Today I am going to give you a peak into the local theater here in Florence – the Odeon. While not entirely dissimilar, going to the movies in Italy is a bit different than going to the movies in the States. First off, the theater here is located in a palace that was built in 1462 (Palazzo Strozzino) – a far cry from a theater in a shopping mall, to say the least! The inside of the palace was renovated into a theater in 1922 and decked out in the art nouveau style. (My pics weren’t coming out good inside, so the nice photo is taken from their website). You can take a virtual tour of the Odeon here (if you do, check out the ceiling).
On Mondays, Tuesdays and (some) Thursdays, the Odeon has its “Original Sound” program, where the films are shown in their original language (whatever that may be), with Italian subtitles. A few weeks ago The Hobbit was here for only a couple of days, so we went to the movies on a Monday night (we are such party animals here!). Well, there was one big difference we noticed immediately (after noticing the amazing building we were in) – no fresh popcorn! I have to admit, my heart sank a bit as a bucket of movie-theater popcorn is an indulgence I learned from Steve, and one to which I have grown accustomed. We settled for a bag of popcorn from the snack counter (pictured). On the other hand, had we wanted (we did not) a lovely glass of red wine to bring into the theater, that of course was available.
Another interesting thing was the not quite complete “originality” of the language. For those of you who have not seen it, in The Hobbit both Elvish and Orkish (is that a word?) are spoken. Since most of us don’t speak those made-up languages, subtitles are provided. However, as with the rest of the movie, those subtitles were also in Italian, not English (as the subtitles are in the original movie), requiring me to do my best to translate out-loud for Steve (not that Orks have anything very intelligent to say). I thought it was an interesting glitch in the “original sound” idea.
One very cool thing about this movie-going experience was that the movie started right away at the time scheduled – no previews and no ads (yay!). (I actually have no idea if this is because it was in English and all the ads/previews would be in Italian, or this is the way all movies here are – if anyone knows, please post a comment). Other than that, the movie-going experience was fairly similar. The prices were about the same (a far cry from the 36,000 yen we unwittingly paid in Japan to see a second-run matinee!), and it was seat-yourself (also unlike Japan where you get assigned seats). The only other surprise was that, unlike the 2 other movies we had seen in other theaters in Italy, there was no intermission. We enjoyed the movie and were treated to a caught-just-in-time bus-ride back home. Thanks for coming along!