The Italian director had notably directed Fanny Ardant in “Callas Forever”.

Italian director Franco Zeffirelli died at the age of 96 on Saturday in his residence in Rome . Franco Zeffirelli “died serenely after a long illness, which had worsened in recent months,” say Italian media quoting family sources of the filmmaker.

“I never wanted that day to come in. Franco Zeffirelli left this morning, one of the greatest men of world culture, we join in the grief of his loved ones, goodbye, dear Master, Florence will never forget you “, wrote on Twitter Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, hometown of the master. 

Director, screenwriter, producer, Franco Zeffirelli has signed twenty feature films in his career. He was the singer of an esthetic cinema studied by his master Luchino Visconti and inspired by masterpieces of English literature and great operas.

His most famous film, Romeo and Juliet (1968), is also an adaptation of Shakespeare, which he also borrowed Hamlet (1992, with Mel Gibson and Glenn Close) and The Tamed Shrew (1967, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), a loyalty that earned him in 2004 the title of “Sir” in England. He had also directed Fanny Ardant in Callas Forever . Beyond the cinema, he also directed more than thirty plays and operas.