Seven Cecchi Gori-owned cinemas are to be put up for auctionin October, including the one-time movie mogul's jewel-in-the-crown, theAdriano multiplex in central Rome.

Rome's Civil Court has announced a starting price of Euros10.12m for the 10-screen cinema. Other Cecchi Gori cinemas that will be sold atthe October 10 auction include Rome's Atlantic, with a starting price of Euros5.43m, the Ambassade (Euros 1.84m), the Reale (Euros 1.16m), the Royal (Euros1.275m) and two cinemas that are no longer in use.

The sale was announced following Vittorio Cecchi Gori'sfailure to pay back a loan to financial institution Italfondiaria.

Cecchi Gori, whose producer credits include Life isBeautiful and Il Postino, has been the focus of entangled legal and financialwranglings over the last five years, which have seen his production,distribution and exhibition empire virtually crumble in a morass of bad debtand corruption charges.

Earlier this year, however, the flamboyant producer won alegal battle against Merrill Lynch, which was ordered to return Euros 160m ithad seized from Cecchi Gori to cover alleged debts dating back to his ownershipof Italian broadcaster Telemontecarlo (TMC), which was later acquired byTelecom Italia.

Cecchi Gori still owns a number of cinemas in the Romeregion. He recently produced two Italian comedies: Vincenzo Salemme's Coseda Pazzi, and Il Ritorno delMonnezza with Claudio Amendola.

His upcoming production slate includes Mafia thriller sequelLa Scorta 2. The producer also recentlyannounced that he has acquired rights to Colombian author Gabriel GarciaMarquez's biography.

"I want to concentrate on our operations in London andNew York and make films that can be exported, with an eye in particular on theDVD industry," he recently said.