In Milan, the Rovati Foundation’s Etruscan and Modern Museum

The Cultural Center, promoted by the Rovati Foundation in Milan, is starting to function: the first Johan & Levi bookstore, exhibition and study rooms, restaurants, bistros, bars and, from September, a new unique museum

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The carpet opens up for the new headquarters Luigi Rovati Foundation in Milan. From Wednesday, July 6, it takes shape one of the most anticipated cultural activities among those going on in the city. In fact, the garden with the exhibition pavilion (with an exhibition that tells the development of the construction site), the conference room, the study room, the first point of sale for Johan & Levi publishing house (which serves as the museum’s bookstore), the café bistro overlooking the lush garden and a work by Mauro Ceolin and the restaurant on the top floor of the building (with a stunning view of the Milan skyline), with a site-specific work of Andrea Sala (and works by Paolini, Kentridge, Jodice and Ruff). If the whole structure, as we will see, was designed and conceived by Mario Cucinella, the bistro and the restaurant are both a project of Flaviano Capriotti and controlled by the chef Andrea Aprea. Instead, the focus is on September for the long-awaited art museum supported by the same scientific-cultural institution, established in 2016; Bookings for museum visits start September 1 and will be free all month. The announcement of the inauguration comes five years after the first interview Artribune from Giovanna Forlanelli Rovatitoday Chairman of the Foundation and its Scientific Committee: a conversation focused on the objectives of the (not only) museum project promoted by the Rovati family in the over 3,000 square meters of the historic building of Corso Venezia, 52. The restoration process, expansion and redevelopment of the building was just entrusted to the study MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects, which in the same years has strengthened its presence in Milan, opened the company’s second office in the city and carried out ambitious construction sites: from the “iceberg” at San Raffaele Hospital to SeiMilano; from Unipol’s headquarters to the latest West Gate master plan, as part of MIND, to name a few. Awaiting, therefore, the completion of both the underground museum rooms, which as you know will be destined for the foundation’s Etruscan collection, and the rooms on the building’s noble floor, where the contemporary artworks (including site-specific) and special commissioned works by Luigi Ontani, Giulio Paolini, Francesco Simeti and many others) will be exhibited along with additional archeological finds, a significant portion of the site is ready to go.


At the foundation’s headquarters, named after the doctor, researcher and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Luigi Rovati, initiatives will be implemented in accordance with the principles of social benefit that inspired the institution’s creation. Although the Museum of Etruscan and Contemporary Art represents the spearhead of the program, in addition to being the main architectural intervention in the entire redevelopment project, its stated goal since its inception has been to devise a place not only for the performance of works of art. There is therefore also room for reflection, study and experimentation in order to open up the city and with the intention of making connections to its cultural structure. Purpose that is reflected in the event calendar, which starts from 6 July to mark the countdown to the inauguration of the museum environments. Social benefit, Creation, Space, Relation are four of the eight basic codes of the so-called “method” of the Rovati Foundation: throughout the month of July, each of these concepts will be analyzed in a cycle of weekly meetings (open to the public by appointment), characterized by participation by Giovanna Forlanelli Rovati and the architect Cucinella. The theater for this schedule will be the headquarters conference room, while the exhibition can be visited in the Pavilion, located in the garden Luigi Rovati Foundation: the construction site and the process. It is an exhibition project curated by the Scientific Committee (composed of Mario Abis and Mario Cucinella, coordinated by Salvatore Settis), focusing on the path that led to the reactivation, after a phase of decommissioning, of the building in Corso Venezia and to its transformation into a multifaceted cultural pole. (In the video a few frames of the video describing the construction site).


The Rovati Foundation was established in the Palazzo Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro from the nineteenth century: seven storeys (of which two are underground), facing the Montanelli Gardens. Schematic: exhibition space in the basement; on the ground floor entrance, bistro, garden and exhibition pavilion; the offices on the mezzanine; on the main floor still a museum; upstairs conference room and top floor all to Chef Aprea’s restaurant which says “here I made my dream come true“. Three macro-interventions envisaged by the architectural project: the adaptation to public use of the large garden at the back of the building, where the roofs of the underlying exhibition crypt stand out; the construction and preparation of the Etruscan museum, which occupy both the underground spaces; preservation and restoration of the main floor and the creation of environments suitable for other activities, including temporary exhibitions and consultation of the Foundation’s library volumes. The latter, currently based in Monza, specializes in archeology and contemporary art. Despite the familiarity that has accompanied the construction site in recent years, the identity of the underground museum dedicated to the Etruscan collection is already partially known. from the point of view of the materials, the use of pietra serena laid horizontally and placed in stratified levels.The Johan & Levi store is unique, where, in addition to the publications of its own editorial catalog, titles will be available at other publishers related to archeology, ethrology, history, architecture and design, and editorial proposals for the little ones as well as handicrafts from quality obtained eg together with realities such as San Patrignano. Also for sale are the design objects designed by architect Mario Cucinella and by Marianna Kennedy, among the artists in the permanent collection. From now on, public initiatives from Johan & Levi will also take place in the Luigi Rovati Foundation’s room, which will be added to seminars, presentations and meetings held regularly in the new Milan Cultural Center. The museum aims to involve people, lock them in, get them to do things in space, the director confirms Monica LoffredoAndrea Aprea relaunches: “in a little while we will open the bar on the ground floor and in the garden from 8 o’clock in the morning“Explains the chef”and I want to put the coffee and the croissant on quiet figures, like any bar, I want people to come to this wonderful place to have breakfast in the morning and live it with simplicityThis is also about to make a new museum.

– Valentina Silvestrini

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