Sgarbi’s “Madness” in Pietrasanta, Naples

NAPLES – The press conference to present the exhibition “Museo della Follia, from Goya to Maradona” by Vittorio Sgarbi will be held tomorrow, Saturday 2 December, at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. An itinerant exhibition that, starting from December 3rd and until next May 27th, will be held in the historic Neapolitan monumental complex recently listed as a UNESCO site. The Agency Dire, on the eve of the exhibition that will host over 200 “pieces” dedicated – in the words of its curator, to “men and women like us, but unlucky, humiliated, isolated and still alive in the incredulous despair of their looks” – met Raffaele Iovine, president of the Pietrasanta Cultural Center.

“Our association – explains Iovine – was founded in 2011, by me and a group of friends, professionals, entrepreneurs, who came together because attracted by this beautiful monument, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Together we presented to the Diocese of Naples a project to enhance the complex”. In fact, he continues, “of the Pietrasanta complex, the Chapels, the Bell Tower, and the Piazzetta, we have been taking care for many years: at least since 2000, when I and other friends decided to invest in the historical center  of Naples and we have understood, with the love and the passion for this city, that it was necessary to start a project of recovery, of protection, of valorization of this beautiful complex “.

Today, after five years of work, a very long administrative process and an important dialogue with the superintendences, the Basilica is about to reopen with projects that Iovine defines as “extraordinary” and that will go well beyond the individual exhibitions. “Last year we hosted one, curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, the Hidden Treasures, while on Saturday we inaugurate the second, The Museum of Madness”.


Monumental complex of Pietrasanta, beyond the exhibitions

But the treasures hidden in the monumental complex go far beyond what visitors can already admire thanks to the recent restorations carried out. There are still the immense undergrounds and the crypt to admire and make available. This is why the president continues, “we have entrusted a Neapolitan company, Phantasya, with a project for the enhancement of the Basilica, the crypt and the fantastic underground environment. In fact, from the Basilica, we have access to one of the largest cavities in the entire historic center, from where the route of the Greco-Roman aqueduct begins. We are going to present an extraordinary and truly unique product to the city “. Of particular interest is the Renaissance temple, the Pontano Chapel, one of the rare examples of this kind throughout the city of Naples.

Pietrasanta monumental complex, public / private success

“One of the reasons for the success of Pietrasanta’s project – underlines Iovine – is certainly in the relationship between public and private that we have been able to create. On the one hand, a group of private individuals who have invested significant resources, risking their own capital, on the other, the UNESCO – which recognizes the city and the historic center as a common heritage – that has financed the historical recovery of some paintings, of the altar and other elements of the Basilica. It is necessary for the monuments to be reopened to the citizens, to make them known and valued again. The bet is to do it with the help of private figures. The state, the national, regional or European public figures, can not by themselves guarantee a modern use. The task of achieving, if they believe in it, a great cultural enterprise is for entepreneurs”.

Monumental complex of Pietrasanta, a future to be written

In the future of the site we see a large multi-screen of cultures, where “great events, exhibitions, concerts, conferences and book presentations can coexist” with a project of great valorisation – because enhancement means knowledge – and fruition of the whole complex, making use of the most modern technologies. A project – concludes Iovine – which is addressed to the Neapolitans,  the first kind of tourist in the city, and to the young people, for the educational purposes of the tour. The goal is to make known the complex thanks to the use of multimedia technologies and create a great experience to live “.


9:30–6:00, Lunedì - Domenica

Sede operativa

Piazzetta Pietrasanta 17-18 - 80138 Napoli

Sede Legale

Via Mario De Ciccio 18 - 80127 Napoli

P.IVA / C.F.


L’Associazione Pietrasanta ETS porta avanti il progetto di valorizzazione di un bene di interesse storico-architettonico e archeologico ai sensi dell’art.10, comma 1 del D.Lgs. 22 gennaio 2004, n.42, Decreti Mibac n. 25421/2013 e n.2196/2014.