The project stems from the Luigi Rovati Foundation's desire to create a museum space within the historic 19th-century Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro building, a center for experimentation and research also intended to house various functions and an important collection of Etruscan artifacts.
The space dedicated to the Etruscan collection is located in the first basement level and is inspired by the Tombs of Cerveteri, some of the few pieces of Etruscan architecture still intact. It is also inspired by the Museum of the Treasure of San Lorenzo in Genoa, designed by Franco Albini and Franca Helg, which is located in the underground rooms behind the apse of Genoa Cathedral, also a contemporary insertion in a historical context.
A staircase made of Florentine pietra forte quarried from Tuscan-Emilian quarries leads to the hypogeal exhibition spaces: three circular halls and a large elliptical hall topped with domes, completely enveloped by 24,000 stone ashlars, designed and expertly laid one by one, with a formal continuity that gives the whole environment a sense of unity and fluidity.
The simplicity of the museum's wraparound forms contrasts with the triangular-based display cases, creating a scene of different materials and times that adds further dimension and depth to the museum experience.