Are you staying in Rome and you think it could be complicated to find a cinema showing movies in the original language? Yes, it could be, but not impossible!
Probably there is no place in Europe like Italy, where the dubbing is a kind of art. The Italian dubbing was born in Rome in 1932, thanks to the realization of the first spoken movies and the edition of international ones. Formerly production sites and equipped studios for dubbing where set just in the major city of Italy. Actually, the major development of the Italian high-quality dubbing started around 1935, when some actors created a group of specialized dubbers who kept going on working until the early 19th century.
The famous Metropolitan Museum located in Via del Corso, right in Rome city center, was one of the first cinemas where programming was almost entirely in the English language or in the original language. After its closure, there are still few cinemas where people have the chance to appreciate the original version of movies:
- Cinema Farnese Persol
- Cinema Filmstudio
- Cinema Nuovo Olimpia
- Cinema Nuovo Sacher
- Cinema dei Piccoli
Cinema Farnese Persol
It is one of the most historic cinemas in Rome and point of reference for all those who are passionate about high-quality movies. Formerly it was a theatre and in the ’30s it was known as the Cinema Romano.
Since the showing includes the premiere of the movies, documentaries and short films, you will be spoilt for choice! Frequently they organize festivals about foreign authors or cinematographic tendencies in the original languages – always with Italian subtitles –. For example, in May it hosts the Spanish Film Festival.
Located in Campo de’ Fiori in the 70’s it was a meeting point for those who took part in the student protests and even Italian authors, like Alberto Moravia and Pier Paolo Pasolini, used to frequent the Cinema Farnese.
During the years it has always tried to follow the idea of the cinema as an art, not a mere entertainment.
Position: Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 56, 00186 Roma RM
Its programming includes mainly the greatest classic movies in the cinematographic history and premiere of independent movies, projected in the original language but with Italian subtitles. Now and then they arrange festivals and shows dedicated to a single director or actor and to artistic trends.
Enduring since 1967, Filmstudio is an old cinema located in Trastevere district, though it is sheltered from the nightlife and the tourism that characterize this district. It is made of two tiny theatres: the blue with 80 seats and the red one with 82 seats and it is one of the most important reference places for the promotion of the independent cinema, both Italian and foreign. It has always been focused on a high-quality show, including avant-garde theatre and silent movies. Nowadays the projection is based mainly on the great classic movies in the original language, also with Italian subtitles.
Position: Via Degli Orti d'Alibert, 1, 00165 Roma RM
Cinema Nuovo Olimpia
This is the first cinema people remind when they think about cinema in the original language – but with subtitles in Italian –. It is located few steps away from Spanish Steps and is one of the oldest cinemas in Rome. Made of two theatres, one with 80 seats and the other one with 200, each of them is characterized by a colorful portal frame and supplementary sheets about the showing.
The Nuovo Olimpia offers a refined selection of movies even though limited. As there is no bar, unfortunately, you can’t munch popcorn while watching the movie!
Position: Via in Lucina, 16, 00186 Roma RM
Cinema Nuovo Sacher
The selection of movies proposed in this cinema is high quality, often serious with independent emerging authors, sometimes not successful yet or not well-known ones. At times there are cultural events linked to the art of cinema and everything related to it. The building was built during the Fascism and its owner is the famous Italian director and actor Nanni Moretti. Inside the cinema, there are also a bar and a bookstore where you can find lots of detailed book about the cinematographic culture.
At the Nuovo Sacher you will find a programming always interesting and in the original language. It is an art house movie theatre.
In the summertime, it moves to the adjacent amphitheater-shaped area where the projection includes the best movies of the previous period.
Position: Largo Ascianghi, 1, 00153 Roma RM
Cinema dei Piccoli
Dating back to 1934, this old theatre is like a magic place. The cinema was created in a pavilion made of wood 72square meters large. Known as the “tiniest cinema in the world” and listed in the Guinness World Records, the Cinema dei Piccoli offers always movies in the original language. Its programming is divided into two groups: in the afternoon the projection includes just movies for children (literally “piccoli” means kids), carefully selected between the new releases. At night, the showing is focused on the classic auteur movies and exclusive films you would not appreciate anywhere else. Everything in the original language, of course!
Position: Villa Borghese, Viale della Pineta, 15, 00197 Roma RM
Roman Cinemas in the original languages
If you are interested in watching movies in original language, but not in English, the different Culture departments organize projections of various movies to widespread their own culture, for example the Japanese, the German, the Spanish and the French one.
Probably all around Rome there are other cinemas programming movies in the original languages, but here we just wanted to inform you about the 5 we prefer. Before you decide always double check on the website of the cinema you choose, just to be sure that you will appreciate the show, and that the cinema will be open on that day. Have you already enjoyed this kind of experience in Rome? Share it with us and tell us about your favorite cinemas in the city!