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Engine, cue, action! The National Cinema Museum

The Mole Antonelliana serves as a colossal backdrop for a multimedia collection on the seventh art that is unparalleled in the world

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Where is


Via Montebello, 20, 10124 Torino TO, Italia (232m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

In the early 1900s Turin was the cradle of the Italian film industry and home to the most important studios until the fascist regime's decision to concentrate production in Rome. And it is well known how things turned out later. Having made this premise, it becomes clear that the National Museum of Cinema, set up in 2000 in the extraordinary setting of the Mole Antonelliana, is the means by which Turin has chosen to claim its historical primacy: a unique vertical display that starts from the so-called archaeology of cinema and arrives at the hyper-technological colossals of our time.

Why it is special

The Mole Antonelliana encloses a space of impressive breadth: a square of 50 meters side on which the side walls rise for 40 meters, then the converging surface of the dome for more than twice the height. Hence, the idea of an arrangement that rises with a helical balcony and the possibility of projecting images onto the great vault. Also amusing is the idea of equipping the stalls with chaise-longues oriented toward large screens on which films of all kinds are continuously projected. Finally, on the mezzanines all around, the collection of memorabilia and posters.

Not to be missed

"Turin - City of Cinema 2020" is the event that demonstrates its persistent relationship with the seventh art. This is to say of the numerous events that enliven the city's billboard every year, very often having the National Museum as a reference point: screenings, lectures and workshops, meetings with directors and actors, even film aperitifs... Poking through the Museum's events: committed topics, such as "Neorealism - The splendor of truth in postwar Italy," but also curiosities, such as "Bestial! Animal film stars" or "Gulp, goal, ciack - Cinema and comics."

A bit of history

It was the Israelite community that commissioned architect Alessandro Antonelli (1798-1888) to build a new synagogue. Work, which began in 1863, soon stopped due to lack of funds. Taken over by the municipality, the building was finished in 1897, long holding the record as the tallest masonry building in Europe, hence the nickname Mole Antonelliana; starting in 1908 it was home to the Museo del Risorgimento for 30 years; miraculously escaped the bombings of World War II, it was later used for temporary exhibitions and over the years has been the location for several films, including Michelangelo Antonioni's Le amiche (1955) and Davide Ferrario's Dopo mezzanotte (2004), a love story starring the Museum's taciturn and poetic custodian.


A spire is grafted onto the large ogival dome, which stops about 90 meters high, culminating at 167 meters; the highest point marked by a 12-pointed star 2.4 meters in diameter. At the base of the spire is the so-called "little temple," with a panoramic balcony that has become one of the city's main tourist attractions since 1964, served by an elevator. Among the vicissitudes suffered by the Mole over the years, the most notable are the fall of the statue above it, in 1904, struck by lightning, and the collapse of a large part of the spire, in 1953, due to a whirlwind.

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Recommended by
Francesco Soletti

The Mole Antonelliana is a wonder to be discovered... and the events at the Cinema Museum are a great reason to return...


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