Rome contemporary art museum puts focus on history of energy in Italy

ROME – Italy must import nearly all the energy needed to keep cars rolling, factories humming and lights lit.

Much of its postwar political policy has been aimed at ensuring access to adequate energy supplies, including a daring challenge to Anglo-American oil companies by Italy’s national fuel agency, ENI, whose head, Enrico Mattei, died in a mysterious 1962 plane crash at a time when he was negotiating deals with oil-producing countries.

Now the MAXXI, Rome’s national museum for contemporary arts and architecture, is hosting an exhibition recounting 60 years of Italy’s history linked to the impact of energy on art, architecture and the landscape.

The exhibition includes a filling station inspired by a forest, a highway supplying its own energy, and bicycles recharging batteries.

The exhibit, “Energy,” opens Friday and runs through Sept. 29.