A lot of events are related to Italy and to Leonardo Da Vinci
Cuba: white beaches, unpolluted sea, the scent of spices, daiquiris and mojitos to the rhythm of Rumba and Salsa, but also a lot of art. On November 16, Havana celebrated the five-hundredth anniversary of navigator Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar’s landing on the Caribbean island in 1519. The anniversary coincides with that of Leonardo da Vinci, to whom the town’s historical office wanted to dedicate a museum. On the occasion, Havana has been restored and in this unique moment the city hosts the week of Italian culture, with hundreds of events.
At the museum of fine arts Wifredo Lam’s surrealist and cubist atmospheres stand out
I had the opportunity to attend these events together with a friend of mine, Miria Vicini, famous in Cuba after being appointed commissioner of the Cuban Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. As guests of the Italian Embassy, we participated in a number of unforgettable cultural events. I was stricken by the nature of the Cuban people, who, in spite of poverty and many historical and political issues: from Batista’s dictatorship to the revolution by the Líder Maximo, Fidel Castro to the embargo that still deprives the country of staple goods. Mario Biondi performed a jazz concert at Teatro Marti. On the occasion of the visit of the Spanish royal family, we attended a beautiful ceremony at the Museum of the Revolution, during which the institution presented a self-portrait by Goya, in the presence of the most important exponents of the Cuban and Spanish governments. Jorge Fernandéz Torres, the director of the Museum, guided us through the exhibition, retracing the history of the country through paintings, sculptures and installations by younger artists. Wifredo Lam’s works stand out domineeringly, with their primitive traits and their signature surreal and cubist atmospheres. Piero Mottola’s musical performance was remarkable. Havana is a decadent city, but it is also undeniably full of charm, with its 8 km long Malecón that overlooks the Atlantic, the golden dome of the Capitolium that can be seen from every corner of the city, the majestic and colourful palaces and famous Hotel Nacional, which still welcomes with its melancholic grandeur and the stories of the many people who stayed at it, and who made the history of Cuba and the world.