The venues of the Festa – 4. Dino Risi and Civitavecchia…

Dino Risi (A difficult life, Weekend – Italian style, 15 from Rome, Scent of a woman) describes the scene shot in Civitavecchia for the movie The easy life: “The two characters make a stop close to the harbour to treat themselves to a fish soup. The spot has changed a lot. The choice of Civitavecchia was not accidental at all. In fact it was part of the commitment to showing the actual places where the characters would stop on their trip from Rome to Versilia along the Aurelia road. In the movies nothing’s left to chance, everything’s written down in the script.

“I’ve shot quite extensively in Rome  – Risi adds – and there are some places I’ve grown fond of. The Tiber river, for instance. It was extremely captivating. The boats were still there and the water was so clean that you could even swim. In the movie Poor but beautiful, Romolo takes a swim from his friend Ciriola’s boat and several scenes were filmed there. Back in those days, the entire city of Rome was a movie set: Piazza Navona and its surrounding streets, Via Veneto, the Trevi Fountain. I feel quite close to the whole city, even though I didn’t take much part in its lively social life. Roma still strikes me but it’d be even better if the cars were all burnt down. In the movie The easy life I’ve kind of given the car a main role but back then it that was a very special moment for our economy. Things were getting better and the Italians were starting to give up their lambretta and vespa motorbikes to hop on their brand new cars. The enthusiasm was reasonable. Today it’s just too much. 

“Among my very favorite places I can’t fail to mention two trattorie (small restaurants) where I’ve hung out for years: Otello at the Concordia and Cesaretto at via della Croce. I used to go along with some friends or with the crew during the filming, when lunch wasn’t included. Otello hasn’t changed a bit since those days. It’s still a meeting point for filmmakers, even though only the ones from the old school show up. The few that still walk on their own legs. At Cesaretto, on the other hand, you could also run into writers. Like Via Veneto, by the way. There was Vincenzo Cardarelli, the great poet of the “Voce”, who they used to make fun of because he wore two coats in the summertime. He couldn’t bear the cold, he said, and we called him “the greatest dying poet”. People like Ennio Flaiano, Leo Longanesi or Marino Mazzacurati used to hang out with us. But our community was off-limits for divas. We didn’t enjoy their company; they had few things to say outside the lines written in the script. Not all of them though. Some of them were interesting enough, like the perdigiorno (do-nothings) or great actors such as Alberto Sordi or Marcello Mastroianni. We loved sitting by the tables and chatting. We went to the Doney Bar, an icon of the Via Veneto’s Dolce Vita, and to the Caffè Greco, in Via Condotti.
“I also remember Cinecittà, even though I didn’t shoot that much there. It was extremely beautiful. A real city, while nowadays it resembles more of a run-down small village, due to industry interests. The Americans shoot there to save money. Back in the old days, on the contrary, Cinecittà was the Italian cinema. A memory? Surely Studio 5. Federico Fellini worked there but above all he slept there when trying to avoid his wife Massina. It was kind of his private studio. If that studio could talk, it would have a lot of stories to tell.”


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