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Italy museums take artful approach to woo tourists

China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-07 10:02
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Tourists visit a museum in Rome on May 21. CHENG TINGTING/XINHUA

ROME-Having suffered through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, museums and galleries across Italy are now eager to lure back visitors.

From completing overdue renovations to installing new multimedia projects, their efforts are aimed at building a new and different relationship with local communities and visitors alike.

At the prestigious Galleria Borghese in Rome, it has decided to include classical music concerts in its offerings.

Renowned for its collection of bas-reliefs, paintings and sculptures dating from the 15th to 19th centuries, including several pieces from Baroque artist Caravaggio, the gallery launched a concert program called "The Borghese and Music" in December, with artists performing Baroque music in the museum's luxuriously frescoed halls.

The concerts are broadcast live on the gallery's website, its social media channels, the ANSA news agency's website and on state radio broadcaster RAI.

As art historian Geraldine Leardi explained in a video presentation, this research project focuses on music commissioned by the noble Borghese family from various musicians in the 17th and 18th centuries.

A similar initiative called "Art that Comforts" involves Italian actors reading poems inspired by some masterpieces hosted in the museum, which the public can enjoy through short video stories on the gallery's website.

Francesca Cappelletti, director of Galleria Borghese, told local media that an "open and inclusive" approach would help her institution as well as other cultural venues reach out to new and possibly younger people, and would enable them to actively engage the public more.

Other Italian museums such as the Uffizi Galleries in Florence and the Lombardy Region Museum Pole have bet on initiatives to scatter their rich collections around their own region.

Across central Tuscany, the "Uffizi Diffusi", or scattered Uffizi project, has set up different exhibitions in smaller cities and towns to enable people to discover new tourist destinations and enjoy the museum's artworks, avoiding overcrowding at the ancient palaces of the historic Uffizi in Florence.

The idea behind the initiative is to help make tourism flow more environmentally and socially sustainable.

Emanuela Daffra, director of the Lombardy museum complex, recently said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced management teams of the country's museums to reinvent the way they approach and address the public.

"It prompted people to discover nearby places in the region, which had previously been a little neglected … One example is our Museum of the Certosa di Pavia, where we now see queues of visitors on weekends, something that has never happened before," she said.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to build a new and lasting relationship with the public."

As like many other Italian museums, Lombardy's Museum Pole makes better use of its virtual tools as another way to increase their attractiveness.

"We allow people to 'experience' the Last Supper as they never could before, since at the museum they can never get so close to the painting… Of course, this does not replace a visit to the museum in person-it rather augments it," Daffra said.


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