Friday, 4 March 2016

Sicily: culture and conquest at British Museum

All friends of Sicily are very much looking forward to the exciting new special exhibition at British Museum this spring. Sicily: culture and conquest opens on 21 April 2016  and end 14 August 2016.

Focusing on the Greek and Norman period, the exhibition tells Sicily’s fascinating stories – from the arrival of the Greeks and their encounters with the Phoenicians and other settlers, to the extraordinary period of enlightenment under Norman rule in the 11th to 13th centuries.

Sicily has been shaped by waves of conquest and settlement by different peoples over 4,000 years. Since the 7th century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all settled or invaded the island, lured by its fertile lands and strategic location. Over time, this series of conquests forged a cultural identity unlike any other.

For much of its history, Sicily was admired and envied for its wealth, cultural patronage and architecture. In the exhibition, ancient Greek sculpture, architectural decorations from temples, churches and palaces, early coinage, stunning gold jewellery, and Norman mosaics and textiles demonstrate Sicily’s diversity, prosperity and significance over hundreds of years.

Discover an island with a cosmopolitan history and identity – a place where the unique mix of peoples gave rise to an extraordinary cultural flowering. The art and objects they produced are some of the most beautiful and important in the history of the Mediterranean.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The towers in Sicily

The towers that surround the coasts of Sicily brings us back at a time of red alert in the entire Christian world, Jean Paul Barreaud explains in his marvellous TV series Sicilia svelata. Emperor Charles V built many defensive walls. In 1535 Charles V beat the Turks in a battle in the Bay of Tunis. Later, in 1571, his son Don Juan of Austria gathered soldiers of the Christian world in Messina ent to Greece to win the Battle of Lepanto against the Muslims.