Museum of the Italian Language will be born in the center of Florence, ok from MiBACT

A Museum of the Italian Language will be created in the Santa Maria Novella complex in Florence. There is the okay from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

Another museum is coming to Florence’s historic center: it is the Museum of the Italian Language, whose project was approved last Sunday by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism as part of the strategic plan "Major Cultural Heritage Projects, " funded with 103 million euros. Of these, 4.5 million are earmarked precisely for the Museum of the Italian Language. The initiative, MiBACT announced in a note, will celebrate the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, who died in Ravenna in September 1321.

“The Museum of the Italian Language,” the ministry text reads, “finds its natural location in the Tuscan capital, in the city where the Accademia della Crusca, the oldest linguistic academy in the world, has had its headquarters since 1583. That of creating a language museum is an idea proposed by many important Italianists and has not been abandoned since the great exhibition on the Italian language at the Uffizi in Florence was inaugurated in 2003.”

In fact, establishing a museum dedicated to the Italian language has been talked about for some time. Last November, linguist Giuseppe Antonelli had also launched a petition on, addressed precisely to Minister Franceschini, calling for a “large, articulated, technological museum like those dedicated to other languages,” capable of uniting the Italian cultural institutions that deal with the language, namely the Accademia della Crusca, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Accademia dei Lincei, the Association for the History of the Italian Language, and the Treccani Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia. The appeal had been signed by more than four thousand supporters. The petition had also received distinguished signatures from the world of culture: among others, actress Lella Costa, singer-songwriter Dente, writers Valerio Magrelli and Giorgio van Straten. A number of linguists, such as Nicoletta Maraschio (honorary president of the Accademia della Crusca), Luca Serianni, Claudio Marazzini, Matteo Motolese, Lucilla Pizzoli and others had then lined up in favor of the establishment of a museum dedicated to Italian.

And then again, last January 21, the Museum of the Italian Language had received an important endorsement, that of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who, speaking at the inauguration of the academic year of the University of Florence, in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, had supported the creation of “a museum that celebrates and teaches the history of Italian, which, like every language, is the mirror of the society that speaks it and, at the same time, a treasure deposited by the generations that, before us, spoke it: it is truly a legacy.”

Where will the new museum be located? The site has been identified in the Santa Maria Novella complex, specifically in the wing of the former Santa Maria Novella barracks overlooking Via della Scala, a short walk from the central station. As for governance, the museum will be managed by the City of Florence and the Accademia della Crusca. “The museum,” the Accademia itself points out in a note, “will have to provide a diachronic and synchronic representation of Italian, tracing its history, representing its varieties, with a focus on the evolving contemporary. The experience that the museum will allow the visitor to have will be both concrete and virtual, thanks to the documentary display and the provision of multimedia materials, guaranteeing an immersive and engaging visit.”

Also satisfied is Mayor Dario Nardella: “It will be the indelible sign of the country’s and the city of Florence’s tribute of gratitude to Dante Alighieri on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of his death,” says the first citizen. A museum with the latest communication technology, aimed first and foremost at young people and schools, as well as the millions of visitors who will have one more reason to return to our city soon. This museum wants to be an example of cultural promotion and dissemination of that immense living cultural heritage that is the Italian language, among the most spoken and studied in the world." However, there are also voices opposed to the idea of a new museum in the city: among them, that of Giovanni Morandi, journalist, historical signature of La Nazione as well as director of the magazine Pegaso. “We do not feel that the museum of the Italian language, which has been thought about for some time and about which we have returned to talk, is a priority,” he writes in an article in the Florentine daily. “Not considering it first on the list stems only from the fear of not wasting energy on too many topics with the risk of losing sight of the main objective,” which is, according to Morandi, to bring tourists back to the city. The linguists who supported the project are obviously enthusiastic. And so now there is perhaps only to wait for the next steps.

Pictured: Domenico di Michelino, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1465; fresco; Florence, Duomo)

Museum of the Italian Language will be born in the center of Florence, ok from MiBACT
Museum of the Italian Language will be born in the center of Florence, ok from MiBACT

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