The exhibition

“Caravaggio might rather be the first modern age painter [...]. We should thus try to interpret this painter in a 'natural way', since he has tried to be 'natural' and understandable, humane rather than humanistic; in a word, popular”.

This was the though of Roberto Longhi (Alba 1890 - Florence 1970), one of the most fascinating figures in 20th century art history. He devoted his all life to studying the painting art by Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi, a.k.a Caravaggio, Milan 1571 - Porto Ercole 1610) and his followers, the so-called Caravaggesque artists. He did so since his graduate dissertation on Caravaggio in 1911. This was quite pioneering work in those times, when Caravaggio was one of the "least known painters in Italian art".

All the works exhibited come from Roberto Longhi Foundation for Art History Studies, which preserves the legacy of Roberto Longhi, who not only was the most important art historian in Italy, but also a remarkable collector.

Next to Caravaggio's paintings, there are those by his southern followers or in any case of those working in Southern Italy. They all belong to the same collection, thus effectively demonstrating the historical value of Caravaggio's art.

A film by Mario Martone, entitled Caravaggio, the Last Act and lasting 40 minutes, made in 2004 will also be shown. Through his camera, this great film director breaks down and reassembles details from Caravaggio’s paintings, as well as from some working-class neighbourhoods and outer suburbs of Naples.


The venue

Otranto, the eastmost Italian town, was always considered as a border to the East. Therefore, since its foundation, it grew as a "walled city". Its fortifications were completely rebuilt starting 1481, when Otranto was set free from the Turkish occupation. A year before, the islamic Ottoman army had led to the massacre of the 800 Holy Martyrs.

The castle, as it was first planned at the end of the fifteenth century, appeared as a four-sided building with four circular towers (Rondelle). One of the Rondelle jutted into the sea in the most prominent position, as we can read in the treaties of the famous military architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini (1439-1502). What we see today is the result of constant changes that affected the fortress throughout the sixteenth century, forced by the continuous evolution and improvement of weapons.

The castle is bounded on all sides by a deep moat and the entrance is reached over a bridge, that now sports a stone arch and a wooden deck. Formerly, it was probably a draw-bridge. A narrow corridor leads directly to the hall on the ground floor, from where one can access the various levels.

The façade is dominated by circular towers, originally crenellated, and then elevated in the early sixteenth century. Along the seaside, the Bastion - added at the end of sixteenth century - stands out against the sky, with its two diamond tipped façades.

Both on the outer façades and inside the hall some coats of arms are shown, dating back to the time of kings and nobles, who played a leading role in the history of the Castle. Among them the entrance sports the coat of arms of Charles V.

Recently the Castle has undergone major restoration, in order to become a modern and functional museum for the town and the many tourists.

Ph. Antonio Rotundo

Ph. Antonio Rotundo


ProjectJusepe de Ribera - San Tommaso - 1612 circa

Caravaggio and Caravaggesque Artists in Southern Italy from the Longhi Foundation Collection
Castello Aragonese - Piazza Castello, Otranto (LE)
from 11th June to 24th September 2017

Opening hours:
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 12 midnight (Ticket office closes one hour before closing time of the Castle)

The exhibition is accessible to the public with the entry ticket for the Aragonese Castle, including the Exhibition Roberto Cotroneo. Genius loci, in the Theater of Art.
€ 12.00 standard
€ 10.00 discounted ticket for groups of at least 12 visitors and special agreements (Italian Touring Club card holders valid for the year 2017), holders of Otranto Card
€ 6.00 special discounted ticket for visitors under 18, special agreements and for residents in the Municipality of Otranto
Free for children under 6, and under 18 with visiting parents, qualified tourist guides (with a group), disabled people and one accompanying visitor, accredited journalists.

Information: Tel. +39 0836 210094

Press Office

ProjectMichelangelo Merisi, detto Il Caravaggio - Ragazzo morso da un ramarro - 1596-1597 circa

Valentina Vantaggiato - Press Office Manager Municipality of Otranto
Mobile 339 2261678

Pierpaolo Lala - Società Cooperativa Coolclub
Mobile 339 4313397


Barbara Izzo - Arianna Diana
Tel. 06 692050220-258

Download the press release

Download the images's caption

To download the images, visit – sala stampa