In Europe, the myth of the Vittoria Alata circulated since the Renaissance. Nobody, however, had any idea of its whereabouts. It was quite a surprise when, on July 20, 1826, an imposing bronze statue was unearthed underneath the Capitolium of Brescia, exhibiting the legendary traits of the Goddess. Brought to light by a group of patriots against the will of Austrians oppressors, the icon of victory was immediately associated with the ardour of the coming Risorgimento. Napoleon III wished to admire it in person, the poet Carducci dedicated an ode to it, D’Annunzio fell in love with it, while casts and copies spread across every continent and scholars sought to understand the work’s enigmatic past. Almost 200 years after its discovery, the Vittoria Alata returns to the spotlight - a restoration has brought back its ancient splendour and the new, scenographic display by Spanish architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg sees it returned to the location where it was found, the Cidneo Hill. The event marks the rebirth of Brescia’s rich archeological heritage with its roots in Imperial Rome. The past meets the contemporary in the numerous events planned for the occasion - at the centre of it all is the Park of ancient Brixia which, spread over six hectares, represents the larges archeological site of Northern Italy.
Fragile and magnetic, a young woman stares out at the spectator beyond the canvas - not even its creator could pull himself away from the portrait of Concha Emiliana de Ossa, today in the collec-tion of the Pinacoteca of Brera.