It can’t be denied—the late Italian film director Federico Fellini certainly enjoyed the finer things in life, and he loved to make movies about those finer things. There was the operatic, tearjerker 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 iconic surreal dream sequences. And, of course, there’s 1960’s La Dolce Vita with Anita Ekberg playing Sylvia, the bombshell blonde who wowed audiences across the globe. Now, fans can get a comprehensive tour of the multi-Oscar-winning auteur’s life and filmography at the new Federico Fellini International Museum in downtown Rimini, Italy.
The Fellini Museum, funded by the Italian culture ministry, officially opened in the director’s birthplace and hometown in August 2021—it was initially slated to open in 2020 to coincide with what would be Fellini’s 100th birthday, but alas, Italy was wracked with COVID cases at the time. Part of the museum is set within an almost 600-year-old castle, Castel Sismondo, which fell into disrepair in the 1800s but was revitalized by the city in 2017 with plans for the building to become a cultural hub. Nearby is the Palazzo Fulgor, home to the Fulgor Cinema, where Fellini first fell in love with the films of American comics like Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers. Now, the upper floors of the cinema are filled with original movie scripts from classics like La Strada, costumes worn on set, original drawings penned by the maestro himself, photos and clips from his many films, and other installations dedicated to the life and cinematography of Fellini. Tickets start at 10 euros a person.
Outside, visitors can find the “Square of Dreams,” which will offer video and augmented reality installations, which can *ahem* make visitors feel as if they were touching a real-life version of Ekberg, as well as serve as a place to host pop-up exhibitions. Digital recreations of some of his most famous films will also be available for visitors to walk through—think being able to waltz through the dance sequence of La Dolce Vita.
The zany essence of Fellini can be felt and experienced throughout the museum. Some quirky highlights visitors can expect include a room devoted to Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, whom he adored and cast in Nights of Cabiria (1957) and La Strada (1954), wacky costumes—think papal and episcopal clothing embellished with bronze appliques and lit with tiny light bulbs—from a religious fashion show featured in 1972’s Roma; a fountain on the Piazza Malatesta that sprays mist every half-hour to imitate Rimini’s iconic fog; and a giant plush of Ekberg upon which they can take a breather. But if you’d really like to take a break and kick your feet up, consider catching a Fellini flick at the cinemino (little cinema) that will be playing the director’s movies for free 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 resort towns thanks to its sandy beaches, Adriatic waters, and its beachside nightclubs, so visitors will have plenty to do once they have explored the museum. Next stop on the itinerary: Consider getting a drink or a room for the night at the 1908 Grand Hotel Rimini, which Fellini lovingly recreated in the 1973 film Amarcord.