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Diocesan Museum of Otranto

Project of functional adaptation, organization and combined use of media

  • Client:
    Archdiocese of Otranto
  • Year:
  • Type:
  • Status:
    work in progress
  • Team:
    archt. Fernando Russo
  • Surface:
    380 square meters
  • Location:
    Otranto (LE) - Italy
The Diocesan Museum of Otranto is currently situated in the Palazzo Lopez in Piazza Basilica, that with the Seminary, the Cathedral and the bell tower creates an architectural backdrop that forms the charming Piazza Basilica.
The project aims to make the Diocesan Museum accessible through an exhibition that emphasizes the historical and artistic heritage preserved in it; to guarantee a better reception of visitors through educational tools concerning not only to assets exposed inside but also to the monumental assets in the Diocese. Inside the museum are introduced some services before absent as a reading room, a multimedia hall with coffee bar, and especially to make all services accessible to disabled people by an external ramp access to the museum, a lift-shaft to the first and second floor, a lifting platform for reaching the current health-hygienic services. The plant and structural adjustment for the access of disabled people, follow up the works of construction and furniture, designed according to what already cataloged and updated by the Superintendence to accommodate the works intended for a permanent exhibition and those that will follow one another after the restoration project assumed in the following project.
The designed museum itinerary follows two parallel logic: that of artistic and historical value of the manufactured articles, and that closely related to faith.
The purpose of the Diocesan Museum of Otranto, in addition to being mainly that to preserve worthily and in a manner usable the assets exposed in it, is to provide an information source for the history of the Cathedral and the historical Idruntine events, given the long lapse of time in which the manufactured articles are placed inside it, just think of the mosaic floor from the Roman Era found beneath the cathedral.
In this way it will carry out an another function: to contribute to the knowledge of the history of the art of the Salento where Otranto is deeply immersed. The Diocesan Museum contains principally stone artifacts from the 5th century to the 18th century, paintings from various epochs, sacred clothing, mitres, silvers. It was then designed a new exhibition of all the material according to a chronological order. This has involved a new distribution of the environments of the museum organized to welcome the visitor and to offer, in addition to informative and educational material, deepening spaces.
Most of the supports were designed according to the actual size of the same find taking up the already existing exposure scheme modifying the material of the support. The furnishings of the upper floors have narrowed down to what is strictly necessary for the observation of the paintings. On the top floor is expected a multimedia room equipped for internet access to other diocesan museums or to the same Lapidarium. (translated by Irene Bonifacino)