New Museum Dedicated to the Italian Language Opens in Florence

| Thu, 07/21/2022 - 03:08
Santa Maria Novella complex in Florence

A new museum dedicated to the Italian language has opened in Florence. 

MUNDI, or Museo Nazionale dell’Italiano, is housed in a former monastery of the Santissima Concezione inside the complex of Santa Maria Novella.

The museum will display manuscripts, books, paintings and objects related to the history of Italian, with a strong multimedia component, to outline the history and evolution of the Italian language and celebrate Italy's great writers, from Dante to Boccaccio, Petrarch to Machiavelli.

Two rooms have opened so far, hosting a free admission temporary exhibition until October 6.  The entire museum, which will spread over 2,000 square meters, is expected to open in 2023. 

On display in the first two rooms are some extraordinary historical objects, including a Pompeian inscription testifying to changes in spoken Latin, a prelude to the vernacular of Italy; and the Riccardiano manuscript in which the poet Giovanni Boccaccio, a few years after Dante’s death, copied the Divine Comedy in his own hand. 

Florence is a natural fit for the museum's headquarters. The Florentine dialect forms the base of standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy thanks to the prestige of such masterpieces as the Divine Comedy.

Some sections of the museum will host temporary exhibitions. 

The name MUNDI refers to two important aspects of the Italian language: it aims to emphasize the relationship with Latin (mundi is a Latin word, the genitive of mundus, meaning “world”); and at the same time, it hints at Italian as a language of the world, which evolved through the centuries thanks to exchanges with other cultures. The name of the Museum, reads a note, “wants to signal the link between the Latin roots of our language and its presence in today's global world.”

MUNDI was conceived as a new generation museum, combining traditional exhibition elements (manuscripts, books, paintings and objects linked to the history of Italian) with a strong multimedia component (plasma screens with push-button or touch-screen, video wall, digital display cases, floors and sensitive panels).

The inauguration on July 6 was attended by the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella and the Minister for Culture Dario Franceschini.