Ethnographic Museum ‘Giovanni Podenzana’, La Spezia
The Ethnographic Museum named after Giovanni Podenzana (1863-1943), is one of the most ancient departments of the La Spezia City Museum founded in 1873.
At the beginning, the museum collection (mainly natural history items such as shells, zoophytes, fishes and crustacean) was displayed in two rooms of the City Theatre. Later on, archaeological items, found during the building of the Naval Base, were added.
In 1887, the Museum Charter established that the aim of the Institution was to collect and preserve natural history, archaeological and historical items.
In 1875, the Museum was moved to a building in Corso Cavour and, in the following years, the collection was increased. In 1884, Giovanni Podenzana started to work as museum taxidermist; he became curator in 1891 and natural history department director in 1923. Since 1884, the Director was Davide Carazzi, physiologist and naturalist, which obtained a better place for the Museum: the ground floor of the primary school in via don Minzoni. Carazzi was succeeded by Ubaldo Mazzini and the Museum became highly renowned. During those years, Giovanni Podenzana started to build an ethnographic collection that was enlarged by other donations in the following decades.
In 1905, the Museum was moved inside the Crozza Palace in Corso Cavour. Immediately before the beginning of the Second World War, the City inaugurated a new building and started to move there the collections. Unfortunately, in 1943, the new Museum was bombed and part of the collection destroyed. After the war the Museum was again displayed in the Crozza Palace and, from 1975, in the building located in via Curtatone, 9.
In the 1990s, being Director Marzia Ratti, the city of La Spezia undertook museum renewal and the historical ethnographic collections were definitely displayed in the building once Oratory named after St. Bernardino from Siena.
Find out more about the history of the Podenzana Museum on their Website.