Netflix to open Italian base in Rome

Streaming giant Netflix has announced it will set up an office in Rome to help expand its range of original Italian content.

Netflix to open Italian base in Rome
The main Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/AFP

The US subscription video service will open its first Italian base within the next few months, the company told Variety magazine. 

The move “will allow us to strengthen our many creative partnerships and work on a growing offer of movies and series made in Italy”, said Netflix's vice president of international originals, Kelly Luegenbiehl.

The company already has around 30 people working on its Italian service, but they are currently based in Amsterdam.

READ ALSO: Six Italian series worth watching beyond My Brilliant Friend

Photo: Rai/HBO

The move follows reports that Italian prosecutors had opened an investigation into Netflix for suspected tax evasion, given that the service generates profits in Italy but has neither a headquarters nor employees here and pays its taxes elsewhere.

Since launching in Italy in 2015, Netflix is estimated to have attracted some 2 million subscribers by the end of 2019.

Its Italian originals include Suburra, an organized crime drama set in Rome's underworld, Baby, a teen melodrama inspired by a real-life underage prostitution scandal, On My Skin, a hard-hitting recreation of the final days of a young man who died in police custody, and The Ruthless, a mafia movie starring local A-lister Riccardo Scamarcio as a Milanese gangster.


Next up for release are Black Moon, a period series about women accused of witchcraft in 17th-century Italy that debuts this week, Fedeltà ('Fidelity'), the story of a young couple wracked by suspicion based on the bestselling novel by Marco Missiroli, Curon, a supernatural drama about a 'drowned' village in South Tyrol, and Zero, the fantasy tale of a young second-generation Italian with superpowers.

Netflix has said it plans to invest €200 million in Italian productions by the end of 2021, calling Italy “a cradle of great storytellers and amazing talent”.

But Italian regulators have proved wary of the streaming service, with the last government introducing a new law that requires all Italian-made films to be shown in cinemas before they become available online. 

The so-called “anti-Netflix” rule is designed to protect Italian cinemas by giving viewers a reason to leave their sofas. In practice, though, all it means is that original movies like The Ruthless are given a fleeting release in movie theatres (three days, in this case) before making their way to Netflix a couple of weeks later.


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Did you know: Rome wasn’t Italy’s first capital city?

With its prestigious history, famous landmarks and breathtaking art, Rome is known all over the world as Italy's capital. But was it always that way?

Did you know: Rome wasn't Italy's first capital city?

Rome is often one of the first cities to crop up when thinking of European capitals, and it’s easy to see why: its multiple treasures, including the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona, make it one of the most instantly recognisable cities in Europe, if not in the world.

But Rome hasn’t always been Italy’s capital.

In fact, there have been two Italian capitals other than the Eternal City since Italy’s Unification in 1861: Turin and Florence.

Currently the capital of Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, Turin’s tenure as the country’s capital was fairly short-lived.

The northern city first became capital of the Kingdom of Savoy in 1559, it then became the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1713 and eventually it became capital of the Kingdom of Italy on March 17th 1861, the day that marked the country’s unification.

Turin, Italy

A view of the Mole Antonelliana, one of Turin’s most recognisable landmarks. Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

By 1865 however, Turin had already lost its capital status to Florence. 

The transition wasn’t exactly smooth though as the local population took to the streets to rebel against the decision on September 21st 1864. What followed is now known as the Turin massacre, in which around 60 civilians were killed.

Florence’s capital status was not long-lived either as in February 1871 – just six years after the transfer to the Tuscan city – Rome formally became the new capital of the Kingdom of Italy.

That’s not all however: a small town in southwestern Sicily claims to have been the first Italian capital as it was supposedly proclaimed so by Giuseppe Garibaldi – an Italian general that was among the leading contributors to Italy’s unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy – on May 14th 1860. The Sicilian town claims to have held the title for a day.

That said, according to history books, there have only been three capital cities in Italy: Turin, Florence and Rome.