Florence is known to be the “cradle of the Renaissance”. But it is also the central place in the history of the Italian language. From Dante Alighieri to Alessandro Manzoni the most important years of Italian literature were characterized by the “question of language”. From the “De vulgari eloquentia” of which the great poet spoke in his homonymous work, to the famous phrase of Manzoni who arrived in the city to “rinse the clothes in the Arno” and revise the language of his famous novel “I promessi sposi”. Why this long premise?
To explain that the Florentine capital could host the Museum of the Italian language. What until recently was only a utopia is now becoming reality. There is the approval of many linguists and writers, but above all of the government which has allocated 4.5 million euros to carry out the project.
The museum of the Italian language in Santa Maria Novella
And it is no coincidence that the location that will host the Museum of the Italian language was also chosen. It will be a wing of the Santa Maria Novella complex that played a decisive role in Dante‘s studies and in his “Divine Comedy”. In the idea of the government and the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini, times will be short. 2021 is the year in which the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death occurs and there will be many celebrations. The museum should therefore be completed within a short time.
Clarifications of Minister Franceschini for the project on the museum of the Italian language
The museum of the Italian language “finds its natural location in the Tuscan capital”, clarified Minister Franceschini in recent weeks. “In the city – he added – where the Accademia della Crusca has been located since 1583, the oldest linguistic academy in the world. Creating a museum of the language is an idea proposed by many important Italianists and it has not been abandoned since the great exhibition on the Italian language was inaugurated in 2003 at the Uffizi in Florence. This project will be carried out on the eve of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Dante‘s death”. A tribute to Dante, therefore, a tribute from Italy and Florence to the great poet.
And it will be a technological museum, where young people and schools will find space for study and deepening. It will be a conservative, educational, engaging museum, capable of interacting with many other museums in Italy and around the world. Not a static museum but an interactive and widespread one, to offer visitors many tools to learn about the Italian language. A place that is for cultural dissemination of the heritage of our language.
The project for the museum
From community of intent to financing: now the project is moving towards realization. In fact, the design of it will be dealt with by a National Commission, which was set up at the ministry and which is led by Luca Serianni. It also includes experts and representatives from the Accademia della Crusca, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Accademia dei Lincei, ASLI, the Association for the history of the Italian language and Treccani. The exhibition “Where the yes sounds” created by the Dante Alighieri Society at the Uffizi Museum in Florence, under the direction of Luca Serianni in 2003, gave a strong impulse to the creation of the museum of the Italian language. It was replicated at the National Museum of Zurich and in itinerant form in many Italian and foreign cities.
Petition initiated by experts and linguists for the museum
The museum of the Italian language strongly desired also by a crowd of writers, linguists, men of culture. Last year the linguist Giuseppe Antonelli had launched a petition to Minister Franceschini to build a museum. A structure that united institutions such as the Accademia della Crusca, the Dante Alighieri Society, the Accademia dei Lincei, the Association for the History of the Italian Language, the Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia Treccani. And the petition was supported by four thousand people, with illustrious signatures from literature and culture.
For the record, it should also be emphasized that some opinion against this project had emerged. But the idea of a museum that would collect the history of our language has found common ground even among young people. The Italian language must be defended and protected. Welcome a museum that tells its genesis, its history, and becomes a point of reference for future generations.