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Varese: an exhibition tracing great explorations from the 1800s to today

By Wednesday, 21 February 2024 11:52

Varese presents an exhibition honoring the Castiglioni brothers, charting the history of grand expeditions from the 1800s to today.

A unique testimony of human history on film

Marco Castiglioni e SaraMarco Castiglioni and Sara Conte

Angelo Castiglioni and his brother Alfredo travelled across Africa from 1957 to 2022, using cinematographic film to tell the story of a world that was undergoing dramatic transformation.  In 60 years of expeditions they collected a unique testimony of human history, following in the footsteps of the great explorers of the past and bringing to light buried civilizations.  Their filming also made the history of the Italian "Mondo Cinema" genre, witnessing the rituals and daily life of peoples whose traditions have been erased by the passing of time. This is the theme of the exhibition, "Encounters of Distant Worlds. From the exploratory journeys of the late 1800s to the research of Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni", which will run until 1 June 2025 in the Civic Archaeological Museums of Villa Mirabello in Varese, and will also feature various events, meetings and screenings. 

9Incontri-di-mondi-lontaniReperti-africani
8Incontri-di-mondi-lontaniIl-papiro-delle-miniere
7Incontri-di-mondi-lontanicinematografia-fratelli-Castiglioni
6Incontri-di-mondi-lontanila-strumentazione-cinematografica
4Incontri-di-mondi-lontanii-testi-consultati-dai-fratelli-Castigliioni
9Incontri-di-mondi-lontaniReperti-africani
8Incontri-di-mondi-lontaniIl-papiro-delle-miniere
7Incontri-di-mondi-lontanicinematografia-fratelli-Castiglioni
6Incontri-di-mondi-lontanila-strumentazione-cinematografica
4Incontri-di-mondi-lontanii-testi-consultati-dai-fratelli-Castigliioni

“A desire to discover distant worlds”

"My father and my uncle set on their journey animated by great curiosity and the desire to meet different people and discover distant worlds, documenting a humanity that was disappearing - says Marco Castiglioni, son of Angelo, a passionate historian and currently the director of the Castiglioni Museum in Varese".  The exhibition is divided into several rooms, the first showing the history of the great Italian explorers of the 1800s. “At that time, the interest for geographical research was growing rapidly. – says Castiglioni - My father and my uncle started by reading the memories of the brave travellers whose tracks they eventually followed.”  The same antique texts used by the two brothers, are on display in some of the showcases.  Visitors also enter a fascinating "wunderkammer", one of those collector's rooms of 18th-century tradition, with strange and exotic objects, before tracing the footsteps of the Castiglioni brothers, with the visual support of seven videos. 

The oldest geographical map of humanity

Other rooms pay tribute to the archaeological discoveries of “Berenice Pancrisia”, the City of Gold of the pharaohs, and the impressive “Adulis”, the vast archaeological site overlooking the shores of the Red Sea, in Eritrea and, representing a symbolic closure of a circle of time, the anastatic copy of the Papyrus of the Mines of Seti I (preserved at the Egyptian Museum of Turin), considered the oldest geological map of humanity. The exhibition is curated by Marco Castiglioni with Sara Conte, Serena Massa, Giovanna Salvioni, under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of the State of Eritrea, the Lombardy Region and the Province of Varese.

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