Traveling with RESTART MED!: Gibellina, Sicily a place destroyed by an earthquake and now a symbol of rebirth


Today we are traveling to Sicily, the biggest Italian island, famous for its beaches and ancient history. Let’s leave the beaten tracks and head to Gibellina, a little village that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1968 and it’s today a symbol of rebirth. 

Between 14 and 15 January 1968 the earth trembled in the Belice valley, Western Sicily: a violent earthquake reduced Gibellina to rubbles. After the initial shock, the locals decided to rebuild the village a few kilometers away and to ask world-famous artists to help them overcome those terrible times. The artist Alberto Burri build the giant piece of land art that is today known as “cretto”.

That was just the first step that led Gibellina to become an important location for contemporary art. Artists from all over the world started donating their works to the city, which became an open-air museum.

Today, Gibellina is a widespread museum of contemporary art where you can come across testimonies of an astounding regeneration process.

Let’s start our trip right at the famous Cretto di Burri: an immense memorial that dominates the Belice valley; 80,000 square meters of white concrete and debris honoring the memory of Gibellina. Alberto Burri's confrontation with the tragedy of the earthquake passes through this unprecedented work of landing art. Its "cretto" - fissure, cracking - is a wound in the ground born from the rubble, a labyrinth of paths that recalls the streets of the lost city.

Many other amazing pieces of art can be found in the Orestiadi Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the largest collection of contemporary art in Southern Italy. 

The large, restored rooms of Baglio di Stefano, home of the Orestiadi Foundation, host works by great masters, exhibitions, cultural events, and artistic workshops. The typical spaces of the farm - the granary, the main house and the external courtyards - mark an exhibition itinerary that combines contemporary art and Mediterranean influences. 

The main body of the masseria, the manor house, houses the Museum of Mediterranean Fabrics since 1996. In its spaces, decorative art objects, clothes, costumes, jewels, fabrics, ceramics of peoples and cultures of the Mediterranean area interact with pieces from Ludovico Corrao's personal collection of Contemporary art.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) houses the largest contemporary art collection in Southern Italy: 2000 works, 400 of which are exhibited. Getting lost in its rooms is a journey back into the figurative culture of the last century and the artistic ferment that crossed the cities of Gibellina in the Eighties. Fausto Pirandello, Gianbecchina, Carla Accardi, Mario Schifano, Tano Festa, Franco Angeli, Toti Scialoja, Mimmo Rotella, Piero Dorazio, Mimmo Paladino, Renata Boero, Emilio Isgrò, Mimmo Jodice, Mario Giacomelli are just some of the artists you will see here.

Because of its unique mix of culture, art, and nature, Gibellina was chosen by the CROSSDEV project as one of its cultural destinations aimed at responsible and sustainable tourists. We have started today with a focus on art and culture. You can keep it going to discover the many other beauties of the area!

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