The exhibition “Diego Vitrioli. A refined collector in nineteenth-century Calabria”, in Piazza Paolo Orsi, curated by the director Carmelo Malacrino, has been extended until August 25th, 2019.
The project was created in collaboration with the cultural association “Diego Vitrioli”, to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the illustrious poet and Latin scholar from Reggio, a gold medal for poetry, compared to Giovanni Pascoli for virtue and literary style. Pope Leo XIII called him the “prince of men of letters” and established a chair for him in the Vatican. Many of his poems are dedicated to the seductive mystery of the Strait of Messina, starting from the poem “Xiphias” by which he won the prestigious Certamen poeticum Hoeufftianum at just 25 years, telling the thrill of swordfish fishing.
Vitrioli boasted a rich archaeological collection, in particular of figured vases, together with other finds, such as terracotta figurines, clay lamps and even some fragments of mosaic inserted in the floors of the rooms of the building. Little is known about the events of this exceptional heritage after his death. Many finds were lost along with the building that housed them in the great earthquake of 1908 that destroyed Reggio and Messina. Of the rich collection there remains only a splendid red-figure bell crater, dating back to the 4th century BC, kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria and exhibited on this occasion for the first time.
Visitors to the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria are hosted under the gaze of the magnificent Riace Bronzes in evocative exhibition itineraries of the “welcoming exhibitions”, which present finds from the museum collection in always new and fascinating thematic contexts.