‘Romeo & Juliet’: Zeffirelli’s Movie & Stage Costumes at Castiglioncello

In a celebration of artistry, Castiglioncello’s Pasquini castle hosts a tribute to the work of Florentine director Franco Zeffirelli. Hailing from the extensive collection of the Cerratelli Foundation, 60 costumes, numerous sketches, and other unique artifacts used to create Zeffirelli’s magic on screen and in the theater are displayed through September 10 (open 6 – 11 pm, closed Mondays; admission €7).

Zeffirelli was born into the world of style and creativity, his mother being a fashion designer and his father a wool and silk dealer. The Cerratelli Foundation holds sentimental significance for this artist, where he had memories of wearing personalized carnival costumes as a kid.  The town of Castiglioncello conjures up memories of his visits to his friend and work partner, screenwriter Suso Checchi D’Amico, at her vacation home.  An annual prize for year’s best screen play is also awarded in her memory at Castiglioncello. Due to these relevant connections, the costumes have temporarily been relocated to this beautiful Tuscan beach town.

As guests enter the show, the haunting soundtrack of “Romeo and Juliet” (1968) echoes through the room. The majestic beauty of the film, for which it won Academy awards in cinematography and costume design, is brought to life. Ruby-colored jewels, dusty-blue velvet, and intricately designed stitching and beads adorn the sumptuous costumes. Patterns and swatches of fabric pinned to cardboard invite visitors to experience the evolution of process from the drawing board to the screen.

Other sections display wardrobes from Zeffirelli productions such as “Taming of the Shrew” (1967),  and “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.” (1971).

Zeffirelli’s artistry took place on the stage as well. Created by Anna Anni, the beautiful gowns from “Maria Stuarda” (1983) drape the floor, with wide, white collars adorning the mannequins’ necks. These designs, as if the incarnated from the imagination of a young girl, exude elegance, poise, and glamour. In these rooms, sketches of the costumes are displayed to the walls, reminding visitors of the months of work entailed in awakening the designs from the page.  (s.g.)