La nave della Sila


The scenic reconstruction of a ship, dramatically effective thanks to set design and clever use of lighting, curtains and space, not only gives a picture of the ordeals suffered by Italian emigrants, but also offers a historically and scientifically correct account that is both moving and easy to read.

The display of an amazing collection of photographs, illustrations and old magazine covers, made possible by the generosity of a myriad of foundations, institutes, agencies, publishers and private collectors (including the Fondazione Cresci, Fondazione Agnelli, Corriere della Sera and Istituto Luce) is accompanied by texts by Gian Antonio Stella that illuminate the story with numbers, poetry, literary testimonies and statistics; it recounts the dramas experienced by entire villages, individual families, men and women and children. Thus we offer a quick overview for schools groups or a more focused and detailed visit for people with a keen interest in specific aspects, such sea voyages, shipwrecks or the "death ships", reconstructed through a unique and largely unpublished iconographic collection.


Like any steamship, the La Nave della Sila also has funnels. There are three of them and each one contains special exhibits. The first one houses a little music room, where the visitor can listen to emigration songs, from a huge repertoire selected by maestro Gualtiero Bertelli. The second hosts a reconstruction of third-class berths. Photographs, sounds and smells help give a vivid depiction of the desperate conditions endured by those who left for America. The third funnel is fitted out by Istituto Luce; here, you can view a range of films on the theme of emigration.

There are even two classic curved "dorade vents". The first has been fitted with a computer, which recounts the story of a family from Calabria, while the second contains a name-by-name roll call of Calabrians who landed in America. Upstairs, a large meeting room is equipped to host conventions and conferences while a lecture room is given over to screenings and meetings. The facilities are rounded off with an Internet-equipped library and film archive on Italian emigration.