The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - April 6

Powerful goddesses, spellcraft and the witching powers of women are the focus of a popular new exhibit in the central Italian city of Chieti. The show in Civitella Museum combines ancient archaeological finds with more recent artefacts to create a journey through centuries of female power, accompanied by haunting music.

The statues of three goddesses comprise the core of the exhibit, which features some 200 items in total. As well as a terracotta figure of an unknown female deity there are two marble sculptures representing the Greek goddesses of love and fertility, Aphrodite and Demeter.

All three icons of female power have been painstakingly restored after being unearthed in an archaeological site near Luco dei Marsi, a town southwest of Chieti. The importance of the statues in Abruzzan history stems from the ancient worship of a deity known as Angizia or Angitia, a local incarnation of the mother goddess.

The exhibit's organizers have arranged the finds against a backdrop of a forest, introducing visitors to a variety of female divinities. As well as statuettes and sculptures, the items on display include ancient amulets and talismans, jewels and votive objects, as well as good-luck charms from the 17th century onwards.

The exhibit particularly seeks to draw out the links between female power and the natural world, starting with a symbolic tree that greets visitors when they enter.