After more than a decade of delays and doubts, a richly detailed Italian theme park will soon conjure up the cinematic worlds of "Ben Hur," "Dante's Inferno" and "Gangs of New York."
First conceived in 2003 and initially announced in 2009, Cinecitta World became so tangled in bureaucratic red tape and beset by repeated setbacks that it seemed the over-the-top designs created for the cinema-centric park might never make it off the drawing board.
Indeed, most theme parks look good on paper. It doesn't cost much to hire an artist to conjure up a fantastical fantasy world designed solely to secure financing. As a result, countless theme parks never make it past the concept art stage. Those that do face the challenge of living up to that original hype. All too often, the brick and mortar reality fails to match the pen and ink dream.
Jaw-dropping online photos suggest the under-construction park may yet live up to those lofty expectations -- but Cinecitta World still has a long way to go. Officials have announced Cinecitta World will open with only eight of the 38 attractions originally planned for the 60-acre park while proposals for a second park, a studio backlot and a shopping center remain in the formative stages.
The headliner among a marquee lineup of rides has to be the 10-inversion Intamin steel coaster, featuring a quadruple heart-line roll and a double corkscrew. The science fiction-themed Cinecitta coaster was devised as a rival to the 10-inversion Colossus at the United Kingdom’s Thorpe Park. Since then, the roller coaster record for most inversions has been topped by Smiler at the U.K.’s Alton Towers, with an astonishing 14 inversions.
A children's area with dark rides, a family coaster and other kiddie rides from Italy-based Zamperla is not expected to be operational when the park initially opens.