Bologna Inside

third edition
edition 2021


Cinema & Film Festivals

Home to one of the most famous film restoration institutes, several film festivals and, in the summer months, Europe’s largest outdoor film screen in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna is passionate about cinema.

The film industry and cinemas have suffered many uncertainties in the recent years. The number of small and medium sized, local cinemas has been steadily decreasing and most young people head to the multiplexes to see the new blockbusters. That said, film lovers can still find and enjoy some small, intimate theatres, find refuge in the Cineteca’s mix of old and new films in the original language and as of recently, enjoy the films on offer from the comfort of home, thanks to their streaming service (

Cineteca di Bologna

Cineteca di Bologna (Bologna’s Film Institute), an internationally renowned film archive, home to more than 80,000 films, operates the city’s art house cinema, Cinema Lumière. Here you can see a vast selection of films and retrospectives dedicated to specific directors and genres from the world over. Their beautiful library Renzo Renzi, ( is definitely worth a visit and there you can find books and documents about film and photography and even rent some DVDs. You can also find one of their bookshops/giftshops behind Piazza Maggiore –

As of recently, it has also become home to a vast collection of archival photographs of Bologna – Bologna fotografata.  This fascinating archive is now available to all those curious about Bologna’s history.

You can purchase Cineteca’s inexpensive membership cards at their box office and online. In addition to supporting this world-class institution, by using these cards (Amici e Sostenitori di Cineteca), you accumulate points which grant you discounted admissions and other benefits.

Cineteca’s Cinema Lumière
via Azzo Gardino 65
Tel. 051.2195311


Cinema Europa – Kinodromo
via Pietralata 55

Cinema Chaplin
Piazza di Porta Saragozza 5

Cinema Odeon
via Mascarella 3

Rialto Studio
via Rialto 19

Cinema Modernissimo
Piazza Re Enzo 1 and
via Rizzoli 3
This beautiful theatre, first used as cinema in 1915, is scheduled to reopen, after a long renovation, some time in 2022.


Bologna hosts several film festivals a year. The most popular is the Sotto le Stelle del Cinema, an open-air film feast held in Piazza Maggiore during the months of July and August. International films in original language are featured; the schedule is posted around town, and on the Cineteca website. An enormous screen with surround sound is erected in the piazza, making for a unique, unforgettable summer experience. Shows generally begin at 22:00, but book online or arrive beforehand to claim a seat. From June to September, Cineteca also organizes an open-air cinema in the Arena Puccini and the Lunetta Gamberini Park.

Photo by IWF member Stephanie Sinclair

Other Cineteca festivals include the Human Rights Nights Festival held in the spring. The annual Cinema Ritrovato in July is one of Europe’s most important festivals featuring rare and restored films, attracting cinema scholars and researchers from around the world. For more information, see the Cineteca website

In June, Bologna also hosts the Biografilm Festival – A Celebration of Lives (