Journey to Universities among art, culture and science

Fostering knowledge and culture in all their forms is the strong goal that we have been pursuing for a long time now to generate social inclusion and counter the inequalities that afflict part of our society.

Journey to Universities

Intesa Sanpaolo invests and supports the economy by underpinning social cooperation and by helping cities and territories to enhance their history and their social composition. Assisting them to express themselves and innovate by giving space to new geographies and new economies that make them attractive for the companies which settle there, creating work, prosperity and balance between generations.
Promoting knowledge, culture, innovation and development is also the strong objective of Universities and the academic world.
Common goals that have given concrete form to many partnerships aimed at spreading expressions of culture, art, science and technology as a means of improving the quality of life and social cohesion, ensuring growth and development to the younger generations.
There are many areas of collaboration, many initiatives, many Bank units and many partner universities. Initiatives and projects of value that deserve to be told out there, and that is why today we are starting a journey that we will call Journey to the Universities. A journey that will unfold in the upcoming months, and which from time to time will bring forward the story of partnerships relating to specific areas such as art, sustainability, tech and finance, social area, risk and cyber security and other international collaborations. 

Journey to Universities: Art, Culture and Historical Heritage

In the field of Art, Culture and Historical Heritage, we have many projects and initiatives in partnership with many Italian universities about giving back to the community the artistic heritage, art education, didactic experimentation and the enhancement of art history. Each collaboration makes it clear how art can generate individual benefits, such as self-esteem and empowerment, but also foster relational dynamics, as well as the development of physical places such as museums and cultural districts.
We think, in fact, that knowledge of artistic and cultural heritage generates a sense of belonging, social cohesion and inclusion, as well as satisfying the individual need for beauty and the related right to enjoy it. 
Simplifying the definition, we think that art is an act of unique and inimitable creation, an act of individual identity that brings together the past, present and future of the community as well, generating works to which we want to guarantee the right of access to all, creating dedicated conditions and opportunities, including the possibility of approaching the artists and the history of so many masterpieces and historical assets.

Collaboration between University and School Relations, the Art, Culture and Historical Heritage Department and several prestigious Italian Universities has resulted in numerous initiatives and projects of great interest.


Collaboration with important universities is of vital importance for the management of our collections and for strengthening the cultural offer of the Gallerie d'Italia.The exchange with the academic world guarantees that our projects – whether are they temporary exhibitions, permanent exhibitions or individual cultural initiatives - are being constantly updated on a scientific level.
In addition, relations with universities allow us to extend the access of our museums and collections to university lecturers and students so to encourage dialogue not only with the cultural but also with the productive ecosystem of the areas where we are present".

Silvia Foschi, Head of Historical and Artistic Heritage and Cultural Activities


University of Bologna - the Restitution project

The Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna is the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088. The rich and long history of the University of Bologna has contributed to the creation of an enormous artistic and historical-cultural heritage collected and preserved in 8 Museums and 6 Art and Scientific Collections, as well as in the Historical Archive and the Historical Library.
Already in the past, the collaboration with the University has enabled the restoration of important works, such as the two 16th century tapestries depicting episodes of the Trojan War made in Brussels, or the three precious Dante codices dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, such as the Raccolta di rime dedicated to Giovanni II Bentivoglio (Codex Isoldiano) and the cantos of the Divine Comedy, some with Latin commentary and vernacular commentary, and others with Latin commentary, taken from the commentary by Benvenuto da Imola - belonging to the University Library.
The restoration of the latter takes on particular significance in this year dedicated to Dante, while the work on the tapestries has made it possible to reconstruct totally unexpected stories and paths, ranging from the vicissitudes of a unique work dismembered and dispersed on the international market in past centuries to those of its collector, who lives the American dream thanks to the studies he made in Bologna and rewards the city with the gift of his marvelous art collection

University of Padua - Attic and Magna Graecia Vases

"Universa universis patavina libertas", this is the motto that distinguishes the University of Padua and the spirit of freedom of culture and expression that drove a group of students and lecturers to leave the University of Bologna to found it in 1222.
The collaboration with the Department of Cultural Heritage, Archaeology, History of Art, Cinema and Music of the University of Padua concerns the project to enhance the collection of Attic and Magna Graecia ceramics kept in the exhibition spaces of the Gallerie d'Italia of Palazzo Leoni Montanari, the Bank's museum in Vicenza.
This cooperation includes the Vicenza Galleries in the wider MemO Project that the University has been carrying out for years, with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Padova e Rovigo, for the study, promotion and digitalization of the archaeological collections in the museums of the Veneto region. It also includes a series of integrated initiatives for the creation of exhibition-dossiers, new workshops and didactic and educational activities in the archaeological field, as well as seminars and lectures for both the wider public and the students of the University.
Finally, it also covers the participation at the International Winter School, in which Aarhus University (Denmark) and the University of Thessaly (Greece) will also take part in 2021.

