Culture as a Driving Force for Italian-Cypriot Relations.

January 17, 2022


The island of Cyprus and Italy have always been the cradles of civilisation in the Mediterranean due to their geographical position and historical and cultural traditions, acting as a bridge between East and West and promoting trade and cultural exchanges over the centuries.

The picturesque island of Cyprus, according to legend the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, also reflects the diverse influences of its neighbours in its art. Traces of the intertwining of Roman, Greek and Egyptian civilisations can be found in archaeological finds, works of art, buildings and decorations that can be admired on the island and in its museums.

The passion for culture in its various expressions and the awareness of the importance of its dissemination has led to an interesting collaboration between Italy and Cyprus, which has resulted in the recently concluded exhibition “Cyprus. Crossroads of Civilisations”, held in the Sale Chiablese of the Royal Museums of Turin.

The exhibition, consisting of over a thousand finds, partly donated by collectors and the result of archaeological excavations carried out in Cyprus during the 19th century by the Consul of the Kingdom of Sardinia, Marcello Cerruti, and the brothers Alessandro and Luigi Palma di Cesnola, has an international range, enriched with pieces from foreign institutions including the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the Medelhavetmuseet in Stockholm, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia.

The exhibition, curated by Luca Bombardieri, professor of Aegean Civilisations, and Elisa Panero, curator of the archaeological collections of the Royal Museums, was conceived with the intention of tracing points of contact between antiquity and our time, starting with the recovery of a dialogue that began   about  two  centuries  ago  between the Cypriot and Italian territories.

The exhibition has highlighted how, thanks to the most modern archaeological research techniques of recent decades, it has been possible to bring to light artefacts symbolic of Cypriot history and civilisation. Visitors could admire stone and terracotta sculptures, ceramics and alabasters, glass, metals, jewellery, mirrors, epigraphs, seals and coins. Interactive multimedia installations have allowed for multi-sensory experiments, from music, which brought back Mediterranean sounds, to olfactory experiences that recalled ancient fragrances dedicated to Aphrodite. Thanks to the use of 3D reconstructions and computer technology, it was possible to appreciate archaeology even more through touch.

The success of the exhibition in Turin, the result of the collaboration between Italy and Cyprus, has highlighted the significant contribution of Italian know-how in recovery and restoration techniques, and encourages the search for new experiments.

The Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce has always been attentive to cultural awareness and supports activities aimed at involving an international audience to explore the origins of the common European identity, such as the Path of St. Paul and Barnabas, retraced by the Holy Pontifex during His visit to Cyprus in December 2021, a symbol of union between East and West.

The Chamber actively participates in the creation of new opportunities for encounters by acting as a connector on the Italian-Cypriot axis. “Culture acts as a driving force for the development of the economy, creates business opportunities between Italy and Cyprus, – said the President of Chamber, Giuseppe Marino – it involves many sectors from transport to hotels, restaurants and trade in general, as well as strengthening the ties between our two countries”.

The world of art, like that of archaeology, generates work opportunities and collaborations at various levels between Italian and Cypriot companies.

This can be the case of the project elaborated by Studio di Architettura Gionata Rizzi, which has presented a plan for a competition organised by the Getty Trust for the Archaeological Park of Nea, in Paphos. The Architecture Studio, if it wins the competition, will select construction companies and materials companies for the realization of the project, in order to build shelters designed to protect the site’s mosaics.

The Chamber, after evaluating the prospects and opportunities that may arise from the implementation of this project, has embraced this plan and was mentioned, among others institutional bodies, as a supporting reference for the selection of leading Italian and Cypriot companies, with the aim of an increasing synergy, also in the cultural sphere, between Italian and Cypriot Institutions, Universities and Companies.

Among other relevant initiatives supported by the Chamber in the sector, there is the interesting project carried out by Cultural Association Leucò, from Syracuse, chaired by Stefania Pennacchio.

The important exhibition that will involve Cyprus and Sicily, will take place at the NIMAC, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, under the auspices of the Municipality of Syracuse, the Department for Culture and Sicilian Identity, Gerhard Rohlfs’ Museum of the Greek-Calabrian Language, Hellenic-speaking Cultural Association ‘Jalò tu vua‘, the Orthodox Church of Italy and the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

For further insights and information regarding the activities of the Italian-Cypriot Chamber of Commerce:

Last modified: March 2, 2022

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