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The largest communities are to be found in Milan, Rome, Padua and Venice.
On April 24th, 2010, around 6:30 p.m, the preview of the exposition and the official inauguration of the permanent sculpture will be followed by other critical and institutional contributions.

Around 8:30 p.m. Marco Agostinelli’s video art, Erkat’agir/ Script of Iron in Matenadaran, inspired by Armenian writing and in general by Armenian symbolism, will be projected on the front of the church.

From its very origins, Armenian culture cannot be separated from the written word, from the Book. This anthropological fact is confirmed throughout Armenian history. In the Liturgy, the Gospel, ultimate locus of the Word, the expression of the incarn-ate Word itself, occupies an extremely importan VIDEO PROJECTION

t place: censed, never touched by bare hands, but with a precious embroidered fabric, during the ceremony it is solemnly held up to be worshipped by the congregation. It is estimated that the libraries in Yerevan contain some 14,000 Armenian codices.

The music of the video art was written by System Of A Down and their leader/poet, Serj Tankian. The well-known Los Angeles rock group is of Armenian origin and is deeply committed to the cause of bringing the genocide to international attention.. More music will be provided by Arto Tuncboyaciyan (Armenian folk music).


Over the centuries the Armenian people have, with few exceptions, lived a frontier life, geographically and politically divided between East and West, hostages of the ceaseless conflicts between empires and peoples (Persian, Greeks, Parthians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Ottomans, Russians…) in a country whose borders are so fluctuating that rarely has the geographic Armenia coincided with the Armenian nation, a nation marked by constant massacres and forced deportations.

The result has been a never-ending state of separation and Diaspora, which has necessarily driven the Armenians to live together with other cultures without however losing their own identity founded on and consolidated by their cultural, literary, linguistic, religious and artistic tradition rather than by the country they happen to be living in.

After 1915, the Diaspora scattered Armenians all over the world but, at the same time, deeply reinforced their sense of be--longing.

So the exhibition/event, Anime Cadute, Naufragio di Stelle, is closely linked to the powerful symbolic role which Armenian culture has assumed as a form of resistance against the attempts to wipe out its identity, brought about not only through persecutions but also with the destruction of its millennial cultural heritage, of its historical and artistic vestiges; the churches, the monasteries, the cemeteries, the Katach’kar, memorials that have become the symbols of a threatened identity.

The exposition and the project as a whole seeks not only to lend a spiritual awareness to now already known historical events though, alas, not yet fully admitted, but above all to absorb into a distinctly artistic approach, the memory and the denunciation of an entire populace, which though dispersed all over the world, still maintains intact its own strong and sound identity.

All the works have a highly evocative appeal, but it is in their overall interrelationship that an awareness emerges of a social, political, spiritual and religious pattern that represents the true significance of the entire undertaking.

In its various stages, this event represents this continuity in terms of space and time.

A course that begins in Venice where a flourishing trade of Armenian merchants evolved. The first books in Armenian were printed in Venice and the Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni is part and parcel of the city’s artistic and social heritage. The course continues in Rome where in the Middle Ages Armenian pilgrims were the perfect liaison between the Eternal City and a country where Christianity was for the first time chosen as the state religion. Coming then to Paris and Los Angeles, cities where numerous Armenian communities have sprung up, ideally representing the continuity between the first Diaspora and the new generations.

Lastly, Yerevan, highlighting in this way the return to the homeland.

So we feel we can say that with this project, and thanks to art, to a deeply committed art, every Armenian all over the world can return to his or her country. And the sacrificial victims of that terrible decade, will be commemorated and further acknowledged so that at last justice will be done to the historical events that painful-ly took place and their memory perpetuated for all times, as a re-minder and a warning for all future generations. Because at the very moment we are launching this important project, today, in other parts of the world, similar atrocious crimes are still being committed which for political and economical, ethnic and religious reasons, end up destroying whole other nations both physically and culturally. In a systematic and highly organized way. After all, the genocide of the Armenians took place only 95 years ago…


The Church of San Nicola da Tolentino is located in the Trevi district, on the street of the same name and only a few steps away from Piazza Barberini and Via Veneto.

The church was built by the Discalced Augustinians in 1509, but was then immediately reconstructed in 1654 by the Pamphilj princes on a design by Baratta, whereas the façade was designed in 1670 by Francesco Buzio.

The high altar, as the other altars in the church, is the work of Alessandro Algardi and is, according to Armellini, “a masterpiece of 17th century folly”. In a recess over the altar is a group of statues representing The Vision of San Nicola da Tolentino with the Virgin Mary, St. Augustine and St. Monica. The Gavotti chapel was designed by Pietro da Cortona, with statues of Antonio Raggi and Ercole Ferrars. The first chapel to the left contains the reproduction of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

After the Discalced Augustinians, the neighboring convent was taken over by Battistine nuns. Today it is the home or the Armenian Collegium, whose services are held in the church.


The close relationship between Italy and Armenia and especially between the Armenians and Rome is centuries old. Certain proof of this was offered by documents in the great 2000 show, “Roma – Armenia”.

Not only the cultural and commercial trading that distinguished the history of the two peoples, but also the centuries-old presence of the Armenian community in Rome, testified by, among other things, its religious settlements, first in the Church of Santa Maria Egiziaca, then in that of San Biagio alla Pagnotta and of San Nicola da Tolentino.

But also the ancient Hospice on Via Giulia and the Pontificio Collegio Armeno which was donated by Pope Leo XIII in 1838 and still today represents a point of reference for the industrious community which has always fitted into local society with no exclusion of any kind, while remaining at the same time loyal to its age-old traditions.

It is precisely these strong ties that have enabled the Armenians to interrelate with Italian society “without trauma” and, in particular, with the Roman community.

The relationship between Rome and the Armenian people was also confirmed by a series of very important formal decisions: in 2000 the Town Council voted unanimously a motion of solidarity with the Armenian people; in November, 2006, a plaque of the City of Rome was officially unveiled, in memory of the Armenian martyrs of 1915 and lastly a green park in the 16th Administrative District was named after them.


There are countless places in Italy that speak of an Armenian presence ever since the year One Thousand. Traces of it are still to be found in place-names and in the names of churches and houses.

In addition to the Christian faith professed by of monks who came from Armenia and settled in both Northern and Southern Italy, there was the Italian tradition of venerating Armenian saints (St. Biagio of Sebaste, first of all), who often became the patron saints of town and villages. In the Middle Ages, this context, not only religious but also deeply cultural, stimulated the creation of important spiritual settlements which also served as meeting places for the numerous Armenian pilgrims passing through.

In addition to the Armenians’ religious presence, there was also their military and administrative presence (high-ranking Byzantine dignitaries and regents were frequently Armenian) and above all their commercial presence.

Many Armenian merchants settled in Italy to do business and ended by setting up or reinforcing the local market, especially in those cities with a natural bent for commerce (Venice, first of al, but also Leghorn, Genova, Bari, to mention only a few).

These Armenian communities did not always survive; they were often absorbed into local social life or were scattered by further migrations, so that today it is possible to find traces in urban centers of an Armenian presence which has ceased to exist for centuries but mention of which is still preserved, being as they are deeply rooted in local history (in Pistoia, Perugia, Materia, in many Calabrian places, just to name a few examples). Or which reappear in family names (Armeno, Armeni…) as proof of a past legacy.

After the 1915 genocide, there was a Diaspora flood which however had a very limited effect in Italy.

Today, the Armenian communities in Italy add up to a few thousand people perfectly fitted into society, even so proud of their own cultural identity. The largest communities are to be found in Milan, Rome, Padua and Venice.


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
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