Genius or sacrilege? The scheme to give the Ciano Monument a comic-strip makeover

Caluri's Disney-look for the Mausoleo di Ciano Caluri's Disney-look for the Mausoleo di Ciano 20th October 2015
On 6th October Livornese cartoonist Daniele Caluri sparked a heated debate on his Facebook profile by proposing a Disneyesque facelift for a local monument, posting this realistic ‘demo image’ of the structure with its newlook comic-strip paintwork.

According to Caluri and many other supporters of the idea, the building is strongly reminiscent of the 'money bin' belonging to Disney’s Scrooge McDuck or Uncle Scrooge (Zio Paperone in Italian), a character from the Mickey Mouse comic books (‘Topolino’) which have always been extremely popular in Italy.

Mausoleo di Ciano, interior. Photo by Roberto Rubiliani Mausoleo di Ciano, interior. Photo by Roberto Rubiliani The monument in question - Il Mausoleo di Ciano - is a crumbling 12-metre-high brick eyesore sitting for all to see on the hillside to the south of the city, near Montenero. It was built to house the tombs of Costanzo Ciano and his family but was never completed. Ciano, who was born in Livorno in 1876, was a Captain in the Italian Navy and a member of the Italian Fascist Party. His son was famously married to Mussolini’s daughter Edda. The huge, unfinished statue of Ciano that was supposed to stand on top of the base, today lies abandoned on the island of Santo Stefano of the coast of Sardinia where it has been since 1943 (see photo here)

Past proposals for the monument’s redevelopment have included turning it into a hotel and incorporating it into a cemetery area, but none have ever been approved.

Uncle Scrooge's Money Bin Uncle Scrooge's Money Bin This new and rather bizarre scheme seems to have captured the local imagination, receiving 12000 ‘likes’ in just a few hours, prompting articles in the local and national press, and even a petition on change.com (which already has more than 5000 supporters).

What’s more, amid all the controversy between those who see the plan as a novel idea and those who consider it an insult to historical memory, Livorno’s mayor Filippo Nogarin has publicly declared his support for the project, claiming not only that he had already thought of the idea many years ago, but that he has also already contacted Disney regarding copyright!

Actually, it would not be the first time that a monument to Ciano has been recycled: a statue of him which was erected in Genoa during the Fascist era was later knocked down and, many years later, completely remodelled  to portray Pope John XXIII (see this article).

However, the restyling of a mausoleum into a real life comic strip image is a rather different issue and, as Caluri himself admits, getting permission for such a project from the Walt Disney Company and from the Italian Fine Arts Department will be very difficult indeed.