Polo ItalianoRio celebrates 150 years of Italian immigration to Brazil

The cultural center will host art, fashion, and gastronomy events

Published on 25/02/2024 - 09:00 By Alana Gandra - Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro welcomed a new cultural center this week: the Polo Cultural ItalianoRio - art, design, and innovation. This center is the result of an inter-institutional project between the Consulate General of Italy in Rio, the Italian Cultural Institute, and the European Institute of Design (EID). It aims to transform the first floor of Casa d'Italia into a multifunctional space, revitalize Praça Itália, which is adjacent to the building, and enhance the region through accessible cultural programming.

The center celebrates the National Day of the Italian Immigrant to Brazil on February 21, as well as the 150th anniversary of Italian immigration to the country, Marco Marica, the director of the Italian Cultural Institute, said to Agência Brasil during an interview.

The new cultural center, located in the central part of the city near Santos Dumont Airport, covers an area of almost 500 square meters. The space is designed to host art, fashion, and design exhibitions, as well as gastronomy, technology, and innovation events. It will also offer courses, seminars, lecture series, and other programs. Plans include partnerships with other institutions to strengthen and establish cultural and scientific ties.

Friendship and connection

Kicking off its annual schedule of temporary exhibitions, the Polo Cultural ItalianoRio is currently showcasing the exhibition "1874-2024: 150 Years of Friendship and Connection between Italy and Brazil, Together Towards the Future." The exhibition features a 42 m² panel, graffitied by artist Bruno Big, depicting the arrival of immigrants and their contributions to coffee cultivation. It also includes videos and thematic panels highlighting their influence on the socio-cultural formation of Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian society.

Marco Marica announced that the exhibition will remain open to the public on the first floor of the cultural center until the end of the year. He added, "There will also be a display case featuring old documents from the Consulate General's collection, as well as the unveiling of the logo for the 150th anniversary of Italian immigration to Brazil. The logo was selected through a competition launched by the Italian embassy in Brasília, which engaged Italian schools across Brazil."

The winning project was created by Joshua Azze Distel, a 17-year-old student in the fourth year of high school at the Fondazione Torino. His design features a ship, symbolizing the means of transportation used by millions of immigrants who embarked on long ocean voyages to the "new world" in search of better living conditions.

Rio de Janeiro (RJ) 21/02/2024 - Documentos de primeiros imigrantes italianos.
Foto: Vera Donato/Divulgação
The Polo is currently showcasing the exhibition "1874-2024: 150 Years of Friendship and Connection between Italy and Brazil, Together Towards the Future - Vera Donato


The Dell'Architettura—Italian Presence in Rio's Cityscape exhibition was inaugurated on the mezzanine, featuring approximately 40 images of architectural masters captured by photographer, teacher, and visual artist Aristides Corrêa Dutra. The exhibition showcases the works of renowned Italian architects such as Ricardo Buffa, Luigi Fossati, Raffaele Rebecchi, Antonio Virzi, Mario Vodret, and Antonio Jannuzzi, who have left their legacy in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Marco Marica also mentioned that the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italian immigration to Brazil will continue throughout the year, with events planned across the country. He added, "In March, we will host a series of public presentations focusing on university exchanges and scholarships."

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Aline Leal

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