Italian Cultural Institute Shares Its Treasures in Prague

The chapel of the Italian Cultural Institute offers a gorgeous setting for concerts.

The chapel of the Italian Cultural Institute offers a gorgeous setting for concerts.

When you think of impressive concert halls in Prague, don’t overlook the Baroque Chapel tucked away on Šporkova street in Malá Strana.

The Baroque Chapel of the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague is a treasure trove of artistic beauty, offering music, art exhibitions, and more.

The Italian Cultural Institute has a long history of hosting classical music concerts, usually featuring an Italian guest, often performing with Czech accompanists. For example, Italian pianist Carlo Grante delivered an impressive concert (at The Rudolfinum) last spring.

However, “We are more involved in the implementation of other concerts held by other institutions,” explains Dr Lea Šupová of the Institute’s Music Section. “The cooperation consists mostly in granting of patronage, helping with event promotion, or providing financial support.”

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

Bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo

For example, on Mar 13 popular Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo will present a program of Verdi arias at The Municipal House at 7:30 pm. The concert features the PFK – Prague Philharmonia, this time conducted by Francesco Ciampa.

The Baroque Chapel

In a more practical vein, just around the corner The Italian Cultural Institute also houses its offices, conference rooms, library, and lecture facilities, and often offers Italian language courses, all in its beautifully updated facilities.

But for a trip to the glorious, historic Baroque, a visit to the chapel perched on hilly Šporková street at the bus stop of the same name is just the ticket. You might be surprised to learn its story:

Italian Cultural Institute

The entrance to the Baroque Chapel

The chapel and a hospital were built here in the 1600s — specifically for the resident Italian artists and craftsmen of the neighborhood.

The hospital was later used as an Italian orphanage in the 1800s. And when the chapel’s interior was beautifully restored in the latter part of the last century, it came at the cost of losing some of the Baroque building’s pure acoustics.

That’s why, as Dr Šupová tells Opus Osm, since the 1990s not all concerts can be held in the Chapel, as Mr D’Arcangelo’s concert attests. And concerts featuring major orchestras and soloists often require venues with greater seating capacity.

But keep an eye out for Italian Cultural Institute-sponsored concerts and other events, so for those held at the Baroque Chapel, you don’t miss out on interesting programs as well as the glorious art and architecture accompanying them here.

– Mary Matz, Opus Osm editor

Photo Credits: Italian Cultural Institute

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