Fellini’s Rimini in 8 ½ steps
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
There is something about Rimini and Fellini that is undeniable: Rimini is Federico Fellini just as much as Federico Fellini is Rimini. It doesn’t matter that the famous director never shot a film in this city of Romagna, what counts is that Rimini is the city that influenced his artistic imaginary the most, his muse.
Today I’ll lead you on the traces of one of the most important Italian directors with a pleasant itinerary in 8 ½ steps, feeling the magic of Fellini’s genius.
1. Borgo San Giuliano
Every two year in September the neighbourhood Borgo San Giuliano turns into the set of the Festa de Borg. 50s osterie and wine bars turn into fine restaurants. This part of the city has undergone significant refurbishment and is an ensemble of squares and streets where the predominant atmosphere seems to be the one of the opening scene of The clowns. Several murales tell stories and scenes taken from the film.
2. Tempio Malatestiano
This cathedral is one of the most famous monuments of early Italian Renaissance, commissioned by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta to Leon Battista Alberti. Fellini used to enter here “when nobody else was around and the marble seats were fresh; tombs, bishops and medieval knights patrolled, protective and sinister, in the shadow” (Ritorno a La Mia Rimini, Federico Fellini, Guaraldi Editore). In Via IV November, nearly in front of the Tempio, is FeBo, the art atelier that Fellini opened with painter Demons Bonini, and it is here where he drew his first sketches and sold his first portraits.
3. Monumento Della Vittoria
This monument, also known as Monument for the Victims of WWI, is situated in Piazza Ferrari and was erected in the 20s. “This is the monument of Victory, we went to see it every day...And I dreamt of it at night too!”, says Titta, Fellini’s double in Amarcord.
4. Fountain “Della Pigna”
In Piazza Cavour, the very heart of the city, is the so-called Fontana Della Pigna, the Fountain of the pine cone, named after the pine cone on top of the Carrara marble structure dating back to half 16th century. The fountain was reconstructed in Cinecittà and appears in Amarcord in the scene of the snowballs.
5. Sismondo Castle
Better known with the name of Rocca Malatestiana, this fortress is the symbol of the power of the Malatesta family in the 14th -15th century. Fellini revealed that one day when he was a child, he escaped from home to join the circus, whose big top was in front of the Rocca. His eternal love for clowns, later revealed in the same-name film, was born here.
6. Fulgor Cinema
In the heart of the old Rimini was the Cinema Fulgor in Corso d’Augusto 162. In this cinema, Fellini saw his first film as a child: Maciste all’Inferno, by Guido Brignone. As a young adult, he often collaborated with the Fulgor on the production of posters exchanging them with the possibility to enter for free at the screenings. The Fulgor is the historical location where Fellini will try to approach the beautiful Gradisca in Amarcord.
7. The port
Rimini’s promenade must have been a great source of inspiration for Fellini, together with its port, where scenes from I Vitelloni and Amarcord are set.
8. Grand Hotel
When Fellini was a child, the symbol of all forbidden things was the Grand Hotel. After the became a successful director, he used to reserve the suite 316. “The Grand Hotel was the symbol of wealth, luxury, oriental splendour” (that’s what he writes in the volume La mia Rimini).
About 20 years after Amarcord was released – on 3rd August 1993 – Fellini was hit by a stroke while he was recovering from a cardiac surgery in his beloved suite 316.
8 1/2: The monumental cemetery
The symbolical last stop of our journey is the Grande Prua, the tomb designed by artist Arnaldo Pomodoro where Fellini rests together with Giulietta Masina and the son Pierfederico.