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View of Castello di Rivoli.
View of Castello di Rivoli.

Italy’s Castello di Rivoli Museum to Serve as Covid-19 Vaccination Center

Castello di Rivoli, near Turin, will open its vast galleries as a Covid-19 vaccination center, becoming the first museum in Italy to do so. The institution is partnering with Rivoli city health authorities in support of Italy’s organized effort to vaccinate its citizens against the virus that to date has sickened 2.3 million and killed 80,000 in the country. 

Officials at Castello di Rivoli, which occupies the Savoy royal palace, came up with the idea of offering up their third-floor gallery for the vaccination process after realizing that the 10,000-plus-square foot space was ideal for the purpose, with plenty of room for a socially distanced waiting room, vaccine booths, and a comfortable post-vaccine monitoring area. The institution is additionally climate-controlled and equipped with thermo-scanners to determine whether those entering have a fever. The museum’s guards will be available to safely guide visitors into, within, and out of the building.

Art lovers won’t be disappointed either: Currently occupying the gallery are a set of murals by Swiss contemporary artist Claudia Comte, which visitors can view during the vaccination process.

“Art has always helped, healed, and cured—indeed, some of the first museums in the world were hospitals,” said Castello di Rivoli director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in a statement. “Now we are repaying the favor, so to speak, and opening Castello di Rivoli’s galleries for the vaccine effort. Our museum—in a baroque palazzo—is well-equipped for this. We have enough space for a safe, socially distanced vaccine center, and our friendly guides are well trained in monitoring the public. But beyond that, we—and all public museums—are committed to creating an accessible, pluralistic space to serve our community. Even while our exhibitions are closed, our buildings can continue to serve this purpose and fulfill our mission: Arte cura—art helps.”

Following Castello di Rivoli’s initiative, Cultural Italiae, a group of Italian cultural leaders, took up the idea and have proposed a national campaign to reopen the nation’s shuttered cultural spaces as healthcare places for its citizens to receive the vaccine.