Peressutti, Art Nouveau architect of Gemona in Padua
[1883 – 1940]
Gino Peressutti was born on 21 June 1883 in Gemona del Friuli and began his career when just over twenty years old. He died in Padua in 1940, at the age of fifty-seven, at the height of his career.
In the early twentieth century, Peressutti left Friuli for Padua, appointed by Gemona entrepreneur Giambattista Della Marina to oversee the construction of Francesco Petrarca university residence, or the “Antonianum”. The result was much appreciated and brought him more work and success, to the point that only a little time later he was named “Honorary architect” by the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice.
The young architect was one of the key figures in the plan to redevelop the centre of Padua, and among the first architects to propose the Art Nouveau style, which he approached while studying in Austria and at seminars held in Gemona by his illustrious fellow architect of the same town, Raimondo D’Aronco, Italy’s greatest Art Nouveau architect.
Europe's Biggest Film Studio
Mussolini laid the cornerstone on 29 January 1936, and 475 days later, on 28 April 1937, Cinecittà was opened: Europe’s biggest film studio, covering a total of 600,000 square metres.
The idea of building a complex of buildings for the production of films that would at the same time represent the very concept of the national film industry first arose in the United States in the late nineteen-twenties.
When the sets of Posa Cines in Via Vejo in Rome burnt down on 26 September 1935, Gino Peressutti was asked by Luigi Freddi, general director of film, and the honourable Carlo Roncoroni, owner of the Cines studio, to plan the grandiose project.
Gino Peressutti travelled to England, Germany, France and Austria to visit the most important film studios of his day and find his inspiration. In his drawings he concentrates on the layout of the sets, allowing multiple films to be made at the same time. This solution turned out to be particularly successful, permitting a significant increase in film production, first within Italy and then all over the world.
Cinecittà today not only represents the collective memory of Italian film, but may be considered a practically intact example of Rationalist architecture.
We may still perceive the sense of rigour, order, simplification and practicality in the single buildings and the whole of Peressutti’s original plan.
Gino Peressutti. L’architetto di Cinecittà
by Sara Martin
From the exhibition at Cineteca del Friuli Film Library to the bibliography.
Find more about Gino Peressutti
The importance of Peressutti’s work was underlined seventy years after his death in the 2010 exhibition held in Palazzo Elti by the Cineteca del Friuli Film Library with the City of Gemona and the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The exhibition brought together plans for the film studio complex, kindly loaned by Gregorio Belloni Peressutti and Gilberto Ganzer, films, newspaper articles, objects, books, magazines and documents, as well as posters, photographs and handbills for films made in Cinecittà or using its film development and printing workshops, sets, costumes and scenery, from the Gianni Da Campo collection.
The exhibition provided the occasion for publication of the volume entitled
L’architetto dei sogni: Gino Peressutti, da Gemona a Cinecittà.
The Civic Library of Don Valentino Baldissera in Gemona del Friuli contains numerous volumes dealing with the illustrious Gemona architect’s life and work, including G. PERESSUTTI, Album fotografico delle opere di Gino Peressutti, 1908.
Additional information may be found in the vast online dictionary of Friulian biographies (https://www.dizionariobiograficodeifriulani.it/peressutti-gino/) and Livio Jacob and Carlo Gaberscek’s volume “Il Friuli e il cinema”, published by Cineteca del Friuli Film Library.