Lapidarium Palazzo Venezia

Design for the layout of the Lapidarium in the Museum of  Palazzo Venezia in Rome

TYPES: Culture
YEAR: 2006
CLIENT: Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities – Superintendence of the Museum Centre of the City of Rome
ACTIVITIES: Preliminary and final design, working drawings
AREA: 270 sqm

The new Lapidarium of the Museum of Palazzo Venezia, displayed at the higher level of the fifteenth century cloister of the Palazzetto di Venezia, is an initiative of the Superintendence of the Museum Centre of the City of Rome. The Lapidarium orders a vast number of historical relics, above all fragments from the Roman, Medieval and Renaissance periods, that were once spread out in the gardens and under the loggia of the Palazzo. In the new exhibition they are finally given a comprehensive historical meaning.
The Lapidarium of the Museum of Palazzo Venezia is located inside the cloister of the Palazzetto, in the space of the ancient “viridarium”, once a secret garden belonging to the apartments of Pope Barbo.
The intention is to offer visitors a complex varied experience, typical of a contemporary approach. The exhibition quality is strongly but not exclusively influenced by modern elements. About 120 relics let the cloister of the Palazzetto be a real open-air “room”, a new “room” in the Museum of Palazzo Venezia.
The loggia containing the new Lapidarium is approximately three meters wide and forty meters length. The view of the tree-filled courtyard at the ground floor is protected by a parapet of eighty centimeters high on which it lies a colonnade supporting a flat wooden roof. The rhythm of the colonnade regulates both the floor pattern and the frame of the main beams.
The order and regularity of the loggia is juxtaposed with the apparently casual division of the four walls enclosing the interior of the portico, where the new Lapidarium is displayed.
The main entrance opens onto the Loggia through a simple door communicating with the porcelains room.
An e-luminescent information panel provides general information and didactic sequences about the Lapidarium, on its origins and about the organizational criteria of the exhibition.
The relics are hanging on the wall or lying on the floor. The lighting system increases the value of the singular unique fragments, enhancing their tactile aspects and surfaces, while diffusing an indirect light in the loggia which homogenizes and unifies the fragmentary sequence of the pieces.