Camera, Lights, Action at Turin’s Mole Antonelliana:
A mole in Italian is something of monumental proportions. That’s exactly what the Mole Antonelliana in Turin is. This Turin architectural landmark is home to the Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin’s National Cinema Museum. At a soaring height of 167.5 metres, it claims to be the tallest museum in the world.
The Mole Building
The Mole Antonelliana building was originally designed as a synagogue. The Turin Jewish community hired Antonio Antonelli to design and construct the synagogue in 1863. Turin was capital of the new Italian state at that time and the Jewish community wanted a synagogue that was befitting of a capital city.
Unfortunately, the relationship between Antonelli and the Jewish community was not a happy one. The over-ambitious architect kept making changes to his design and finally increased the building height by over 46 metres. The changes meant delays in construction schedule and also resulted in sky-rocketing costs. The Jewish community finally pulled the pin in 1876 when costs had reached 692,000 lire and the building was still far from completion. Pressured by the Torinese, the city took over the project. When completed in 1889, its height had soared to 167.5 metres, making it the tallest un-reinforced brick building in the world.
An express glass elevator whisks visitors up to the 85-metre high panoramic terrace. Through the transparent glass walls you can look down to ground level as the elevator shoots up to the top. It can be unnerving for those afraid of heights. We were lucky that we didn’t have to wait too long for our ride to the top. In any case, the 360 degree panoramic views of Turin would be worth the wait.
The Mole – Cinema Museum
Since 2000, the Mole has been the home of Turin’s Interactive National Museum of Cinema (Museo Nazionale del Cinema). Its core collection was the work of Maria Adriana Prolo, a historian and collector. The museum’s collections have grown substantially since.
The Museum’s extraordinary collections trace the history of cinema from its origins to the present time, through its interactive itinerary. Its exhibits cover everything to do with the movie world. Spread over five levels are film posters, movie reels, books, pictures, photographic and movie equipment, props, etc.
Visiting the Cinema Museum
On the ground floor is a giant bronze statue of Moloch from the silent movie Cabiria. In this hall, you can watch movies in the comfort of the red reclining lounge seats. Two large screens show short clips of Italian classics. The seats are very comfortable and it’s tempting to just lie there if you’ve been doing a lot of walking.
A circular ramp takes you to the next level and you can just follow your audio guide around the exhibits.
As far as museums go, the Mole Antonelliana is entertaining and interesting. Die-hard movie addicts can even experience watching movies while in bed or even on the toilet.
The museum hosts several film festivals throughout the year. The major and most prestigious of them being the Torino Film Festival.
The Mole building is featured on the reverse of the Italian 2 cent euro coin.
via Montebello 20