Casa Morandi, the former home of Giorgio Morandi in the Italian city of Bologna, recreates how the house was when the artist lived there, from 1933 to 1964, complete with the vases, bottles, bowls and other materials that inspired the meticulous still-life paintings for which he is best known. Patricia Crockett, senior director of contemporary art gallery David Zwirner, in Hong Kong, tells the Post how it changed her life. In 2002, when I was 22, I did an Erasmus (European Union student exchange programme) for a year in Bologna. I’m from Hamburg, Germany, and I was studying at Humboldt University, in Berlin . I hadn’t travelled much in Europe. I’m half Portuguese, and any holiday we had, we spent it there with family. I was two years into my studies when I went to Bologna, and it was my first time being away from home alone. I’d always been terribly homesick. I was very nervous about it but really wanted to see Italy. And it was the University of Bologna, which is the oldest in Europe. In the first few weeks, I was so miserable. I cried every day. I didn’t know what to do, my Italian wasn’t good enough to have conversations, and the university wasn’t super challenging so I had a lot of spare time. ‘Just so cool’: how a 1997 London art show changed attitudes – and lives I remember calling my grandmother on the German side, who loved Italy. She told me I had to go and see the Morandi house. I remember just loving it so much there. There weren’t many visitors. I remember seeing the bottles and glasses, and thinking, “Wow, one of the greatest painters spent time here.” It made me feel that even though I was homesick, I was in the right place. I studied something called cultural science, which is a wild mix of literature, art history, communications, theatre – anything cultural, really. There’s usually one subject you study more than the others. For me it was literature, but after seeing the Morandi house, I became much more interested in art history. Later on, my grandmother came to visit and we went to see the house together. She was such a huge Morandi fan. She had 13 grandchildren, and that was my connection with her; it was a great bonding experience that we had. In my eight months in Bologna, I went to the Morandi house at least 20 times. I had a cultural pass and also quite a lot of visitors. Just in the first two weeks, I’m pretty sure I went five or six times. It was only five minutes on foot from our university building. A former East German cotton mill is cradle of the New Leipzig School of art It’s obvious the place is about him, but for me personally it’s more about myself. These days I live in Hong Kong, far away from my family. I look back and think, “Look how far I’ve come” – not in a career way, but from being this shy person to being this person who travels non-stop for work. The Casa Morandi is all about Morandi, but for me it’s also a big life lesson. I just joined David Zwirner, and one of the artists here is the Morandi estate. It closes the loop. My grandmother would have loved it.