Few film studios can claim to have seen as much history as Cinecittà, which has been the hub of Italian cinema for seven decades. Founded by Benito Mussolini in 1937 to film propaganda, Cinecittà was the site of 300 films in its first six years. During World War II, the Germans looted the studios, and from 1945 to 1947, Cinecittà was a displaced persons camp, but in the 1950s, American production companies in need of a cheap studio turned to southeast Rome. Hits such as La Dolce Vita, Ben Hur, Roman Holiday and War and Peace were filmed there. When the production of Cleopatra ran over budget in London, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the enormous cast finished the film at Cinecittà. Despite a destructive fire on the set of HBO’s Rome in 2007, Cinecittà remains one of the largest working studios on the European continent.
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