The Fondazione Ermitage Italia was inaugurated at Ferrara on 20 October 2007, in the presence of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, as Italian “branch” of the prestigious Museum of Saint Petersburg.
The Russian Museum has chosen Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna as its permanent base in Italy, with a view to undertaking important Italian-Russian projects encompassing research, study, exchange and artistic production.
Research and cultural Center – the magnificent Castello Estense has been chosen as Ermitage Italia’s official home whereas operational base and guest-rooms are in Parco Giglioli area – Ermitage Italia will be animated by a different spirit from the other foreign branches of the Museum at London, Amsterdam, Las Vegas and Kazan. A spirit deriving from Ferrara’s great historical and cultural tradition, from its artistic ferment, from both reasons Unesco has ascribed the City on its World Heritage List.
A project thet began in 2005 when the Province of Ferrara eagerly put forward the city’s candidacy. This was followed by meetings beetween representatives of Ferrara and the Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky. On 4 October 2006 he announced, “after lengthy and profound reflection” that “Italian branch of the Hermitage should be established in Ferrara”.
An extraordinary opportunity for Ferrara to be the reference point between Italian and Russian relationships: Ermitage Italia is considered one of the most important cultural projects of the two governments. Indeed it was put into the Italian-Russian summit in Bari on 14 March 2007 when was signed the Protocol of Intent between the Hermitage and Ferrara institutions in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
An important center devoted to study and research aimed to favour comprehension and conservation of the world cultural patrimony and training of scientific and technical staff – Russian and Italian – in the fields of restoration, conservation, managing and development of works of art.