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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Rome's Island of Cinema

Updated 27 June 2015
It's just been announced that June 2nd will kick off the Isola Mondo Festival, the section of Isola del Cinema dedicated to international cinema. Through September 3rd, a selection of films will be shown from France, Scandinavia, Spain, Bulgaria and Poland, South Africa, Colombia, Venezuela, Japan and Israel, many of which have not yet been released in Italy. Click here for up-to-date programming information.

Created in 1995, L'Isola del Cinema (The Island of Film) sounds like a dream, but is actually an enchanting annual film festival held along the banks of the Tiber River in Rome.

There, you can watch a film, have a cocktail and bask in a place surrounded by everything cinema. Located on Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island), a tiny island near the Trastevere neighborhood in central Rome, L'Isola del Cinema operates during the summer months and features a broad range of international films. 

The island itself has a fascinating history dating back to 510 B.C., when it housed the Temple of Esculapio, god of medicine. Today, the island is home to one of Rome's hospitals, Ospedale Fatebenefratelli San Giovanni Calibita. The hospital was founded in 1584 and is still operating, run by the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God or "Fatebenefratelli." 

The island and its bridges offer spectacular views of the Tiber River with the unique Roman architecture and colors of the riverfront homes and structures.
The theater in which the film festival is held is located right along the river and projects films from all over the world, often with a filmmaker in attendance to take questions from the audience. Since its start in 1995, the festival has grown in popularity with some 70 nights of films and more than 300,000 spectators every season. 

The 2013 season just wrapped up, but it's not too early to begin planning for next year. If you are considering a trip to the Eternal City during the summer, make sure L'Isola del Cinema is on your list of sights to see. For more information, visit the festival's website at 

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