Ithere’s no denying it—the late Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini certainly loved the finer things in life, and he loved making movies about those finer things. There was opera, tearful La Strada (1954), which follows the life of a young girl sold to a circus by her mother, and 8 ½, which blended the line between fantasy and reality with its signature surreal dream sequences. And, of course, there is 1954 The good life starring Anita Ekberg as Sylvia, the blonde bombshell who wowed audiences around the world. Now fans can get a full tour of the Oscar-winning author’s life and filmography at the new Federico Fellini International Museum in downtown Rimini, Italy.
The Fellini Museum, funded by the italian ministry of culture, officially opened in the director’s birthplace and hometown in August 2021 – it was originally slated to open in 2020 to coincide with what would be Fellini’s 100th birthday, but alas Italy was then plagued by cases of COVID. Part of the museum is located in an almost 600 year old castle, Sismondo Castle, which fell into disrepair in the 1800s but was revitalized by the city in 2017 with plans for the building to become a cultural center. Nearby is the Palazzo Fulgor, home to the Fulgor cinema, where Fellini fell in love with American comic book films like Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers. Now the cinema’s upper floors are filled with original movie scripts of classics like La Strada, costumes worn on set, original drawings written by the maestro himself, photos and excerpts from his numerous films and other installations dedicated to the life and cinematography of Fellini. Tickets start at 10 euros per person.
Outside, visitors can find the “Square of Dreams”, which will feature video and augmented reality installations, which can *ahem* make visitors feel like they’re touching a real-life version of Ekberg, as well as serve as a place to host ephemeral exhibitions. Digital recreations of some of his most famous films will also be available to visitors. Think about being able to waltz through the dance sequence of The good life.
The goofy essence of Fellini can be felt and experienced throughout the museum. Among the quirky attractions visitors can expect is a room dedicated to Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, whom he adored and in which Cabiria Nights (1957) and La Strada (1954), wacky costumes – think papal and episcopal vestments adorned with bronze sconces and lit by tiny bulbs – from a religious fashion show presented in the 1972s Rome; a fountain in Piazza Malatesta that sprays mist every half hour to mimic Rimini’s signature fog; and a giant Ekberg plushie they can blow on. But if you really want to take a break and put your feet up, consider watching a Fellini film at cinema (small cinema) which will show the director’s films free of charge all day long.
Born in Rimini in 1920, Fellini spent his first 19 years in the seaside town and would draw inspiration from his formative time growing up there for the rest of his life. Today, Rimini is one of Italy’s most popular seaside resorts thanks to its sandy beaches, Adriatic waters and beachside nightclubs. Visitors will therefore have plenty to do once they have explored the museum. Next stop on the itinerary: consider grabbing a drink or a room for the night at the 1908 Grand Hotel Rimini, which Fellini lovingly recreated in the 1973 film Amarcord.
>> Next: “Diego Rivera’s America” To Debut At SFMOMA In July