Castellinaria's voyage into the magic of cinema continues with the E. Rancati props company.

After the pre-cinema devices, the Festival turns into a huge film set.

Just like in the movies, visitors can travel through time, in the distance of just a few metres taking the helm of a pirate ship, lying down on a triclinium in ancient Rome surrounded by legionaries vexilla, trying on a Viking helmet, entering an alchemist's cave filled with skeletons and astrolabes, or taking a souvenir photo seated on Cleopatra's throne, all in a suggestive and fascinating atmosphere. The props can all be touched, allowing visitors to better understand how they are made, and in what materials: metal, wood, plastic, resin etc.

At the end of the visit, a series of objects are available to combine and put in order according to a historical evaluation.


E. Rancati props

The company's origins go back to the second half of the 19th century. Pietro Zaffaroni and his wife Giulia Sormani owned a theatre props workshop in Milan which rented props to Teatro alla Scala and other Italian theatres and opera houses.

In 1864 Giulia Sormani inherited the business from her husband. She later married sculptor Edoardo Rancati, a teacher at the Brera Fine Arts Academy in Milan.

Giulia's brothers, Angelo and Giuseppe, also began working for the company. Thus E. Rancati & C. was formed.

In 1875 Angelo Sormani opened a branch in Rome. In 1892 E. Rancati was awarded a prize at the World Fair in Chicago. The company grew, beginning to make a name for itself internationally, as well. In 1912 Romolo Sormani, Angelo's son, worked with the greats of opera, the theatre and the arts: Puccini, Mascagni, Toscanini, Savinio, De Chirico, Prampolini, Sironi and his close friend Nicola Benois.

In the 1930s and 1940s a long relationship with the cinema began; as a matter of fact, Romolo supplied props for the first great cinematic productions.

After the war, his children Angelo, Anna and Giuseppe significantly developed the company, making the name E. Rancati known around the world through the most important theatre and cinema productions. E. Rancati s.r.l., with branches in Milan and Rome, is currently run by Cristina and Romolo Sormani, the fourth generation of the family.

Since 1864, the most famous directors, set designers and costume designers around the world have turned to the company to hire or purchase scenery and props for the cinema, theatre, television and all other show business requirements. In the company workshops, expert craftsmen create, transform and adapt arms and armours, furniture and furnishings, accessories and jewellery, all of which are kept in a warehouse of over 5,000 square metres.

Various different crafts converge in the workshops, from metalworking to carpentry, painting to sculpture, and leatherworking. Combinations of materials are also developed – resin, polyurethane, latex – with which to reproduce metal, wood and leather at lower cost and make them lighter.

The term "props" means the various objects which complete a film set, besides the scenery and costumes.

The suitcases of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America and the sabres of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor; the swords of Pirates of the Caribbean and the candelabras which illuminated Brad Pitt in Troy … there is just a single, subtle thread uniting them all, and it is E. Rancati props.


The exhibition will be interactive, so it will be possible to play, touch and, above all, dream.

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