Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Insanity Museum & the Clock Tower Drops Its Veil

Our Friends at Buongiorno Venezia had a lot of good (i.e., weird) news. Here's two for you:

From "BUONGIORNO VENEZIA - The News from Venice" published fortnightly by VENICEWORD
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SERVICES in Venice, Italy - 22 May 2006

A museum devoted to insanity -- or the treatment of it -- was inaugurated on 20 May in the island of S. Servolo, which is in the stretch of the lagoon between Venice and the Lido and, for 300 years, housed a mental hospital. The name of the museum is "Museum of the Psychiatric Hospital of S. Servolo. The secluded madness". It's divided into different sectors, with a historic introductory section that shows the main curative methods of past centuries, such as chains, straitjackets, handcuffs, and the equipment used for the electroshock treatment, an Italian invention that was first used on this island in 1938. There are also, from the early years of the 20th-Century, some very rare plethysmographs: the first, primitive lie detectors.

The restoration work on the Clock Tower in St. Mark's Square has ended, and on Saturday 27 May there will be a great fete to celebrate the event. At midnight, the veil that now covers it will fall, and the Moors -- silent for ten years -- will welcome the new day by tolling 132 times. At the last toll, a brilliant display of fireworks will light the tower. The producer of the event, Venetian Marco Balich, was also the artistic director of the opening and closing ceremonies at the Turin Winter Olympics. A few hours before, beginning at 8:30 p.m., actors, acrobats, and jugglers will liven up the scene, and the feast's Patroness will be actress Claudia Cardinale.

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