The Rooms of the Witches

Along the exhibition path, ten rooms unfold, each of which stages a different aspect of the witch’s life. A suggestive sound element accompanies the visitor throughout the journey. Voices, whispers, and agonizing screams evoke ancient rituals and, through the words of Magdalena Barile, a noted playwright, give voice to the witches themselves, who tell their own stories, from their first calling to their full self-realization, thanks to the use of magic. At the end of the visit, arriving in the final room, after gaining awareness of the true nature of witches and discovering, through them, their own vocation “for the craft,” whether beneficial or malevolent, visitors will be ready to write their personal spell in the great book of shadows.

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The Ten Maleficarum Rooms

First Room

The mothers of the witches: myths and models in antiquity

Witches are not an invention of modern times: they have lived among men since ancient times. A selection of images from the classical world gives voice to the wise women of ancient times, models of today’s witches. The voice of antiquity narrates its own rituals and prophesies the future, drawing a tradition of ancient mothers who evoke those of subsequent times.

Second Room

The vocation of the witch

The room focuses on how and why one becomes a witch. To escape the blows of a brutish husband, out of dissatisfaction with oneself, out of erotic desires, out of hatred for one’s enemies, or because of attraction to the moon or the power of plants. The voice of the witch defines herself, finding a way to escape her own unhappiness by acquiring power.

 

Third Room

The rituals of the witches

Witches use nature to assert their power, knowing how to derive from herbs tools for their affirmation, for dominion over the world. The narrative focuses on the ritual of evoking forces outside the human world. The word becomes a tool for action on the world, to manipulate and change it.

Fourth Room

The witch facing the world

The room is dedicated to the theme of how much and how the world seeks the witch, who is always denigrated and attacked in public. Princes, the wealthy, seek the support of the wise woman, but the witch is always publicly denigrated and attacked. Here, the paradox of society is highlighted, which, while seeking the powers of witches, condemns and marginalizes them publicly.

Fifth Room

The power of the witches

The witch, with gestures and words, spells and rituals, can dominate the world, exerting the control of her own will. The narrative focuses on the first time the witch performs the ritual and sees the manifestation of her power in others’ lives, exercising a manipulation of reality. The witch declares her power over reality: she affirms, laughing, that she can transform everything under her will.

Sixth Room

The Whims of the Witches

Witches are figures of fired imagination: they change the course of their action, even to their own detriment, carried by the wind of desire. Starting from the dark images of Goya’s Caprichos, a description of the witch as a fanatic of the game of destinies, a creature of whimsy and mutation, following the classical paradigm of Maga Magò in The Sword in the Stone, who claims that the thing she loves most is the game, chance, precisely the whim.

Seventh Room

The persecuted witches

The witch tells of her fear of being discovered, tortured, forced to reveal her secrets and those of her sisters of the night. The judge, the priest, the lord of the village, the humanist obsessed with dark presences, the monarch fearful of witches, are all figures of her persecution.

 

Eighth Room

The Genius Loci Room: The Emilian Witches

Of particular local interest is a room dedicated to Gentile Budrioli, “enormous witch of Bologna,” whose story is narrated in the exhibition through images and videos, and to the Emilian Witches also recounted in the text published by the publishing house Vertigo Bastian Balthazar Books and illustrated by the Italian artist Blackbanshee in which the stories of the witches in Emilia and Romagna are deepened.

Ninth Room

The Sabbat

The Sabbat is the magical moment of the witch, her affirmation, the sharing of power with her community. The witch tells of the excitement before leaving her miserable life, for the place of desire and the arrival at the place of celebration, in the encounter with the dark lord and his legions of creatures of the night. 

Illustrations by Enrica Mannari and artwork by Anna Paolini

As is customary, Vertigo Syndrome has invited an artist to revisit the themes covered in the exhibition. In the room that concludes the exhibition, the world of the witches will therefore be staged by Enrica Mannari, a Tuscan artist, creative, and author of numerous books on transformation and change.

The works will represent seven illustrated amulets, with seven promises that every woman can make to herself with the proactive attitude of cultivating “the witch within.” Seven magics to be cherished and used whenever needed. Seven phrases that evoke the inner power of women. Seven symbolic images that help them visualize the path.

This year, Stregherie, in the exhibition’s conference room, is hosting a small themed exhibition by illustrator Anna Paolini, who brings her INDOMITE project to Bologna: women who refused the role imposed on them and went ahead, head held high.

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Is the "Stregherie" exhibition suitable for children?

Repulsive potions and broomsticks

Vertigo Syndrome, the producing company of the exhibition, always has an eye for families visiting the exhibition, so that no one should ever be bored.

 

 

Younger visitors will be engaged in games and adventures within the exhibition path, at the end of which they will receive a “bewitched” prize and will have at their disposal a small witch’s den where they can prepare amulets and magic potions with spiders, snakes, and other mysterious materials.

 

Guided tours of the exhibition are planned for all schools of every grade, as well as educational workshops to be held on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Schermata 2022-10-10 alle 10.18.12