The Museo Nacional will open an exhibition Friday that recounts the cultural contributions of Italians in the New World.
The event is in conjunction with the Embassy of Italy and the Universidad de Costa Rica. The exhibition is titled “Il Nuovo Mundo: La influencia cultural de los Italianos en América.”
The best known, of course, is Christopher Columbus who is credited with discovering the new world. He is said to have visited the Caribbean coast in 1502 and contributed to giving the area the name Costa Rica, meaning “rich coast.”
But there is much more.
The exhibition is the result of two years of work by the Italian Embassy, the Centro de Investigaciones Históricas de América Central, the Escuela de Geografía of the university and the museum’s staff.
The role of Italian intellectuals, map makers and explorers during the Age of Discovery have not been evaluated sufficiently by official history, said a summary prepared by Silvia Meléndez Dobles of the geography faculty.
The museum summary noted that Italy had a strategic location during the 15th and 16th centuries and was able to control trade routes in the Mediterranean and also of Africa and the Middle East. The summary is HERE!
Italy at the time consisted of city states that contributed to economic growth, commercial strength and ultimately the Renaissance. The flourishing of humanism and by positioning humans as the center of the universe displacing God encouraged the artistic, literary, scientific and philosophical movements that left a strong imprint on society, said the museum summary.
These movements eventually led to the recapture of the works of ancient Greeks and appreciation of the earlier work of Petrarch, Dante, and Boccaccio.
Italian expertise developed better navigating instruments, the development of better ships and the less obvious financing of expeditions, according to the museum summary.
For the first time 20 maps of the era will be exhibited, the summary said.
Oct. 12 is called Columbus Day in the United States, although radical native Americans have objected strongly to the celebration. In Costa Rica, is is the Día de las Culturas marking the fusion in the current population.