On the centenary of Italy’s entry into World War I, the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation has promoted and organized the exhibition The Great War. The World against Itself, curated by Alessandro Schiavetti. The event aims to remind the public of one of the most tragic chapters in the history of humankind, which wreaked havoc around Europe and the world for five years. World War I is also known as the Great War because never before had so many soldiers, populations and fronts been involved in combat. It was also the first war to exploit advanced technologies, with the production of new weapons by a number of factories, ready to support the war effort.
The exhibition will be organized thematically into two main categories, one devoted to the global conflict and the other to the involvement of the local communities in wartime events, with an overall focus on the enhancement and contextualization of the pieces on show.
The first section will deal with the main historical stages of the conflict, both at a national and international level, analysing the timeline of events and battles, with particular emphasis on the war fought by the Kingdom of Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The reasons for and the causes and consequences of the Great War will be illustrated by means of exhaustive printed panels featuring photographs and original wartime records. Visitors will be able to see historical uniforms of belligerent armies, weapons and objects used by soldiers, helmets, gas masks. The pieces will be contextualized through reconstructions such as the portion of a trench and a camp hut for soldiers behind the lines.
The second section will focus on Tuscany. Although our region was not involved directly in major military clashes, it was nevertheless scarred by the war and suffered important consequences that are worth considering.
About 450,000 Tuscans set off for the Great War. Over 40,000 of them died. Some of their letters will be on display which bear witness to their courage, their fears, their desire to go back home.
A space will be devoted to the Regia Marina Militare (the Italian Royal Navy) and the bombing of Portoferraio (Elba) by the Austrian submarine U-39. A part of the exhibition will be dedicated to the air force, which was engaged for the first time in a large-scale conflict, and to the airships that patrolled the coastline.
Apart from the episodes and numbers strictly linked to battles and military operations, the exhibition will deal with the role of the Red Cross and the consequences that such a large-scale war had on civilian populations.
The Great War. The World against Itself
14 March – 3 May 2015
Exhibition Hall of the Hermann Geiger Cultural Foundation
Piazza Guerrazzi 32, Cecina (LI)
Open daily from 4 to 8 p.m. Free admission.