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Venice, the Vatican Chapels reopen to music

An app and a soundtrack will accompany visitors as they explore the woods of the Fondazione Cini

While the Covid emergency has forced the organizers to postpone the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale curated by Hashim Sarkis, one of the pavilions from the previous edition remains alive with its own vitality and music. The 10 Vatican Chapels, symbols of the Holy Seat’s first participation in the 2018 event, since 2019 have become part of the permanent collection of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.

This suggestive installation, embedded in the forest, promoted at the time by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi,

Cover album Vatican Chapels

President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and curated by Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forte, was inspired by the “Woodland Chapel” by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund, built in 1920 in the cemetery of Stockholm. Ten small chapels were commissioned to be designed by ten great architects – from Norman Foster to Terunobu Fujimori – to, in the words of the Fondazione Cini, «stimulate reflection and a comparative dialogue about the different religions and spiritual traditions».

The particularly suggestive nature of these chapels has led them towards another field of artistic expression: music. The result is Vatican Chapels – A Soundtrack Experience, a soundtrack for the chapels, commissioned by Ilaria D’Uva – a Florentine entrepreneur who manages the guided tours of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and the forest where the chapels were built, and is also one of the producers of the album – to the noted musician and composer Antonio Fresa, the author of award-winning soundtracks for film and television. Eleven tracks in all, one for each chapel, plus the eleventh dedicated to the entry pavilion, the Asplund Pavilion designed by the Venetian MAP Studio (Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel). A construction that Fresa, in speaking of his inspiration, described as follows:

«the piece dedicated to the Asplund Pavilion works on harmonic reminiscences, timbric echoes that refer to the distance between the chapel and the places of civilization».

©Terunobu Fujimori

The music, composed almost entirely for strings and piano, will be included in the audio guide that accompanies visitors on their exploration of the Fondazione’s woods, and may be downloaded with an app that allows visitors to reserve the tour and enjoy other experiences, including food, in a special all-around immersive experience, to discover the beauty of this place.




Furthermore, starting June 26th, when the Vatican Chapels open back up to the public after being closed for three months for the Covid emergency, the soundtrack will be available on all the digital streaming and download platforms.

The San Giorgio Café con Filippo La Mantia will also reopen at this time: the café-restaurant on the island of San Giorgio will also be the venue for new initiatives linked to the Vatican Chapels.


translation by Olga Barmine

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