New modern art museum for L'Aquila

Rome's MAXXI to manage L'Aquila contemporary art museum.

A new modern art museum is set to open in the Abruzzo capital L'Aquila, under the management of the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo (MAXXI), Rome's museum of 21st-century art.

The new museum will be housed at the Palazzo Ardinghelli which is currently undergoing a €1.5-million restoration, financed by Russia, following L'Aquila's devastating earthquake in April 2009.

Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini said that the 16th-century Palazzo Ardinghelli was originally destined to become the central office of the culture ministry, but will instead house a collection of contemporary art, comprising donations from "great international artists and institutions."

Located in Piazza S. Maria Paganica, the late Baroque building will be styled as the "L'Aquila MAXXI", according to Franceschini, who said the structure would contribute to the "process of rebirth and revaluation of the historic centre" of the city. L'Aquila is still recovering from the earthquake which claimed over 300 lives and caused widespread destruction of property, much of which remains under scaffolding six years later.

The new museum is one of the few recent signs of interest by Italy's government in the plight of the badly damaged Abruzzo capital.

The museum's announcement follows news that Italian energy supplier ENEL has joined MAXXI as a stakeholder, becoming the first private investor to join the foundation. The cutting-edge art institution, whose base in Flaminio was designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, is holding its annual fundraising dinner on 9 November, in the presence of Italian singer-songwriter Elisa and celebrity chef Carlo Cracco.

MAXXI hopes to raise extra funds to "enable as many people as possible to access culture, because culture is not a luxury but a necessity," according to the museum's president and former Italian culture minister Giovanna Melandri.