Rome’s Top 2013 Exhibit So Far? CulturaCibo, on Food & Italy’s Identity

Rome’s Top 2013 Exhibit So Far? CulturaCibo, on Food & Italy’s Identity

Food is not just material, it is also culture. And this holds nowhere more than in Italy, a country in love with beauty, either art or good food.

Through April 7 the Rome Vittoriano complex hosts a free exhibition on how food is part of the Italian identity. It was curated by Italy’s top food historian, Massimo Montanari, who has a very scientific and academic approach, i.e very serious, to this issue.

The showing is a travel through the centuries in the fields, the kitchens and the dishes of Italians. A fascinating journey that will teach you a lot on who we are and why we eat in such a delicious way. You’ll learn, for instance, that there is no such thing as a “spaghetti Bolognese” or “Alfredo Sauce” in Italy and why they are perceived to be quintessentially Italian abroad.


This initiative is part of a wide series of events for the 2015 World Expo of Milan, dedicated to food in all its facets. If you’re planning to visit Italy in two years, do it between May and October and earmark at least a couple of days for the Milan Expo. If these are the premises, this world events really deserves a visit!

The visitors will find documents, ancient manuscripts, archaeological finds, engravings, drawings, posters, books, cookbooks, newspapers, photographs, postcards, movies, as well as set designs.


The exhibition is divided in 4 sections, each with an introductory panel in English (and Italian, of course): territory (production), market (distribution), kitchen (processing) and table (consumption). 

It all starts from the land, the fields shaped by nature and human labor; Italy has a very diversified territory and a long and complex history with many overlapping peoples and cultures.  

Then it is the time for the markets to link together territories and people; an exchange venue for the circulation of products and knowledge, ingredients and traditions. Local roots and exports go hand in hand in Italy, enriching our national food culture.

In the kitchen the food finally takes form; rules and know-how transform products into eating food. The 19th century marks the creation of a canon for the modern Italian cuisine, a nation-wide process that draws from regional varieties.

Food then reaches the table where it becomes a collective ritual of existence and pleasure. It’s eaten and shared at the table, image of society, which defines the community and its rules, hierarchy and much more.

Enjoy the yummy culture & history ride!