“Sapere di mare” opens on Saturday 21st July at the Museo etrusco di Populonia Collezione Gasparri (Castello di Populonia, Piombino-LI). The exhibition, curated by the archaeologists Giorgio Baratti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano) and Carolina Megale (Museo etrusco di Populonia), is organized in collaboration with Fondazione Luigi Rovati. The Foundation, while awaits the opening of the new Museum of Etruscan Art in Milan (which will be inaugurated after an articulated restructuring and expansion of the historic Palazzo Bocconi-Rizzoli-Carraro in Corso Venezia 52, entrusted to Mario Cucinella Architects) offering in preview a selection from its Etruscan collection.
The theme is the sea: the only Etruscan city founded on the sea, Populonia is the perfect location to explore the varied and complex bond between men and the sea during the first millennium BC. The title of the exhibition “Sapere di mare” reflects this richness through its various meanings: knowing, learning, exploring, exchanging, tasting, dialoguing, contaminating, colouring, imitating. The sea is the cradle of our civilization but – as the Bosnian writer and Nobel Prize winner of the Literature Predrag Matvejevič wrote – «Europe has forgotten its cradle». This exhibition would like to be an antidote to this dissolution.
The roots of this exhibition can be traced back in the words of the French historian Fernand Braudel: «What is the Mediterranean? A thousand things together. Not a landscape but innumerable landscapes. Not a sea, but a succession of seas. Not a civilization, but a series of civilizations stacked on each other. Traveling in the Mediterranean means meeting the Roman world in Lebanon, prehistory in Sardinia, Greek cities in Sicily, the Arab presence in Spain, Turkish Islam in Yugoslavia».
The exhibition takes place on the backdrop of the opening of a new room called “Sala del Mare”, which collects artefacts from the waters of the Golfo di Baratti, including the lead anchors of the tonnara. The room will be enriched with reconstructions, videos and educational-illustrative panels that tell, in addition to navigation systems and ancient naval architecture, the activities of fishing and production of fish sauces documented in Populonia.
At the same time, a short exhibition is under way at the museum (until 7 January 2018), which focuses on the 10-year research activities on the archaeological area of Poggio del Molino. The exhibition, which pays particular attention to the economic aspects of the Roman site, highlights the relationship between the settlement and the surrounding territory in the phase in which it housed a factory for the production of fish sauces, attested by the finding of a series of tanks and instruments such as net weights, shuttles, needles, etc.
The exhibition “Sapere di mare” therefore perfectly completes the theme of the sea with three beautiful Etruscan ceramics from the 7th century BC, produced in the southern Etruscan-Faliscan area, and a beautiful red-painted amphora produced in Cerveteri in the early seventh century BC.