple-Oscar-winning production designer designer Dante Ferretti and based on films shot at the famed studios, including “Ben Hur,” several by Federico Fellini, and Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” was unveiled on Thursday (July 10) with plenty of fanfare and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on hand.
Conceived almost a decade ago as an Italian take on Universal Studios, Cinecittà World currently comprises twenty attractions, including several state-of-the-art roller coasters, a dark motion simulator ride called “Dante’s Inferno,” a flight simulator, and an immersive tunnel.
The look is a mix of sword and sandals epics, Fellinesque and Bollywood elements, including gigantic elephants, science fiction, spaghetti westerns and many other themes concocted by Ferretti from the more than 3,000 movies and TV shows produced at Cinecitta, once known as Hollywood on the Tiber.
The entrance to the Eternal City’s unique cinematic theme park is through the gigantic mouth of the Temple of Moloch (pictured), inspired by Italy’s great 1914 silent blockbuster epic “Cabiria,” about a Roman girl who is abducted during the Punic Wars, believed to have inspired the Babylonian scenes in D.W. Griffith’s 1916 “Intolerance.” The theme park’s ensuing promenade is a replica of the 19th century New York set created by Ferretti for “Gangs of New York.”
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“We have made a dream come true,” enthused Lugi Abete, topper of Italian Entertainment Group, the private holding company behind the venture which also includes producer Aurelio De Laurentiis, fashion entrepreneur Diego Della Valle and smaller partners. Cinecittà World is headed by former Canal Plus exec Emmanuel Gout.
Located on 400 acres in Castel Romano south of Rome, partly on the backlot of the former Dino De Laurentiis studio complex known as Dino Studios, which Cinecittà now owns, Cinecittà World will aim to fill the gap that the Eternal City suffers in terms of attracting tourists, compared with Paris and London.