Cinecittà – Film Sets

The Paramount press book (1968) provides the following information:

Renzo Mongiardino, production designer for Romeo and Juliet, “designed the main square of Verona, which was reconstructed on the backlot of Cinecittà studios in Rome. It was a massive structure which included a church, towering above a flight of stone steps, palace facades, inner courtyards and a market-square.

“Interior sets included the exquisitely beautiful ballroom in the Capulet palace, where a score of young people, richly caparisoned in multi-colored Renaissance garb, trod the stately steps of the pavane within the leather panelled, gilt embossed walls.

“A contrast to all this wealth and luxury was the simple design and furnishing of Juliet’s room, where the young married couple spend their wedding night, and where Juliet eventually drinks the potion which puts her into a deathlike sleep. Mongiardino used delicate hues of beige combined with the rustic color of natural walnut wood furniture to color this romantic scene.

“He also designed the crypt [in the Church of San Pietro, Tuscania] where Romeo comes to bid farewell to his beloved Juliet and the graveyard where Romeo slays Paris.

“Mongiardino was greatly assisted in preparing several of the authentic sets by Professor Antonio Fedeli of the Brera Academy in Milan, an expert in frescoes and Renaissance architectures. Fedeli temporarily restored some of the frescoes and mosaic work around the high altar in the Church of San Pietro in Tuscania and also highlighted some of the faded murals in the ancient Papal Palace in Pienza, home of the Capulets.”

Main Backlot 1:  Main Square, Verona


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Side Backlot 2: The inner courtyard of the Prince’s palace, Verona

Backlot 2a
Backlot 2: Piazza based on the well in the Piazza Pio II in Pienza, but reconstructed at Cinecitta as “the courtyard to the Prince’s Palace”, to allow separate entrances for the Capulet and Montague entourages, as required in Scene 36’s script directions
Backlot 2b
Backlot 2: Scene 36 (continued). Steps leading down from the Prince’s palace to the courtyard
Real Pienza Piazza Pio II
Aerial photo of the real Piazza Pio II in Penza, showing the well. Note the different background to the well compared with the reconstructed set at Cinecitta


Sound stage:  Filming of the Masked Ball at the Capulets’ house

ROMEO AND JULIET, Olivia Hussey (3rd from left), Robert Bisacco, 1968
Scene 18 – Capulets’ house – Interior Night. The filming of the Masked Ball. The overhead studio lighting and gantries fix the location to a sound stage at Cinecitta Studios.   Source: Alamy (used by licence)