For those who are obsessed with the drama, history and beauty of Italian cinema, there is no better place to discover it than from Hotel Mediterraneo and Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, two Bettoja hotels in the heart of Rome.
Beginning in October through December, both hotels are offering a new “DORMIRE SUL SET” (“Sleeping on Set”) package in partnership with Cinecittà, the famous backlot studio that was so beloved by Federico Fellini, he had an apartment built for himself next to the Studio Five soundstage. “His furniture is gone,” says Ben-Hur producer Sean Daniel, adding, “But we like to think that his spirit and his ghosts are still here.”
The massive 100-acre studio, which was built in 1937 and has more than 20 stages, is about 30 minutes from the hotels by Metro or taxi. It has been the filming location for countless movies, such as both Ben-Hur films, Cleopatra and nearly all of Fellini’s productions, including La Dolce Vita and 8 ½. Three permanent outdoor sets–Ancient Rome, the Temple of Jerusalem and Florence in the 1400s–are open for guided tours. Guests can learn about the variety of performances that have been filmed on them, including Rome, The Borgias, The Young Messiah, the 2012 Romeo & Juliet remake, a Coldplay music video and a Victoria’s Secret ad. There is also an indoor exhibition that chronicles the history of movie-making in Italy.
Thanks to their gracious and timeless décor, the Mediterraneo and the Massimo D’Azeglio have had their own starring roles as filming locations. Careful viewers will spot the hotels in shows and movies like HBO’s The Young Pope, Ocean’s Eleven, The Americans, and Trust, the FX series about the abduction of John Paul Getty III in Italy.
Hotel Mediterraneo was built in 1936 and blends museum-worthy Art Deco design and furnishings (including a stylish marble staircase) with historical touchstones such as maps, prints and marble busts of Roman emperors. Set on Esquiline Hill, the highest of Rome’s seven hills, the ten-story hotel is among the highest buildings in Rome’s center and affords sweeping views of the city from its rooftop bar and terrace suites. The hotel’s spacious 251 rooms vary in décor and all feature graciously high ceilings and modern, new marble bathrooms. Free Wi-Fi and a fitness center are also available to all guests. The nearby Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio has 185 rooms with is a special focus on history, with original paintings from the 1860s Risorgimento (unification) period. The artwork focuses on the historical figures who were part of this movement, such as Massimo D’Azeglio, the hotel’s namesake, who was a statesman, painter and writer. Both hotels are part of the Bettoja Hotel Group, which also includes the more intimate Hotel Atlantico, which is connected to the Mediterraneo. Also at the hotels are two fine restaurants, including Massimo D’Azeglio and the Roof Garden, with an unforgettable city view.
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The Bettoja hotels’ location is unbeatable: They are within walking distance from the Colosseum, Opera House, Forum, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. Guests find themselves perfectly situated to explore the Eternal City by metro, bus or on foot. The Stazione Termini, convenient for train excursions to Florence or Naples, is a block away. You can make a day trip to Florence very easily, and be back at your hotel to spend the night.
Prices for the “DORMIRE SUL SET” Sleeping on Set” package start at €260 per person, which includes accommodations in a superior double room a guided tour of Cinecittà for up to 15 people.
Sara Waxman is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.