In the face of rapid developments in terms of audiovisual technology, the 100-year-old Odeon Cinema in Florence is set to become a multi-functional space by the end of the year. In a collaboration between leading book publishers Giunti Editore and the Germani family, the historic owners of the cinema for the last 86 years, a new start for the much-loved theatre will mark its 100th anniversary.
Having seen stars such as Louis Armstrong, Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh across its long history, the 1,500 square meter space at Palazzo dello Strozzino will now welcome a new bookshop by Giunti Editore and an events programme that will feature talks, reading workshops for children, concerts, book presentations and theatre performances in addition to a bar-restaurant and community study spaces with a particular attention to young people. A different event will be planned everyday, with cinema screenings in the evenings. The cinema will continue its usual programming until July, where after it will close for a period of refurbishment, developed by architects Studio Benaim di Firenze. It’s hoped to be launched next autumn-winter, once works have been completed.
Martino Montanarini, managing director of Giunti Editore, commented “We’re very happy and proud to present this project undertaken with Gloria Germani. The Odeon Cinema has always been a marvellous place in the heart of Florence, much-loved by locals who have always appreciated its programming that’s attentive to culture and to new trends. With this project, we will be expanding its cultural offering, adding books to cinema, as well as music and art. We want to make the Odeon a space that’s even more open to the city. It’s a unique place where we intend to experiment with new ways of bringing the public closer to culture”.
Gloria Germani, director of Cinema Odeon Firenze, said “The history of the Odeon has always been intimately intertwined with that of my family, ever since my grandfather left his role as a building contractor in the 1930s to realize his passion for cinema. The love for this harmonious and elegant cinema always guided my father and then myself, and now it pushes me to protect its future, meeting the challenges experienced since 2020. In a time, like today, in which cinema is increasingly online and awards such as the Oscars and David are awarded to films produced on platforms, in-presence culture needs to find a new form of expression. We are feeling absolutely positive about this new synergy with the Florentine Giunti group, which has been synonymous with quality in the world of books and culture for 180 years”.