(by Barbara Paloschi).
(ANSAmed) - TURIN - The director of Turin's Egyptian Museum aims to focus on research and attracting visitors to breathe new life into it after a 50-million-euro renovation. Egyptologist and newly-appointed museum director Christian Greco said that he aimed to ''make Turin an obligatory stop for anyone with an interest in ancient Egypt'' and that he wanted a ''live, living museum'' at his first public speech alongside Mayor Piero Fassino and the head of the Fondazione Antichità Egizie, Evelina Christillin.
''Putting research first and periodically communicating discoveries,'' he said, ''will foster fidelity and increase visitors.'' Greco noted that when he was 12, on seeing the Pyramids for the first time, he told his mother that he wanted to be an Egyptologist. He is now 39 and directs the second most important Egyptian museum in the world, which chose him out of 101 candidates through an international competition. After spending 17 years outside of Italy he has now become part of the country's 'brain drain' that have decided to make their way back. Prior to the appointment, Greco was heading up one of the most important Egyptian collections in Europe in the Dutch city of Leiden. The new director expressed concern over cuts to spending on culture underway in Italy.
''The situation is difficult in Italy but it is so also abroad. Last year there was a 20% cut in Leiden and we survived by organizing traveling exhibitions outside of the Netherlands.
I intend to do the same here,'' he said. ''The museum has many secrets to reveal. We will hold two shows per year, trying to exhibit as much as we can of a collection of some 30,000 pieces, only a small part of which is permanently on display.'' Greco will be aided in this by the doubling of the surface area of the museum to 12,000 square meters and the plan to create visible storage rooms and restoration of finds under the eyes of visitors. In 2006, the year the Winter Olympic Games were held in Turin, the Egyptian Museum saw an 86% increase to 500,000 visitors, and since then has continued to see rising numbers of ticket sales. The ambitious aim of the new director is to make what was written by French scholar and decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs Jean-Francois Champollion in 1824 true once more: ''The road to Memphis and Thebes passes through Turin''. (ANSAmed).