For the next four days, it costs €3 to go to the cinema in Italy

From April 9th to 12th, you can see most films in selected Italian cinemas for less than the price of popcorn.

For the next four days, it costs €3 to go to the cinema in Italy
An outdoor screening of Roman Holiday as part of the 2016 Rome Film Festival. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

For four days only, dozens of movie theatres participating in the Ministry of Culture's CinemaDays initiative are offering tickets for just €3.

As cinema audiences in Italy dwindle, the government, together with the film industry, is attempting to boost box offices with a total of 15 days of cut-price movie tickets between April and October this year. 

The offer will be repeated for an entire week in the summer (July 9th to 15th), as well as another four days in the autumn (October 1st to 4th).

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“The world of cinema is united and is presenting a new promotion today to increase the number of spectators, even in the summer months,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. “I'm sure it will be a great success, especially with families and young people.”

Cinemas in Italy are struggling to attract filmgoers, as streaming services and online piracy make watching at home easier – and cheaper – than ever.

According to the Italian film industry association Anica, cinema audiences fell by around 12 percent last year, from more than 105 million people in 2016 to just over 92 million in 2017.

The figures are particularly bad for Italian-made films, which last year made up just 17.6 percent of total box office sales compared to 29.1 percent the year before. Around two thirds of all Italian ticket sales now come from US films alone.

READ ALSO: Here's the first glimpse of the Italian Silvio Berlusconi film

Last October, Franceschini announced the creation of a €400 million annual fund for Italy's film industry as part of a raft of measures aimed to “help, protect, and enhance Italian cinema, fiction and creativity”.

The decree calls for extra state funding for cinemas, as well as requiring broadcasters to invest in Italian and European productions, and to air a certain quota of Italian-made films and shows in prime time slots.

This week's €3 tickets – less than half the regular price at most cinemas in Italy – do not apply for films shown in 3D, or for special events such as premiers. 

Find your nearest participating cinema here


Why Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky date in Italy

Unlucky for some, but not for Italians. Here's why today's date isn't a cause for concern in Italy - but Friday the 17th is.

Why Friday the 13th isn't an unlucky date in Italy

When Friday the 13th rolls around, many of us from English-speaking countries might reconsider any risky plans. And it’s not exactly a popular date for weddings in much of the western world.

But if you’re in Italy, you don’t need to worry about it.

There’s no shortage of strongly-held superstitions in Italian culture, particularly in the south. But the idea of Friday the 13th being an inauspicious date is not among them.

Though the ‘unlucky 13’ concept is not unknown in Italy – likely thanks to the influence of American film and TV – here the number is in fact usually seen as good luck, if anything.

The number 17, however, is viewed with suspicion and Friday the 17th instead is seen as the unlucky date to beware of.

Just as some Western airlines avoid including the 13th row on planes, you might find number 17 omitted on Italian planes, street numbering, hotel floors, and so on – so even if you’re not the superstitious type, it’s handy to be aware of.

The reason for this is thought to be because in Roman numerals the number 17 (XVII) is an anagram of the Latin word VIXI, meaning ‘I have lived’: the use of the past tense apparently suggests death, and therefore bad luck. It’s less clear what’s so inauspicious about Friday.

So don’t be surprised if, next time Friday 17th rolls around, you notice some Italian shops and offices closed per scaramanzia’.

But why then does 13 often have a positive connotation in Italy instead?

You may not be too surprised to learn that it’s because of football.

Ever heard of Totocalcio? It’s a football pools betting system in which players long tried to predict the results of 13 different matches.

There were triumphant calls of ho fatto tredici! – ‘I’ve done thirteen’ – among those who got them all right. The popular expression soon became used in other contexts to mean ‘I hit the jackpot’ or ‘that was a stroke of luck!’

From 2004, the number of games included in Totocalcio rose to 14, but you may still hear winners shout ‘ho fatto tredici’ regardless.

Other common Italian superstitions include touching iron (not wood) for good luck, not toasting with water, and never pouring wine with your left hand.