Lucca deserves much more than Stefano Cecchi's screeds and Klaus Davi's ideas

These days, Lucca is subjected to two crossfires: the screeches of journalist Stefano Cecchi, and the absurd ideas of TV personality Klaus Davi.

The National Museums of Lucca, which are already having a rough time of it, are subjected these days to at least two crossfires: those of Stefano Cecchi, editor-in-chief of the newspaper La Nazione, and Klaus Davi, who has proposed (without anyone having asked him for anything) to elaborate communication strategies for the museums of Lucca (moreover, initially it was supposed to be only the two national museums, Palazzo Mansi and Villa Guinigi: now instead Davi would like to act as"guide" to all the museums of the city).

The events affecting the city of walls are worthy of attention, since Cecchi and Davi best play two roles that culture, while not feeling the need for it, must face on an almost daily basis. The former embodies the figure of the journalist who pontificates on cultural issues, doling out unkind epithets toward figures he dislikes, and usually speaking from platitudes. The second, on the other hand, embodies the stereotype of the famous person who, invested by television with the power to proffer whatever antics pass through his head, goes off on propositions that anyone with a modicum of familiarity with culture (the real kind) can never take seriously.

Thus, Stefano Cecchi, in an article in The Nation on August 20, lashed out at the “big wigs of the Superintendencies,” guilty of “exorcising Minister Franceschini guilty of wanting to introduce managers to manage state museums,” and resorting to the classic paraphernalia of the average cultural heritage journalist, such as screeches against museum apparatuses ( information sheets are branded as “pizza place menus”) and typical comparisons with museums in the United States. Incidentally, it is curious that Cecchi, in addition to assigning a nonexistent Raphael to Palazzo Mansi and changing Donatello’s trade by talking about his improbable “canvases,” refers to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington without naming it but simply derubricating it as the “masterpiece museum for technology and services” built "in Washington around the slippers that Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz." Dear Cecchi, this is not exactly why the Smithsonian was founded, whose origins date back about a hundred years before Judy Garland was born.

Palazzo Mansi a Lucca
The entrance to Palazzo Mansi in Lucca

And so it came to pass that, Klaus Davi, moved by immeasurable passion for culture aroused in him by reading Cecchi’s high lai, on August 28 declared his willingness to deal with “the revitalization of the museums of Palazzo Mansi and Villa Guinigi in Lucca, even on a free basis if there were no funds for promotion.” Although, in an article published today also in the Lucca edition of La Nazione, the generous Davi says he wants a salary: “for the first six months I will symbolically settle for one euro.” It is not clear, however, whether Davi wants one euro to be spread over six months, or one euro per month: perhaps some light should be shed on the subject.

However, the first idea proposed by Klaus Davi for the revitalization of Lucca’s museums falls far short of the economic value of his collaboration: if the “massmediologist and communications expert” wants to earn his six rich euros (or one euro for six months), it would be a good idea for him to put more effort into it. In fact, the proposal consists of displaying “the icon of the two Italian maroos in India” (will they perhaps be canonized by the Orthodox Church?) “at the entrance of all city museums.” And we are already anticipating, in addition to the queues that will be created in front of the entrances of Lucca’s museums as a result of this stunt, the Indian authorities who will free the two soldiers, moved to compassion by Davi and his infinite solidarity. Not least because our character is confident that his proposal “will be carefully considered.” And he is serious about it, because this Saturday he will go to the mayor of Lucca: “I will ask for me the position of creative director of all the museums of Lucca, state and municipal.”

I didn’t know that a citizen could suddenly ask for positions to be paid with public salaries (good Davi will be content with the symbolic pay only for the first six months: and after that?) from an administration, although it is not clear to which one, because Davi will apply to the municipality, but two of Lucca’s museums are run by the Ministry. Who knows if for the unconditional love of art it will be allowed in the future to obtain public appointments without going through public selections and competitions, and to bring together competencies of local and central administrations and then tear them down in one fell swoop.

It is true that Lucca’s state museums have very few visitors compared to their very high potential. Given our geographical proximity, we have visited them several times (a couple of them with two guided tours), and we are aware of their very high cultural value. It is true that we would need new ideas and new blood that can revive these two very important institutions. But to do this we need resources and we need a serious enhancement plan (which, of course, can never be separated from protection). The first farcical idea of the first TV personality seeking easy visibility is not enough. The hope is that Lucca will succeed, as it has always done, in treating culture as a very serious matter.

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