Ca' Foscari University - CSAR and Torcello Lapidary Heritage

Ca' Foscari University was founded in 1868 as the Scuola Superiore di Commercio. Since its foundation, its historical seat has been in the heart of Venice on the Grand Canal in a beautiful gothic palace in volta de canal, already of great artistic value.
The collaboration with this University concerns the three-year project related to the collection of Russian icons that we own - one of the most important preserved in the West. The Centre for the Study of the Arts of Russia (CSAR) is collaborating on the project.
The partnership has already resulted in several international initiatives. These include the exhibition Kandinsky, Gončarova, Chagall - Sacred and Beauty in Russian Art - held in 2019-20 at the Gallerie d'Italia in Vicenza and focused on the theme of the sacred in Russian art between the 19th and 20th centuries, in parallel with Symbolist trends in Western European art. In particular, the exhibition proposed a modern interpretation of some selected icons from our collection, placed in dialogue with 20th century masterpieces from other museums such as the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg.
Many other initiatives have accompanied this exhibition, all of which have been carried out with the involvement of undergraduates and doctoral students trained ad hoc, and designed to bring students from the Cafoscarina community, as well as from secondary schools, closer to the exhibition.
A new museum itinerary permanently dedicated to Russian icons will soon open on the ground floor of Palazzo Leoni Montanari, again in collaboration with CSAR. This is an immersive multimedia space capable of taking the visitor into the intense and evocative dimension of the Orthodox churches, where the icons are exhibited according to criteria that enhance their original meaning, renewing their message thanks to a direct comparison with contemporary art.
Finally, we have underpinned the research project to restore the Torcello's lapidary heritage damaged by salt water.

Galleries and Museums: places of learning

There are many other initiatives designed to bring young people to the museum and to bring the museum institution into universities. Many workshops, seminars and experiential laboratories dedicated to students who have explored and deepened the classic themes of the museum activity: reception techniques, planning and setting up of exhibitions, cataloguing of works, promotion of the event in the media, websites and pages, creation of virtual tours. So many opportunities to develop a mix of skills - support skills, creation and design skills, technical skills, marketing and teaching skills. 

All this nurture and falls under the wider Culture project that the Bank has been working on for years.

Culture project

Art is art if it is shared and disseminated. In fact, our Progetto Cultura aims to make art available to the community accompanying it into its various expressions.

"Over the years, Intesa Sanpaolo's Progetto Cultura has built up a heritage of relationships by working with major museums, universities and cultural institutions in Italy and around the world, according to a deep-rooted sharing logic and collaboration.The dialogue between different skills, professionalism and sensibilities allows us to expand and deepen the story of our art collections, acknowledging their value, beauty and benefits with increasingly new ways. Even more so in this historic moment, it is important to come together to enhance Italy's cultural resources, a key factor to social development and country’s re-launch.

Michele Coppola - Executive Director Art, Culture and Historical Heritage

Even here, interaction with the academic world is productive. In fact, thanks to the collaboration with the Almed High School of the Catholic University of Milan, the international platform The Case Centre has recognised the excellence of the Culture Project. The case Cultural Assets The Culture Project of Intesa Sanpaolo has been included in the Strategy and General Management category, an important recognition.

The events and spaces in which art and culture are exhibited are a place of personal, collective and social growth, which is why they are of great importance in the education and social inclusion of citizens.
Investing in culture means making information and knowledge available, capable of creating connections and opportunities for dialogue with the various stakeholders, inside and outside the company, producing value for oneself and for the community. The collaborations described here, all of which were carried out with the active and proactive involvement of students and young experts, have encouraged widespread access to beauty. Doing this is part of our mission of civilisation.

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Intesa Sanpaolo for education

Here are some initiatives that we support to spread education and knowledge, guarantee the right to study and support research and businesses in the country