The Mole Antonelliana is a towering building located in Turin, Italy. It is currently a museum for Italy’s National Museum for Cinema. It is noted for its 121-meter high dome and spire. It is also considered as the world’s tallest museum.
Mole Antonelliana History
The Mole Antonelliana was first conceived as a synagogue for the Jewish community in the city in the mid-1800. They planned to construct a synagogue for Turin, which at that time was considered as the capital of the new Italian state, a position the city held only for four years from 1860-1864. During that time, the Jewish community wanted to build a building fitting for a capital city. They requested for the services of Italian architect Antonio Antonelli to build a synagogue on a budget of 250,000 lire, to which Antonelli agreed to build for 280,000.
Over the course of the project, the relationship between Antonelli and the Jewish community become strained. Antonelli proposed some modifications that increased the cost of the construction as well as lengthen the time to finish the building, which the Jewish community did not like to hear. Prior to the halt, Turin’s status as the nation’s capital ceased in 1864, with the distinction transferred to Florence. During this time, the Jewish community in the city shrank whereas the mounting costs of building the synagogue continued to rise. Construction of the building was stopped in 1869 with the building made only with a provisional roof. The community, already spending 692,000 lire on an unfinished building eventually announced in 1876 that it is withdrawing from the project.
The people of Turin who have seen the building go up did not want the building incomplete. So they demanded the city to take over the project. The city did with an arrangement with the Jewish community to acquire the property in exchange for another piece of land. Construction on the building resumed until the building was completed in 1889.
Mole Antonelliana Then And Now
The Mole Antonelliana was initially dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the king of Italy, when the city took over the construction of the building. From 1908 to 1938, the city used the Mole to house the Museum of the Risorgimento. From 2000 until today, the Mole houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema or the National Museum of Cinema.