Part of the legendary movie studios where film classics like ‘Ben-Hur’ were filmed has gone up in flames after an inferno destroyed a giant set.
Rome’s iconic Cinecitta studios erupted shortly after 3.30pm on Monday, 1st August when a set based on Renaissance Florence caught ablaze.
The fire was so massive that a column of black smoke could clearly be seen from miles away, and some nearby roads had to be closed to traffic.
Three firefighter teams battled to prevent the flames from spreading to neighbouring sets.
The blaze was 90 per cent extinguished by 5.30pm and was completely put out shortly afterwards.
No one was reported to have been injured.
There were fears that the set of the Italian Big Brother house might have been destroyed in the blaze, but it was quickly found to be intact.
Studios spokesman Marlon Pellegrini said in a statement that there had been “no serious material damage”.
The cause of the fire is now being investigated.
It is not yet known what sparked the blaze, but the working hypothesis is that it was an accident.
The studios had previously fallen victim to fires in 2007 and 2012.
Cinecitta Studios – originally built to film propaganda movies for Fascist leader Benito Mussolini in 1937 – is considered the hub of Italian cinema and has been dubbed ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’.
More than 3,000 films have been made there, including Federico Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’.
More recently, Cinecitta has hosted Anthony Minghella’s ‘The English Patient’, Martin Scorsese’s ‘Gangs of New York’, and Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’.