In Commachio in 2006 we were delighted to discover an exhibition of manhole covers in the town’s library and art gallery. Described as the International Manhole Museum, it displayed on special stands several dozen manholes from across Europe with a wide variety of designs. Returning a couple of years later we found that the Museum seemed to have vanished into thin air, but we have since discovered that the exhibition at Commachio was only temporary and the Museum is still alive and well in Ferrara.
International Manhole Museum display in Commachio, 2006
So Signor Bottoni is no stranger to grand and unusual ideas. He has been the artistic director of many other events in Ancona, Rome, Florence and elsewhere. In September 1998 he revealed to the world his latest idea. To quote from an article by Tommaso La Rocca, he aimed to follow his success with the buskers by "bringing to Ferrara other particular inhabitants of the same streets. They don’t sing, they don’t play and they don’t speak ... but someone has so much ennobled them as to call them “the souls of truth”, in the Italian film “Vacanze romane”, where the most ancient manhole cover in the world is remembered.
The exhibition was launched on 18th September 2004 in Ferrara, displaying manholes from all over the world, objects that are not usually considered as an artistic product but can “unveil to us traditions, culture and history”. Stefano Bottoni is collecting them with the same enthusiasm with which he has been pursuing his buskers, pestering mayors and town councils, embassies, tourist boards, engineers, architects, the foundries that produce these “trampled objects” and even the “unique world manhole researcher of Chinese and Irish cities Chen Jia Lee”.
Website: http://www.manholemuseum.it/ E-Mail: mailto:email@example.com