Florence, the city of the Renaissance, home of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Dante Alighieri, Amerigo Vespucci and many others… inaugurated its first Virtual Reality cinema on Sunday 5 March!
Thanks to Gold Enterprise, azienda fiorentina premiata durante AWE USA 2021, finally Virtual Reality has its own space also in this beautiful Renaissance land.

Elio Germano, Italian actor and director, inaugurated together with Omar Rashid, the staff of Gold Enterprise, and the staff of Astra Cinema, his show “Così è (o mi pare)”, directed by him and interpreted and rewritten for Virtual Reality (VR) adapted from “Così è (se vi pare)” of Luigi Pirandello

Inauguration evening of the Cinema VR at the Astra Cinema in Florence (Italy)

This was the first event in a long series of other Virtual Reality screenings that will be organized by the Stensen Foundation at the ASTRA cinema in Florence.

To fully immerse themselves in Virtual Reality, viewers are given headsets (PICO), with headphones (SONY), which contain the content created at 360° degrees.

Pico, Sony and Gold Enterprise VR, together for the opening night of the VR Cinema at the Astra cinema in Florence (Italy)

Spectators can remain comfortably seated on the armchairs of the cinema and by turning their heads, they can view the show in 360° degrees, all around them.

Elio Germano and Omar Rashid introduced the specificity of cinema in VR and motivated the choice of the type of show by offering not only an overview of the work they have been doing together for some years, before the lockdown, but also intriguing the public with future predictions on the next works they will do together.

To see the entire presentation by Elio Germano, Omar Rashid and Michele Crocchiola click here: Florence XR (Italy) – (you can activate the subtitles in English)

These are the next two scheduled VR Films in the ASTRA Cinema in Florence:

  • Monday 6 March, at 6.30 pm “Alarm signal” by Elio Germano and Omar Rashid. The film is the transposition of the play by Elio Germano and Chiara Lagani, a monologue starring Germano himself who speaks to and about our times.
  • Saturday 11 March at 11:00 am it will be the turn of “The Italian Baba” by Elio Germano and Omar Rashid (Italia 2020, 20’) and “Lockdown” 2020 by Omar Rashid (Italia 2020, 20’).

    “The Italian Baba” is a biography film in virtual reality with a documentary imprint that tells of an introspective journey in search of oneself; a 360° journey that tells of lives lived and still to be explored, in search of answers to unresolved questions. In search of a guru to show us the way, the viewer travels inside and outside himself, immersed in the Indian landscapes and guided by the words of the text “Barefoot on Earth” di Folco Terzani, narrato da Elio Germano.

    “Lockdown 2020” is the VR film that shows Italy during the quarantine of the coronavirus health emergency. A documentary film, a tour to tell an Italy that no one could see, but which was there, motionless in its majesty. Virtual reality conveys total immersion in images, closeness through that detachment we have experienced.

Once a week there will be a VR movie on the program on the Cinema ASTRA.

Gold Enterprise, Pico and Sony, together with the inauguration of the first VR Cinema in Florence (Italy) – In this photo Cecilia Lascialfari


Gold VR is a company that was founded in 2003, from an explosive concentration of passion, competence and innovation. A multimedia and pioneering project that has always been attentive to street culture and novelties that revolves around the creation of content, exploring new frontiers and communication strategies.

GOLD VR uses new technologies to put them at the service of a story and create out-of-the-ordinary content, spreading their knowledge about virtual reality and organizing collective viewing experiences.

GOLD VR uses virtual reality to tell stories and create immersive experiences that deeply involve

Gold Enterprise VR Florence, Italy


Collective screenings in virtual reality make watching a film an interactive and one-of-a-kind experience. The viewer is completely immersed in the narrative flow and at the same time has the opportunity to share the vision with other viewers simultaneously. The visual experience that we usually associate with the individual becomes a unicum made up of many individualities.

(Source GOLD VR)


The ASTRA cinema is a cinema and multifunctional hall of Banca Cambiano, whose management and programming is by the Stensen Foundation and PRG.
The cinema hall, square in shape, has about 100 seats and a seven-metre screen.

Gold Enterprise, Pico and Sony, together with the inauguration of the first VR cinema in Florence (Italy)

In addition to being a cinema, the Astra in Florence is a multifunctional space, also open in the summer, seven days a week, from morning to evening, with programming ranging from art-house titles to great films in their original language, from cinema classics to documentaries, with events dedicated to Italian and foreign authors. In addition to this, the Astra cinema hosts meetings, conventions, conferences, book presentations, moments of discussion on current issues and then small concerts, shows, performances.

Elio Germano with Cecilia Del Re (Councilor to the Urban Planning, Coordination of Recovery Plan projects, UNESCO Management Plan, Technological Innovation, Information Systems and Smart Cities) at the inauguration of the first Cinema VR in Florence (Italy)

A special feature of the room is an advanced retractable seating system, thanks to which the armchairs can disappear under the floor, leaving the room free to adapt to host events that do not require seating, remodeling itself according to needs.

The cinema ASTRA is located in Piazza Beccaria, a stone’s throw from the Sant’Ambrogio district and the Lungarni, and can be easily reached from the ring roads.

Inauguration of the first Cinema VR in Florence (Italy). From left: Ivo Romagnoli, Elio Germano, Luisa Bosi, Omar Rashid

The reopening of the Astra cinema was made possible thanks to the purchase of Banca Cambiano, which has its own branch next to it, and the urban planning regulation of the Municipality of Florence which provides for the reuse of abandoned city cinemas for cultural purposes.
The design of the cinema structure, completely renovated and modified compared to the previous spaces, was created by the Archea architecture studio of Florence.

Astra cinema’s partner is Publiacqua spa, to mitigate plastic consumption and offer public water. The Astra cinema is part of the Firenze al Cinema circuit.

The inauguration of the Astra cinema in Florence took place on January 26, 2023, with four days of films, guests and special events.

(Source STENSEN)


Florence is not the first city in Italy to have cinema in VR.
For some years now, thanks to RAI Cinema, Gold Enterprise and other companies that produce VR content, some cinemas and museums have adapted their film program to Virtual Reality screenings.
These are some of the VR rooms in Italy:

Not to mention the VR section of the Venice Film Biennale, which every year presents films in VR from all over the world…

RAI Cinema VR (Italy)

ARea6DoF – Experience your 6 Degrees of Freedom in the XR World

It’s incredible how the territory is managing to understand the need to adopt new technologies that can make the culture present in Italy dialogue with the whole world.
This is also the goal of the AWE Nite Florence, to link the culture of the area to technology. And it is also the focus of the Flying Into The Metaverse Through Books & Culture project. And finally, it is also the goal of the creation of the Future of Creativity in the XR World research group where we discuss Artificial Intelligence, Art and Creativity.

But we won’t stop here.. I can assure you that Florence, the land of the Renaissance, has many other innovations in store in the technological sector… Stay Tuned!

Gold Enterprise, Pico and Sony, together with the inauguration of the first VR cinema in Florence (Italy) – In this photo Cecilia Lascialfari
Cecilia Lascialfari
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