Entertainment Entrepreneur

Aristide Vacchino

Ariside Vacchino, theatre and film entrepreneur, was born in Genoa on 3 August 1907 to Carlo and Emilia Accatino.

When his father died in 1918, his widow Emilia and his young son Aristide were left with the honour and burden of maintaining the family business.
They even managed to expand the company with the purchase in 1933 of the Centrale, an elegant cinema-theatre, decorated by Galileo Chini, built in 1925 in the city centre on the site of the existing Cinema Marconi.
The Tabarin Florida, a small cinema opened in 1929, was also part of the complex.

After the war, on 6th June 1947 Vacchino opened the "Giardino", an open-air cinema, on the area of the ex-Theatre Principe Amedeo (destroyed by the war), and in 1953 work began on the construction of a grandiose complex destined for entertainment: the "Centro Ariston".

In 1957 the open-air Ariston was inaugurated, a vast arena situated on the roof of the building in Via Matteotti; on 5 December 1962 it was the turn of the Ariston Mignon (today's Ritz), a 446-seat, shell-shaped hall decorated with metal bas-reliefs by the sculptor Alfieri.
Finally, the Ariston, a cinema-theatre, with 16 boxes, was inaugurated on 31st May 1963.

Aristide Vacchino's intention was to erect a large new building that would alternate between theatrical and cinematographic performances (in the years immediately following the war, the Italian cinema and film industry experienced a boom, reaching a splendour and international prestige that would never be equalled again).

A building that, in particular, could take up the artistic legacy and greatness of the historic "Principe Amedeo" theatre in Sanremo, which, although owned by the municipality since 1877, had been managed by the Vacchino family for years, until it was reduced to a pile of rubble by a devastating air raid in August 1944.

Already at the time of its opening, the "Centro Ariston", with its multi-screen cinemas, represented a conspicuous example of a multi-purpose complex characterised by comfortable environments, elegant furnishings and decorations, avant-garde technical solutions, remarkable stage equipment and state-of-the-art multimedia services.
The complex thus satisfied the city's need for a new large venue dedicated to entertainment, which would compensate for the very limited capacity of the small hall of the Sanremo Casino Opera House.

Towards the end of the 1960s, with the acquisition of the Orfeo (no longer in existence, its place is now occupied by the Revenue Office), a cinema-theatre opened to the public on 23 October 1962, Commendatore Vacchino completed a presence in the panorama of local cinema entrepreneurship consolidated over sixty years.

He died in Sanremo on 8th December 1980.

In his memory, an international rowing regatta is held annually in the Sanremo harbour, organised by the Sanremo Rowing Association".

(source: Marco Mauro)

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