venerdì 24 gennaio 2014

Istituto Europeo visits Palazzo Coppini, International Meeting and Study Center

by Louisa Loring

Palazzo Coppini, home to the Fondazione Romualdo Del BiancoLife Beyond Tourism, is more than a center for cultural exchange and workshops but also, a testimony to Florence’s stamp on architecture throughout the ages.  This Palazzo is the perfect place to get hands-on experience and see true examples of various architectural periods in Florence outside the classroom.  This week, Istituto Europeo visited Palazzo Coppini with a group of architecture students for a guided tour to experience just one of Florence’s many testimonies of artistic and cultural change.

The palazzo is rich with structural and decorative elements of both the Medieval and Renaissance period in Florence, making it of specific interest.  In touring the Palazzo, it became clear the many aspects that make this place particular such as the tower remaining from the medieval period before it was cut short in accordance with the 1250 law stating that no tower may top the highest point of any government building.  The palazzo was later restructured during the Renaissance time, which can be noted in the helical stone staircase, and the fountain marked by the Mannerist ‘Grotesque’ style.  Palazzo Coppini proves to be rich in various elements, testifying to the changes in Florentine architecture throughout the centuries for our students to study hands on while in Florence. 

Today, the palazzo has opened its doors to universities and institutions from all over the world, such as ourselves, to promote exchange between different cultures.  The Foundation, which was created after the fall of the Berlin Wall to encourage communication and conviviality, aims to promote cultural dialogue by inviting institutions, organizations, associations and businesses to make Palazzo Coppini home to events and various workshops, proposed and executed by students.  Throughout the years, the Foundation has successfully created a network of over 500 institutions in over 76 countries.  Through these various workshops and events, the Foundation helps to create and maintain mutual respect in the world while highlighting the differences in cultures that are slowly disappearing due to the ‘melting pot’ phenomenon while emphasizing the idea of coming together, learning, and working together to form new ideas and learn new things.

In fact, tradition has been shaped to illustrate these cultural differences amongst us in the form of a small museum which Palazzo Coppini houses. To them, this museum is a museum of friendship as it reflects the relationships between Italy and other countries. By tradition, everyone who comes to the palazzo brings a gift from their country that represents a part of them, whether it is a book, or tea set or a fine liquor. In this way, each room is beautifully decorated with treasures from all over the world, including over 600 books, all testimonies to this leading effort in cultural integration at Palazzo Coppini.


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