The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 11

After opening to an avalanche of controversy in spring, Italy's first Museum of Eroticism failed to arouse the Venetian public's interest and has had to close. The museum, which was housed at Palazzo Rota, a four-story site near to St. Mark's Square, survived less than seven months.

The news will not upset the local church, which led protests against such "vulgarity" going on show a few steps away from the city's most holy site, St Mark's Basilica. Organizers countered that there was nothing sordid about the 2,000 examples of "quality erotic art" on display. They blame the flop on soaring costs and a lack of support from the provincial tourism board in marketing the new attraction.

The museum played host to all forms of erotic art, including sculpture, painting, photography, literature, graphic novels, posters and films. There were objects documenting the history of sexual habits over the centuries and a section looking at the activities of brothels in the Lagoon City up to the 1950s.

Naturally plenty of space was devoted to Venice's most famous amorous adventurer, Giovanni Casanova, and the influence he had on erotic art. Much of the material is being sent back to the highly successful Paris Museum of Eroticism, which had loaned the works to the Venice institution.