Vita Gazette

News from Italy

The historic Odeon Cinema-Theatre in Florence has been reborn

Vita gazette – The Odeon Cinema-Theatre in Florence has become an unprecedented space. More than a century after its opening, the historic cinema has been transformed, thanks to the Florentine publishing house, into a place that combines books, cinema and music.

The transformation of a 1400s palace, designed by Brunelleschi, in the historic centre of Florence, has become a cultural challenge. In the 1920s, it was one of the first cinema theatres in Italy, probably also one of the most elegant. Inaugurated in the 1920s, this cinema theatre was created inside the Palazzo dello Strozzino, built around 1457 and based on a design by Brunelleschi. In 1914, on the advice of Eleonora Duse, the new owners decided to create a cinema of great elegance, entrusting the project to the famous Florentine architect Adolfo Coppedè. Odeon was a cinema for Florentines and for the international community, a cinema that showed films in the original language with subtitles.

That specificity has remained, and to the evening screenings at 9 pm, always in the original language and always with subtitles, they have added the beauty and culture of a bookshop. There are around 50,000 books, accompanied by cultural events and insights, and a piano waiting for new notes on stage.

The palace has been returned to its ancient beauty, architecture, elegance and history. The renovation brought to light architectural and decorative elements in Art Deco style, which were no longer visible: the sculptures by Antonio Maraini, the fountains in their splendour and functionality, the decorations on the columns, the integrity of the dome, the second order tapestries of Matilde Festa Piacentini, now finally illuminated and displayed in their original position. A 1,500 square meter space that houses a cinema room with two screens (one for showing films in the dark and a large LED wall for daytime cultural entertainment). The bookshop has approximately 680 square meters of exhibition space, over 1200 meters of shelving and over 25 thousand titles on offer.

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