Jewish Heritage Europe

Update on the Museum of the Shoah in Rome

Photo courtesy Museo della Shoah

JHE coordinator Ruth Ellen Gruber writes that even though the project has been greenlighted, Rome is still at least three years away from having its Museum of the Shoah. The $30 million, city-funded museum, Italy’s first fullscale Holocaust museum, is to be built on the grounds of Villa Torlonia, Benito Mussolini’s residen from 1925-1943, and also the site of ancient Roman-era Jewish catacombs. It was first proposed in 2005.

Rome’s City Council approved final plans for the museum a year ago, but city funding was later blocked by government-imposed financial restrictions on municipal spending. The funds were freed up in December.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said that the final bureaucratic approval from local authorities was expected by the end of January. The city is expected to issue an international tender to construction firms and award a contract in the spring. […]

If all goes well, construction could begin this summer, but the museum would still not be completed for until 2016 or 2017.

The museum, which will cover 25,000 square feet, was designed by the architects Luca Zevi and Giorgio Tamburini. Zevi, whose mother, Tullia, served for years as head of the Italian Jewish community, has described the design as a “black box” — a huge flattened cube that will bear the names of Italian Holocaust victims. Inside will be a permanent exhibit as well as an archive, library, conference hall and facilities for research and education.