Milan, November 15, 2016. The project for a new Museum of Etruscan Art was presented today by the mayor of Milan, Beppe Sala and the Luigi Rovati Foundation. Located in the historic Palazzo Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro in Corso Venezia 52 in Milan, the museum will be inaugurated in late 2018 after a complex restoration operation by Mario Cucinella Architects.
The project involves the renovation and expansion of the historic property of Palazzo Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro, located in Milan in Corso Venezia 52, where a new Museum of Etruscan Art will take shape. The building consists of five floors with a total floor area of some 3,300 square meters. It is a historic building, where conservation work will be important, as will the new elements entrusted to the creative and stringent guidance of architect Mario Cucinella.
The architectural project includes three macro interventions. The first is the expansion of the basement level of the property and the construction of the underground museum that will house a collection of vases and Etruscan artefacts. The second is the operation of conservation and restoration of the piano nobile, designed in the ’60s by architect Filippo Perego, a “rediscovered home” designed to display other works of art belonging to the Foundation. The other floors of the building contain the offices, library, laboratories, conference room and spaces for temporary exhibitions. The ground floor has the ticket office, bookshop area and cafeteria. The third operation in the project will involve improvements to the large garden at the back of the building, a project developed in agreement with the Superintendence for the Architectural and Landscape Heritage. It is a space hidden by the outer walls that enclose it on three sides, a private green area that will be open to the public and can be enjoyed without necessarily visiting the Museum. The core body of the museum exhibition will be an important collection of Etruscan bucchero and impasto pottery, the Cottier-Angeli Collection, which together contains over 700 exhibits, is considered by experts as the most complete collection of vases from the Archaic period, taken as a frame reference by the world’s great museums.
The vocation for research and innovation, the combination of knowledge, openness to the world, devotion to study and work, and civil commitment are the values that guide our family, says Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati, Vice-President of the Luigi Rovati Foundation. The Foundation is named after my father-in-law, Luigi Rovati, physician, researcher and pharmaceutical entrepreneur, who has always accompanied the constant commitment to the growth of the company he founded with his passion for classical art. Combining corporate culture with art has generated an experience that is given continuity today in the new generations of the family.
The collection was acquired this year in Switzerland and returned to Italy by virtue of a forward-looking agreement with the Ministry of the Cultural Heritage and Activities and collaboration with the Superintendences and the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. The operation is part of the fundamental theme of the restitution and reintegration of the archaeological heritage of our country by private individuals, by returning to Italy relics freely available on the international antiques market, an operation often viewed with suspicion and considered an incentive to illegal excavations.
The museum, which will host other works from private collections that the Foundation will bring together, making it possible for the public to enjoy them, seeks to act as a centre of excellence in the field of conservation, study and enhancement of ancient relics. It has taken shape thanks to the centrality of Milan as a pole of attraction for the Etruscan archaeological sites located on the national territory. The choice of Milan for the museum is linked to the vision of the metropolitan city, where Milan, the central node of influx, opens outwards and the tourist-cultural flows move over an increasingly extensive and integrated territory. The challenge will be to create an archaeological museum that does not limit itself to exhibiting objects, but to restoring our origins in a modern and dynamic way, through the use of new technologies that can contribute evocatively to contextualising each find within a broader historical and cultural context, a place to give space to ideas and enable them to circulate.
The new museum aims at excellence precisely because it seeks to make study, thought and dialogue its basic principles and point of arrival. It will act as a laboratory in which to experiment with new activities, create important international partnerships, organise conferences and seminars, becoming a research hub and a reference point for restoration, but also a meeting point and centre of dissemination of knowledge and beauty for the community, with particular attention to schooling, education and multimedia.
This project is intended to counteract the approach that often sees philanthropy as a “hobby” or interpreted as the result of “good will” linked to an individual interest. Rather, it is essential to be receptive to change and ready to experiment, characteristics rooted in the culture of Italian family entrepreneurship, and embark on an innovative philanthropic path, which involves planning, professionalism and direct participation. The specific task of philanthropy is the pioneering one: experimenting with new models, with the speed and independence that no public institution can ever bring into the field. The private individual can afford to make mistakes and learn from them, invent new paradigms of action that, once tested on a smaller scale, can then be applied to the public on larger scales, in a virtuous circle that sees both of them collaborating through constructive exchanges.