Central Cinema Theater


The Centrale cinema theater is a theatrical and cinematographic complex in Sanremo , comprising two halls: the hall of the same name in the Centrale and the small Tabarin cinema. The Central Cinema of Sanremo is located in the very central Corso Matteotti and overlooks Corso Mombello, a few hundred meters from the great Ariston Theater . Together with the Ariston, it is the second and last multiplex in the city, and every year, alongside the usual cinematographic representations, various theatrical performances and some musical performances by the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra are organized. The construction of the Central Cinema began in 1923, on the remains of the Marconi Cinematograph, built in the central Via Vittorio Emanuele II (now Corso Matteotti), on the same land on which the Arena Sisto and the Parisian cinema had been built years before. Much of the credit for the construction of the new complex is due to the entrepreneur Aurelio Berardinelli, then owner of a cinema in Salsomaggiore Terme. The designer, also from Salsa, is Guido Tirelli, while the reinforced concrete works are carried out by the Ugo Jacazio company of Genoa and the wrought iron by Alessandro Mazzucotelli. The theater opened in 1924. Just two years later he was awarded a Diploma, Grand Prize, Gold Medal and Cross of Honor for Industrial Merit at the First International Exhibition in Rome in 1926. In 1928 the external façade was completed, designed and built by the architect Pietro Agosti , followed in 1929 by the inauguration of the small Tabarin room. In 1933 the Cinema Centrale was bought by the Vachinos, a family of entrepreneurs who since the beginning of the century had been involved in theatrical and film shows in our city – starting from when Carlo Vacchino took over the The American Cinematograph in Corso Matteotti and transformed it into one of the first cinemas in the city, the famous – no longer existing – Sanremese cinema . The descendants of Carlo and his son Aristide have taken up the inheritance of their ancestors, and still today the Central Cinema and the Ariston Theater are their property. The Central room has a Latin cross plan, with a large stalls and a gallery arranged in a horseshoe that fits into the arms of the cross. The structure of the theater is revolutionary to say the least for the time in which it was built. The boom in the film industry and the consequent cinematographic representation for the masses that occurred a few years earlier had led Italy to modify the internal structures of theaters throughout the country to adapt the cinemas to the technical needs of that new form of entertainment for the people. that was coming forward with giant strides. The results were often disastrous, and tampering – if not complete disruptions – of the spaces originally designed for the theater were made. With the Centrale an incredible inverse process takes place: the architecture is perfectly renovated, in order to combine the ancient spatial and stylistic needs of the theater hall with the new ones of the cinema and the Centrale becomes one of the first examples of a fully successful liaison between those two forms of figurative art so distant yet so similar. Also from an artistic point of view this theater is a more unique than rare case. The war had marked the definitive end of the belle époque , and even Sanremo had long ceased to be that ville de saison frequented for the most part by nobles, aristocrats, foreign diplomats and the international high bourgeoisie: tourism had become more widespread and less elitist, building speculation was advancing, the sumptuous villas of fin de siècle gave way to luxurious hotels. The Art Nouveau style, now obsolete, had been abandoned and overcome a little throughout the country – the Central Theater instead proposes it forcefully, as if to revive those good old days, now gone, which had become synonymous with well-being and serenity after the horror of war, with the momentum of memory and nostalgia.

The entire room of the Centrale is decorated by an artist of exceptional talent, the Florentine Galileo Chini (1873-1956). Painter, muralist, decorator, set designer, ceramist, undisputed protagonist of the Art Nouveau and Déco taste, Chini is one of the most important and personal figures in the European pictorial panorama of that time.

There are numerous works in Italy that bear his name, among others we find the dome of the Central Pavilion and the Mestrovic Hall of the Venice Biennale, painted in 1909 and 1914, the Palazzo Comunale di Montecatini in 1918, the Terme Belzieri and the Grand Hotel of Salsomaggiore in 1922 and in the following years, and the great artist also worked abroad from 1911 to 1914, when he was commissioned by the king of Siam to fresco the throne room in Bangkok, the so-called Phra-Ti-Nam.

And the extraordinary decorations on the ceiling of the theater bear the signature of Chini: once upon a time, after the show, the characteristic dome of the Centrale, over 14 meters in diameter, opened through a trap door on the heads of the spectators, showing the starry sky to bystanders. Imagine this magical, almost mystical “tear in the sky of paper” – brings to mind the good Pirandello – accompanied by the representation of a Sanremo Trionfante surrounded by Centaurs and Nymphs chasing each other in flight in a riot of lights, solar images and marine scenes, and between them and the circular opening the solemn motto unfolds in a ring: “Song of Light, the inexpressible dream turns into Truth” . Maurizia Migliorini, professor at DIRAS – Department of Italian Studies, Roman Studies, Arts and Entertainment – of the University of Genoa, recognizes in this form of “ceremonial act” of opening the trap door and in that courtly sentence the “truth of the sky that opens after the cinematic fiction (dream) “ .

The small room of the Tabarin was inaugurated in 1929 under the name of Tabarin Florida , a modestly sized nightclub adjacent to the great room of the Centrale. The precious stage, enclosed by the lithe figures of two young naked caryatids, joined to the richly decorated walls and ceiling with a Triumph of Cupid , help to create a truly elegant and refined room in its modest size, embellished on the wall opposite the stage by a painting depicting Spring . Everything is the work of the artist Paolo Rusconi.

In 1987, with a view to a careful and precise restoration of the entire Central cinema-theater complex, the Tabarin room was restored to its ancient dignity after having been, in previous decades, downgraded to a billiard room and even a warehouse, and was transformed into a small cinema with a capacity of 96 seats where today they are still offered to the public, among others, arthouse films and niche cinema products compared to big budget giants.

On the occasion of the restoration in 1987, the Centrale room was also renovated and restored to its original size after the expansion that had been carried out after the war, and from the space created a modern video club is created, still open today, which offers a huge range of movies to rent or buy on DVD. The spaces and structures of the whole complex are also equipped with the latest safety provisions and the most advanced technical equipment to keep up with the times.



Central Cinema

  • Address: Via Matteotti 107, Sanremo (IM)
  • Phone: +39 0184 597822

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