La Stanza delle Meraviglie

Participation | Participation
July 30, 2020 - March 28, 2021
Citizens of Castelbuono and visitors to the Civic Museum of Castelbuono
To celebrate the centenary of the purchase of the Ventimiglia Castle by the citizens of Castelbuono, the Civic Museum of Castelbuono presented the exhibition La Stanza delle Meraviglie (The Room of Wonders), an exposition of hundreds of objects loaned by the citizens of Castelbuono and collected in a precious set up created like the eighteenth-century Wunderkammer. The exhibition is part of the project L’Asta del 1920, curated by Maria Rosa Sossai, Scientific Responsible of the Department of Participatory Projects of the Civic Museum of Castelbuono, in collaboration with the anthropologist Angelo Cucco and with the participation of the citizens of Castelbuono, involved already from 2019 in a process of re-appropriation of collective memory and about the value of sharing. More than 200 objects lent by individual citizens, associations, schools and confraternities were exhibited, all of them actively involved in the project that makes an entire community as protagonist. At the core of the initiative, there is the celebration of the sense of belonging, of the recognition of the value of solidarity towards a common good, thanks to which the purchase of the Castle was made possible by a public collection wanted by the mayor at the time, Mariano Raimondi. Following the suggestion of the Wunderkammer (room of wonders) that in the 1600s and 1700s stored collections of unique, eccentric and precious objects, La Stanza delle Meraviglie wanted to celebrate the value of a common good, through the acquisition of the Ventimiglia Castle with a public collection, following the sale at a judicial auction of the Ventimiglia Castle in 1920.
This event of extraordinary historical and cultural value, by which the citizens of Castelbuono decided to give up part of their goods (agrarian products and other) in order to collect enough money for the purchase, can be counted as the first example of a “public good” in Sicily. La Stanza delle Meraviglie, designed by architect Pietro Airoldi, displays the objects that the people of Castelbuono have generously lent to the Museum, symbols of identity and belonging. The objects are among the most various and almost all belong to the first half of the 1900s: various kinds of furnishings such as work tools, clothes, hoods, confraternity robes, shoes, documents, jewelry, bags, photos, signs and other materials that represent the history of a community of citizens who shared the same identity value for a century. From this incredible inventory an interesting fact emerged, namely how in small communities like that of Castelbuono, the common good is identified with a deep affective attachment to the religious and aggregative traditions of the community. In this new context, the meaning of these objects goes beyond their intrinsic value to take on the symbolic one of an immaterial heritage, composed of a network of relationships, which is the only condition capable of keeping alive the sense of collectivity.