Google has partnered with Italy's largest film archive, the Cinecittà Luce Institute, to digitise more than 100,000 films and 3 million photos and create a dedicated YouTube channel with themed playlists featuring more than 30,000 films, newsreel clips and archival videos.
Before the channel was officially unveiled at the end of June, it was already averaging 50,000 views per day during its soft launch. The archival footage not only includes previously aired newsreels, such as paparazzi footage of Italian film stars such as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, but also videos of private papal audiences, such as Pope Paul VI meeting John F. Kennedy.
By making the copyrighted videos available to the public on their own, Cinecittà Luce hopes to curtail video piracy of their films, which range from Italian cinematic classics La Dolce Vita and Roma Città Aperta to epic English-language productions like Ben Hur, Gangs of New York and The Passion of Christ.
Mussolini created Cinecittà Studios and the Luce Archives, which have since combined, as a propaganda tool in the 1920s, and nearly a third of the YouTube clips consist of news reports from this period, focusing on the success of Italy's industries and the Duce himself.
Google has spent tens of millions digitising the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nelson Mandela's archive, and one million books from the national libraries in Rome and Florence, as well as 33,000 works of art from top museums around the world, including the Uffizi Gallery and the Capitoline Museums.