Pisorno, the city of dreams

Entrata ex Studi cinematografici Pisorno /Cosmopolitan (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
Entrata ex Studi cinematografici Pisorno /Cosmopolitan (L. Corevi, Comune di Pisa)
In 1934, thanks to Giovacchino Forzano, writer, theatre director, author of comedies, historical dramas and opera librettos, and to entrepreneurs such as Agnelli and Borletti, the modern film industry was born in the pine forest of Mezzapiaggia, in Tirrenia. Halfway between Pisa and Livorno, where Tirrenia was developed in the same years, the most modern studios were built in Europe, when Cinecittà in Rome did not yet exist: Pisorno was born and people began to talk about the 'city of dreams'. The term Pisorno was born from the union of Pisa and Livorno. Another of the essential figures for the birth of the studios was scenography architect Antonio Valente, who carefully considered the Hollywood experience, focusing on the rationality and economy of the systems. Why was this area of Italy chosen? Looking around, in just a few square kilometres, there is a concentration for all the possible scenarios, which was essential to a cinematography that did not yet have today's special effects. There are the gentle slopes of Monte Pisano to the east, the Apuan Alps to the north, the hills to the south, and the sea to the west: all the necessary locations to film the outdoors. Just with a little imagination here we have the sea with pirate ships, the river populated by crocodiles, the impenetrable woods hosting ferocious animals and wild tribes, the sweet countryside for romantic love stories, and cities of art like Lucca and Pisa where to set historical films... The works were started with the approval of Mussolini, who had quickly sensed the persuasive force of cinema and the support it could give to his regime, a formidable tool for controlling popular emotions. 'Cinematography - he proclaimed - is the strongest weapon'.

Films are yesterday's stories: an ancestral need of human communities is to tell and listen to stories. Watching a movie is what it used to be like sitting around the fireplace listening to stories.

In 1943 Pisa was bombed. The Germans requisitioned and closed the Pisorno studios. The first post-war film shot in the studios was Joseph Losey's Imbarco a mezzanotte (Stranger on the Prowl) (restored thanks to the project of the Municipality of Pisa 'Adopt a film. One hundred masterpieces to save'). The first film in colour was shot in 1954: Rigoletto e la su tragedia (Rigoletto). Then, in 1957 the great English producer Henry Saltzman arrived in Tirrenia to shoot the adventure film Captain Gallant and he liked it. He then returned to shoot a series of films from the novels of Ian Fleming based on the adventures of a secret agent of His British Majesty: a James Bond. However, the Pisorno studios showed clear signs of crisis, unfortunately they were unable to accept the proposal and shortly thereafter, in 1959, declared bankruptcy. The studios were then taken over by producer Carlo Ponti, who, with his wife Sophia Loren and Vittorio de Sica, attempted a grand revival of the production with Totò , Eduardo and Peppino de Filippo and Mastroianni... Pisorno no longer existed, the name of the new film studios became Cosmopolitan, until 1969, when the last major film was shot: 'L’assoluto naturale’ (He and She) (by Mauro Bolognini).
At that time it was cheaper to film in some Spanish studios and also Cinecittà's competition was getting stronger. In 1989, in homage to the history of cinema and to cinema as a storyteller, the Taviani brothers (originally from San Miniato, in the province of Pisa) decided to shoot part of their film Good Morning Babilonia right in this area.
Via dei Castagni, 16/A - Tirrenia
Recapito 050 32703
Via delle Felci, 38 - Tirrenia
Recapito 050 37161