In June, 2011, during the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy the grand restoration of the San Martino Tower was inaugurated. It was co-financed by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and by the French CNP Assurance. In addition to the restoration of the Tower, a new interactive multimedia room has been created in the adjacent Museum, dedicated not only for educational purposes but also for the general public visiting the museum; this new building allows one to experience the most important moments of the battle through a multi-projection system where the principal phases of the war event are recalled. The main settings of the battle that took place on June 24th 1859 are showcased on a large white abstract scale model through the projection of images, info-graphics, lights and special effects in order to pinpoint the most relevant episodes and movements of the troops. At the same time, on the wall above, the phases of the battle are narrated through an original and evocative film re-enactment.
The underlying idea that supports this restoration initiative is in the outfitting project: to have the spectators personally experience an event occurred 150 years ago through an “engaging and embracing visual experience”. The story is told by a witness, Pier Carlo Boggio, who experienced first-hand the events of 1859 and who recounts in less than 10 minutes the history of the Battle of Solferino and San Martino; he makes use of the astonishing images of the numerous paintings of the “war painters”, including Fattori, Bossoli, Ademollo and Induno, which are projected onto a multiscreen wall. Videos and animated battle simulations remind us of one of the fundamental moments of the Italian Risorgimento and take us straight back to the battlefield, allowing us to get to know a story that a white tunic in a showcase or an autographed letter on display themselves wouldn’t be able to tell us.