Taormina: the photographic exhibition on the 50 years of the Riace Bronzes at Palazzo Ciampoli


By John

From the first fortuitous discovery of the diver Stefano Mariottini in August 1972 on the sandy seabed of Riace, in Calabria, to the endless queues of the first visitors in Florence in ’81; from the exceptional exhibition at the Quirinale, at the “home” of the then President of the Republic Sandro Pertini – who opened the doors of his residence for them – up to the last definitive placement in the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria, at the end of the last intense restoration cycle.

That of the Riace Bronzes, authentic and acclaimed masterpieces of Greek art from the 5th century BC, is one of the most beautiful Italian stories of the last fifty years and from Thursday 21 December until the end of next February, it will be told in Taormina (at Palazzo Ciampoli, from 21 December to 28 February 2024) from “The Riace Bronzes, fifty years of history”, a photographic, documentary and multimedia exhibition that comes from the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria (MArRC) thanks to an agreement between the outgoing director, Carmelo Malacrino – curator of the exhibition project – and Gabriella Tigano, archaeologist and director of the Naxos Taormina Archaeological Park who, as part of an agreement between the two bodies signed in 2021 in view of the celebrations, wanted the exhibition to be held at Palazzo Ciampoli.

With a double objective: to enrich the visiting experience of those who arrive in Taormina attracted by the richness of the archaeological and landscape heritage, and to nourish the bond with the MArRC – where the new director Fabrizio Sudano is arriving, freshly appointed to the MIC (Ministry of Culture), with a view to dialectics and collaboration between cultural bodies. The exhibition, with free entry, will be open to the public from the afternoon of December 21st with free entry. Hours: 10am-6pm. Inauguration Thursday 21st, 11am.

Intuitive, multimedia, bilingual (Italian and English), the exhibition “The Riace Bronzes, fifty years of history” is conceived as a journey back in time which, with the contribution of period images and simple and accessible texts, reconstructs the history of the discovery of the Riace Bronzes, perhaps the most important underwater archeology discovery of the twentieth century.

The narrative is enriched by archive photographs, many unpublished or little known, and period videos provided by RAI Teche. In fact, through the voices of the protagonists of the time, it will be possible to follow all the main moments of the “new life” of the Riace Bronzes: from the discovery to the restorations, up to the exhibitions and scientific studies often conducted with original approaches. A project, this documentary exhibition, which ideally concluded in Reggio Calabria the program of events promoted by the MArRC for the anniversary of the discovery of the two statues and which continues with this traveling exhibition.