Museums abound in Europe but the Museo Nazionale del Cinema surprisingly stood out for me.
From the outside, the Mole Antonelliana (the structure that houses the National Museum of Cinema) looks intimidating because of its 550-foot height.
This tower is actually the symbol of Turin. Its unique aluminum spire can be seen on the Italian two-cent coin.
Originally planned to be a synagogue, architect Alessandro Antonelli (Mole Antonelliana’s namesake) started building this in 1863. The Jewish community first funded its construction but after the rising cost of the project, they withdrew their support. The Municipality of Turin eventually bought the monument as a symbol of national unity. The Mole was dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy. It was only completed in 1889 and became the tallest brick building in Europe at that time.
For thirty years, it housed the Museum of the Risorgimento. It was only in 2000 when it housed the National Museum of Cinema.
Its architecture is very unique. It has a square base that is capped by a dome. On top of the dome is a tempietto or small temple, characterized by its tall, narrow spires.
One can take a panoramic lift to the tempietto, where you can admire magnificent 360-degree views of Torino.
Riding its crystal lift is a jaw-dropping experience.
From the ground, it will take you all the way up to its 85-meter high observation deck.
The vantage point from the rooftop will let you marvel at the Alps and Torino’s city view and beautiful landscapes.
Be sure to position yourself near the elevator glass because you’ll have the best view of the museum from the lift.
The Museo Nazionale del Cinema is as spectacular as the Mole Anonelliana’s panoramic lift.
Because of its unique architecture, the museum setup is also distinctive. It spirals upwards to the temple’s dome through different levels of galleries.
It’s so visitor-friendly—there are plenty of signs, information, interactive displays, and quotable quotes. You’ll end up learning so many things from your visit. Many museums in Europe lacked information and this is what separated Museo Nazional del Cinema from other museums. Visits will only be meaningful if it will pinch your curiosity and provide you with new insights.
On the ground floor is the Archaeology of Cinema. There are eleven themed areas where you can have fun and try its interactive displays.
I loved the optical illusions and different instruments used from the pre-film era to modern era. You’ll learn how technology progressed and what inspired the birth of cinema.
From celluloid films and paper cutouts to praxinoscope, phenakistoscope, kinetoscope, old cameras, and other devices, the history and timeline of animation will fascinate you.
The next hall is called The Temple Hall.
It is surrounded by small chapels dedicated to the cult of cinema.
The main attraction here is the film showing of Cabiria, the 1914 legendary Italian silent film that was set in Turin.
Even the ceiling of its dome is alive with beautiful images that are animated from projectors.
I love the comfy cinema seats where you can relax and enjoy the silent film.
This is also the best location to look up and appreciate the architecture of the dome and watch the lift go up.
There is also a Ramp that will take you up near the dome.
Temporary exhibitions can be seen along the route.
During the time of my visit, these beautiful photographs and old cameras were on display.
Be sure to take photos from the top. Everything looks so pretty!
Another part of the museum is called the Cinema Machine.
You can learn various elements and stages in making a film: producing, directing, screenwriting, editing, etc.
Above the Cinema Machine is the Poster Gallery, where one can enjoy posters and memorabilia from different films.
It's so much fun to trace the rich history of cinema and look back on famous films from different generations.
My photos will never do justice to the grandeur of this museum. I enjoyed it too much that I felt like a kid excited to tour her Disneyland. Maybe because I love films or maybe because I work as a TV producer.
What captivated my joy is that it went beyond being a museum. It's not just exhibits. There's science, history, art, and beauty everywhere. It will play with your different senses with its visuals, sounds and interactive displays. It will tease your curiosity. It will make you appreciate the ingenuity and passion behind the the film technology that we're enjoying today.
Bravo, Museo Nazionale del Cinema! You captured the beauty of cinema.
Open 9AM to 8PM (Daily except Tuesdays)
Extended hours on Saturdays (9AM to 11PM)
Museum + Panoramic Lift: 14 euros
Museum: 10 euros
Panoramic Lift: 7 euros
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