Italy celebrates itself and its money

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May 5, 2011 – An exhibition to mark the state’s 150th anniversary was opened by President Giorgio Napolitano on the 4th of April. It shows the evolution of the Italian money from Italy’s founding until today.

Small objects tell big stories: On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the state of Italy, the Italian central bank Banca d’Italia is presenting the illustrious anniversary show entitled “La moneta dell’Italia unita”. Designed by Atelier Brückner, the exhibition was opened on the 4th of April by Italian president Giorgio Napolitano in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. Valuable coins, medals and bank notes from centuries past all make a grand appearance. But today’s currency, the euro, is also included and is presented with regard to its significance for Italy.

San Marino – 2 EUR – Commemorative coin 2007: Giuseppe Garibaldi.

The visitor enters an exhibition space in which items are showcased in a wide variety of staged settings that enable intuitive access to the various themes of the show. The main area, radiating a dignified gold, is dedicated to monetary unification. Cube shapes determine the impression made by the sound-filled space, at the centre of which there is a three-dimensional sculpture onto which a specially designed 17minute film is projected. Italian history makes its appearance in the form of a sculptural space-consuming experience.

In-depth information is provided by a detailed timeline, which features integrated exhibits and encompasses the entire exhibition space. Italy’s history becomes comprehensible, starting with the first tendencies towards unification under Napoleon in 1796, followed by 1861, the year in which the state was founded, and leading up to the introduction of the euro over ten years ago. Individual, thematically arranged media stations, whose cube shapes insert themselves smoothly into the spatial narrative, allow the visitor to become interactively immersed in this history. The contents of the original documents on show and the trading value of historical means of payment are portrayed and elucidated in a relaxed, unforced context.

“La moneta dell’Italia unita”: Manufacturing coins and banknotes – Photo: Michael Jungblut.

Other aspects of means of payment are focussed on in the subsequent exhibition areas. For example, the space entitled “Manufacturing Coins and Banknotes” and completely submerged in a deep blue color provides an insight into the history of the minting and printing processes.

“La moneta dell’Italia unita”: Vault room – Photo: Michael Jungblut.

The treasure chamber, designed like a vault room, deals with the aesthetic qualities of coins that are important artistically as well as in terms of the history of Italy.

“La moneta dell’Italia unita”: Money today – Photo: Michael Jungblut.

In the futuristically designed space entitled “Money today”, the visitor can use an eleven meter-long media table to explore today’s monetary networks and find out about the current banking system. 17 different touch points serve as an invitation to call up the interactively processed contents. Depending on which projection is selected, the elongated exhibition space, completely in the colour anthracite, alters its character and aura. The selected contents become something that can be spatially experienced.

If you are interested in other projects of Atelier Brückner visit its website.

The official site of this magnificent exposition is here.