Fifty years after the Belìce earthquake, events and visions

Palazzo Sant’Elia – Palermo

28 January – 18 March 2018

On 14 and 15 January 1968, the Belìce Valley was hit by a violent earthquake which caused serious damage to the towns in the area. Gibellina, together with Salaparuta, Montevago and Poggioreale, is almost completely razed to the ground.

In the fiftieth anniversary year, the exhibition  1968/2018 SEISMIC PAUSE Fifty years since the Belìce earthquake, events and visions , traces the history of Gibellina from the earthquake to the construction of the new city up to the involvement of artists and intellectuals from the national and international scene, on the initiative of its mayor, Ludovico Corrao.

To tell the story are the works of the artists, rooted in the identity of Gibellina Nuova, the photographs, the videos, the documentary materials collected during a long research work between various institutions that here make up the plot of a living memory: fifty years full of events, for a story that crosses the social changes that were born from the bottom right from the Belìce Valley at that time, becoming an integral part of it.

The exhibition unravels various themes, which in their intertwining, restore the complexity of what happened: from the first photographic and video documents from the RAI and CRESM archives of Gibellina (Research and Development Center for Southern Italy), we then retrace the 13 long years of permanence of the populations in the slums before moving to the new city. An entire section is dedicated to the reconstruction and to Gibellina Nuova which explores urban planning, architecture, sculptures through the models of the works.

At the same time as the city of Gibellina, its community was rebuilt, for which the theater played a fundamental role, as a moment of re-foundation of values, but also as a practical tool for aggregating the knowledge of the craftsmen aimed at the production of sets, costumes and works of art. From the constant dialogue between the artisans and the numerous Italian and foreign artists who have spent long periods of creation in Gibellina, the “prisenti” are born, carried in procession during the feast of San Rocco and embroidered by the women of Gibellina, in addition to the sculptures, the spectacular scenographies by Arnaldo Pomodoro, Mimmo Paladino, Pietro Consagra, to the ateliers of many artists including, Schifano, Rotella, Scialoja, Angeli. 

The counterbalance to the life of the new city is the creation of the Cretto by Alberto Burri, a unique project in the world, still today the custodian of an artistic, ethical and community value that is renewed every day.

Fifty years later, this exhibition traces the process triggered by the earthquake, trying to reflect on what the experience of Gibellina, which began as a utopia, has left us all as a gift.

The concluding part of the exhibition refers to the  visions   of the last few decades after the reconstruction has been completed  From the birth of the Museum of Mediterranean Textures to the latest international projects: the exhibition “Islam in Sicily” and “Gibellina Photoroad, international open-air photography festival”. In addition to the reconstruction process in recent years, the opening of the church by Ludovico Quaroni and Luisa Anversa to worship and the completion of the Cretto by Alberto Burri have been added.

The exhibition is curated by the Orestiadi Foundation, co-produced with the Sant’Elia Foundation and created in collaboration with the Municipality of Gibellina, the Cresm of Gibellina, Rai Sicily headquarters, the Municipality of Santa Margherita di Belìce and the Museum of the Memory of Santa Margaret of Belice.


Opening to the public on 28 January 2017


from Tuesday to Friday from 9.30 to 18.30 (last admission at 18)

Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 13 and from 15.30 to 18.30 (last admission at 18)

Monday closed.


Full price €5.00

Reduced € 4.00: over 65, groups (minimum 15 people)

Schools: €3.00 per student

Guided tours for school groups with compulsory booking: €5 per student (entrance ticket included)

Info and reservations: info@orestiadi.it 


Apertura al pubblico il 28 gennaio 2017


da martedì a venerdì dalle 9,30 alle 18,30 (ultimo ingresso alle 18)

sabato e domenica dalle 10 alle 13 e dalle 15,30 alle 18,30 (ultimo ingresso alle 18)

lunedì chiuso.


Intero € 5,00

Ridotto € 4,00 : over 65, gruppi (minimo 15 persone)

Scuole: € 3,00 a studente

Visite guidate alle scolaresche con prenotazione obbligatoria: € 5 a studente (incluso biglietto d’ingresso)


Info e prenotazioni:info@orestiadi.it, mob. 3496157785