Museo della Lingua Greco-Calabra “Gerhard Rohlfs” Bova RC Via Sant'Antonio, 89033 tel.: 0965 762013



On the ground floor of the building that houses the Gerhard Rohlfs Museum of the Calabrian Greek Language, is the Franco Mosino Library, named after a philologist and scholar in Greek studies (1932-2015) and candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013. The texts found in the library belonged to this great Calabrian scholar and were donated by the Apodiafazzi association of Bova.

There are around 4,500 volumes related to linguistic, philological, literary and historical studies of Calabria. In the lower part of the library you can find ancient books, texts signed by Gerhard Rohlfs himself and rare editions by Franco Mosino, expert in the language of the Greeks of Calabria, ancient Greek and linguistic minorities in Southern Italy.

The books are available in consultation only during the museum’s opening hours and accessed in a multi-purpose room which is also used for cultural meetings, conferences and educational workshops. This space was set up in 2018 by the artist Roberto Lucifero, who, inspired by the concepts of identity and memory, created a contemporary art installation called “I Cantori di Urano” (The singers of Uranus).

Lucifero writes “The earth is undeniably the protagonist of rural life, it dictates its rhythms, it imposes strict rules if we want to derive maximum benefit from it. It is a total domination which one cannot ignore if one wants to survive. In complex societies this relationship with nature is greatly weakened and the need to adapt to its rhythms is overtaken by agricultural industrialisation.

Here in Bova, the dominion of nature over man is physically present in both the geological characteristics of the place and in the agricultural vocation of the land, further accentuated by the presence of Mount Etna, immense on the horizon. The ancient gods, the very ones who regulate the moods of nature, are present in the room, watching those who enter it. They are the mythical ancestors of Greek origin who continue to tell the stories and establish a fruitful dialogue with the land that can bring back into the present so much that has been lost elsewhere. 

The “Cantori di Urano” were made with ordinary materials of rural life now considered relics of the past; cane, wire mesh, everyday tools found in the old houses of Bova, arranged in the form of faces.

It is precisely the recognition of the face, one of the most archetypal mechanisms of the human brain, which inspired me in this installation. Everyday domestic objects attributable to the families of Bova and of Greek inspiration take on the features of the mythical ancestors, no longer as symbols of the threatening side of nature, but as benevolent singers capable of expressing ancient and eloquent silent hendecasyllabic lines of poetry.