From 22 to 24 September 2023, meetings, insights, site-specific art installations

Barocco&Neobarocco (scheduled in Ragusa Ibla from 22 to 24 September 2023, with extension of the exhibitions until 22 October) is the design festival that reflects on contemporary expressions and interpretations of the Baroque aesthetics that characterise the Hyblean territory, narrating them through a rich programme of meetings with designers (Roberto Semprini, Patrizia Italiano, Rosa Vetrano), artists (Giuseppe Leone, Davide Bramante, Graziano Villa, Giovanni Blanco), stylists (Loredana Roccasalva, Luigi Piccolo), companies and staging them through site-specific installations. Now in its third edition, it offers three days of exhibitions, meetings and installations staged in the city's most precious architecture, including churches, palaces and theatres, Unesco heritage sites.

Meetings and installations in the city setting

Roberto Semprini, the festival's creator and artistic director, and Cristina Morozzi, curator, are the pillars of the Sicilian festival, set up between Palazzo Cosentini, the Circolo di Conversazione, the former San Vincenzo Ferreri Church, the Cathedral Museum, the Iblei Gardens, the theatre and Donnafugata Castle. Spaces that will host works on the theme of neo-baroque in design, art, fashion and photography. In addition, projects by students from the Brera (Milan), Abadir (Catania) and ISIA (Faenza) Academies will be presented.

It all stems from the 1693 earthquake

The term baroque derives from the French baroque (bizarre, irregular), which indicated a pearl or precious stone with a non-perfect shape. Baroque aesthetic research moves towards an idea of beauty dominated by the concepts of irregularity, complexity, disequilibrium, emotion and movement. South-eastern Sicily, between the provinces of Syracuse, Ragusa and Catania, was the scene in 1693 of a violent earthquake that completely razed cities and towns to the ground. This resulted in a great collective effort to rebuild urban centres, urban planning and redefine urban areas, resorting to late Baroque architectural styles. The seismic event actually represented, in this portion of Sicily, the occasion for a Baroque reconstruction of the cities and a flourishing of building activity during the 18th century.

Dialogue between culture and project

"The festival aims to establish a dialogue between the culture of design and that of enterprise, in the context of the city's Baroque setting with the 18th-century renaissance of the Val di Noto at its centre. Barocco&Neobarocco offers the cue for a discussion on the different declinations of neo-baroque design, a contemporary interpretation of that aesthetic that has marked the history of the Ragusa area and still represents a stylistic feature common to many contemporary trends,' Semprini explains. Knowledge and entrepreneurship of the territory are involved in a creative dialectic, involving designers, artists and fashion stylists, with the participation of protagonists of the design world and the contribution of local and international companies.

Does design only have to be rigorous and minimal?

"We, as people, do not inhabit empty spaces, but live with 'things' and objects that are traces and memories of our existence, of our way of thinking. This proves that the superfluous plays an important role, that the pleasure of the eye and sight must be satisfied. Who ever said that design only has to be rigorous and minimal? Two philosophies of thought are never mutually exclusive and a priori: neo-baroque is enrichment, craftsmanship to be rediscovered,' says Cistina Morozzi.

High-level conferences

The conferences will feature experts in the field of culture and design, including: Gilda Bojardi, director of Interni, Cristina Morozzi, journalist and design critic, Davide Rampello, television director and art director, Silvana Annichiarico, architect and design curator, Enrico Davoli, lecturer in History of Design, Massimo Pulini, lecturer, artist and art historian, Giampaolo Proni, lecturer at UNIBO, Francesca Fellini, journalist.

The design festival has the patronage of local authorities and institutions such as the Brera Academy, the Abadir Academy of Catania and ISIA of Florence, and the Order of Architects of the Province of Ragusa. Lectures and visits to the exhibitions grant professional training credits to architects and designers registered with their respective registers, visits to the installations are free of charge and are open to the public for one month. For more information on the programme, click here.


Top, Casanova dress, Farani tailoring, Luigi Piccolo.