Lighting installations in the Catullus Caves of Sirmione

A large night exhibition with light installations and diffuse works will be an opportunity to raise money and renew the lighting system in the famous archeological site Sirmione on Lake Garda

That Catullus caves like you’ve never seen them before: The monumental archeological site on the Lombard shores of Lake Garda comes to life from 2 June to 30 July with a major multimedia and multisensory artistic project. There are eight large installations that give a breath of life back to the two acre Roman villa with a park at the top of Sirmione: they all make up the night route Imperial excesses, conceived by the artist and curator Vera Uberti in collaboration with the Mai Museum. Brazilian by birth, but Italian by adoption, Uberti has created a collection of works specifically for this space (can only be observed between a quarter to nine in the evening and midnight) with inspiration from the house itself, or what’s left of it: there is a large luminous snake, symbol of welcome and wisdom in the Roman domus, a swimming pool no longer made of marble and water, but smoke and light, large illuminated spheres that make the park with millennial olive trees next to the villa even more suggestive. “It is an interpretation, with modern sensitivity and technologies, of roots that unite us, but which are now very distant from us. These experiences bring them closer together“, explains Emanuela Daffradirector of the Lombardy Museum Complex.

Imperial extravagances at the Catullus Caves of Sirmione


This place was and is exaggerated “, Narrator Vera Uberti. “I began to imagine how they lived in that villa, in that room, with that view and that landscape. I went to reveal the soul of this place. We must enter freely and let the imagination travel and feel the protagonists of the world as if we were in our own home. Forget what the artist meant: go, see, tryThe luminous and monumental works – including a triptych of screens that transmit the personal I believe in miracles from David LaChapelle already exhibited at Mudec in Milan – give the public the feeling of being in an inhabited house: a sensation that reaches its maximum power thanks to the multisensory involvement of the project. Yes pictures, but also sounds – like Roar of an all-seeing eye and the whispered verses from Catullus’ Carme XXXI -, scents and taste: An integral part of the experience is actually an aphrodisiac tasting in the villa’s old dining room, where a summer panettone by the chef is served Andrea Mainardi and a sweet drink Spirito Cocktails.

Imperial extravagances at the Catullus Caves of Sirmione
Imperial extravagances at the Catullus Caves of Sirmione


The experience – supported by the Garda open-air museum Mai Museum, which redefines famous sites from an experiential perspective, by the Lombardy Regional Museum Directorate and by the municipality of Sirmione – has a dual purpose. On the one hand, it wants to attract a young audience to one of the most important archeological sites in northern Italy, giving the pre-imperial area a new look that does not change its preservation, but emphasizes its characteristics; on the other hand, participate in the improvement of the caves by financing (in accordance with the directives of Art Bonus) -one new space lighting system. The artistic-cultural initiative is in fact first and foremost a crowdfunding, which with the price of the entrance ticket – 110 euros for adults, half for children aged 7 to 12, free for children aged 6 and under – will enable the necessary modernizations. With a pinch of ambition: If all goes as planned, the artist and curator of the project hopes, next year we could think about transforming the place into a place accessible to all.

– Giulia Giaume

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