This year's major show at Villa Olmo has just closed and the number of visitors was exceedingly low. Only 17,000 instead of an expected (hoped for) 50,000 and nothing like last year's 92,000 for Brueghel.
This year the show was "The New City - beyond Sant'Elia". Quite frankly this was a specialized event appealing to architects, urban planners and the like. The suspicion in Como was that the new left wing administration in control of Como City Council wanted a "different" event to the blockbuster shows of previous years (see the list here - http://www.grandimostrecomo.it/archive). The good news is the administration may realize that Como needs a major show each year which is appealing to all visitors and is not frankly a niche show, no matter how important in its genre.
The administration has been accused as using it as a smokescreen to hid their failings regarding Villa Olmo but the proposal to request the Government to return the Casa del Fascio to the City of Como is potentially excellent news.
This building was designed by Giuseppe Terragni, one of the leaders of Italian rationalism (see - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_del_Fascio_%28Como%29). Many may have noticed this building on the other side of the railway line when standing by the Theatre/Opera House behind the Duomo. I do not believe many were drawn to see the permanent exhibition of the Italian Tax Police!
This would have been a much more appropriate location for the Sant'Elia show.
The best outcome would be for this to become a permanent exhibition of high quality contemporary art with occasional shows of a specialized nature.
For years I have been saying this is what should happen but what may seem logical or desirable in other locations may not have the same resonance in Italy and especially Como.
I am however an optimist!
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