Friday, January 18, 2008

Odessa's Italian roots - exhibit in Toronto on till March 8

The Robarts Research Library at the University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Istituo Italiano di Cultura, presents the exhibit Transplanting Italy: The Story Of Italian Migration To The Black Sea (1794-1894). It opened Tuesday Jan. 15 and will remain on display until March 8.

On display are archival documents and images (many for the first time) pertaining to the little-known 18th-century invited mass migration to the Black Sea. The foundation of the seaport of Odessa (1794) by these Italian settlers created unique cultural consequences for the Russian South, the former USSR and modern-day Ukraine.

Thanks to its Italian founders, the city of Odessa historical architecture has a flavour more Mediterranean than Slavic. The city was officially founded in 1794, as a Russian naval fortress and was renamed Odessa by January 1795. By the 19th-century, Odessa had become a prestigious international operatic stage, a small "cultural mecca" for artists, and one of the first modern multicultural societies.

The exhibit is supported also by the Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, Department of Italian Studies-University of Toronto and the Petro Jacyk Centre at the Robarts Library.

More information on the exhibit can be found here.

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