Monica Preti is the head of Academic Programs in History of Art and Archaeology at the Auditorium du musée du Louvre. From 2000 to 2005, she was Researcher at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris. Her research explores the relationship between art and literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the history of taste, as well as the history of collections and museums from the eighteenth century through the twentieth century.
Among the different kinds of historic house museums, writers’ homes are nowadays regarded as particularly successful. This project focuses on the historical roots of this phenomenon, observed through a specific case study: that of Ludovico Ariosto’s house, the first to be opened to the public in Italy, in 1812. The book will be structured in four parts: the first chapter will deal with the topic of writers’ houses in Europe (from the first references, such as Petrarch’s house in Arquà, to the countless examples found throughout the nineteenth century). The second chapter will focus on the building history of the parva domus: a task that Ariosto passionately undertook to transform his dwelling into a place of meditative and poetical activity. The third chapter will consider the revival of the house at the turn of nineteenth century, in the wake of the Risorgimento and its cult of national glories. The last chapter will be devoted to the celebrations organized for the fourth centenary of the poet’s death in 1933, under fascism. From literary myth to a stop on the Grand Tour, from national monument to tourist attraction: this development seems to evoke a common fate shared by many other landmarks of Italian cultural heritage.