A year to remember

The year 2023 saw the celebration of Marmi Ghirardi’s 85th anniversary of its founding alongside several important anniversaries in the fields of literature (Alessandro Manzoni and Italo Calvino), art (Pablo Picasso, Maria Callas and Franco Zeffirelli) and civil society (Don Lorenzo Milani). Various cultural institutions also commemorated the centenary of their foundation, among them the Triennale di Milano and the Arena di Verona. Above all, 2023 was the year of the celebration of Bergamo and Brescia as Cultural Capitals, and it is in this territorial location that Marmi Ghirardi has its roots and corporate identity. A common thread links the culture of work to the art and the high culture: a relationship that Marmi Ghirardi has always set as its goal in the long course of its corporate history.

Bergamo Brescia Capital of Culture

The celebration of Bergamo and Brescia as 2023 Culture Capitals was triggered by the terrible pandemic event, and it was precisely the desire to overcome a very dark page that led to the definition of an unprecedented project. For the first time, the title of Capital has been assigned to two neighbouring cities: hence the opportunity to frame the values of the individual territorial identities through a common programme of events.

The dense schedule of exhibitions, displays and installations was intertwined with opportunities for entertainment and public participation. History and art acted as mediators in a reciprocal dialogue between various disciplines: theatre, music, cinema, photography, architecture, painting, sculpture. Thus a rich programme of concerts, exhibitions and performances; and then conferences, guided tours, workshops and meetings dedicated to four precise thematic areas: the ‘city of hidden treasures’, the ‘city of nature’, the ‘city that invents’, and ‘culture as care’. The two capitals were transformed into a stage for the representation of the present and a vision of the future.

Great importance was attached to the memory of the artistic past. In Brescia, in the Aula del Capitolium, the exhibition Il Pugile e la Vittoria (The Boxer and the Victory) brought together two of the main masterpieces of ancient bronze statuary. At the Santa Giulia Museum, the exhibition Miseria e Nobiltà (Misery and Nobility), centred on Giacomo Ceruti known as Pitocchetto, evoked the soul of 18th-century Lombardy and the realism of the emerging modern society. At Palazzo Tosio, the exhibition Luigi Basiletti e l’Antico presented the birth of local archaeology. In Verolanuova, the restoration of the monumental canvases by Giambattista Tiepolo and Andrea Celesti brought back the original colour tones, allowing a close-up view of the scaffolding on the building site. The figurative work of Angelo Inganni, a keen observer of 19th century life, was collected in Gussago. In turn, the city of Bergamo paid homage to two 16th-century masters – Lorenzo Lotto and Giovan Battista Moroni – then to the 17th-century Cecco del Caravaggio, and then to the relationship between painting and 19th-century melodrama with the exhibition Tutta in voi la luce mia at the Accademia Carrara.

Various protagonists of contemporary art took their place in the museum venues and city spaces. The result was a ‘mosaic’ of places that presented the two provinces along unusual itineraries: from the mountains, to the lakes, to the lowlands. It is in this territory rich in natural beauty and landscape, art and culture that Marmi Ghirardi maintains its roots and its corporate identity. The excellence that distinguishes its decades of activity is the reflection of an uninterrupted tradition, and it is to this that Marmi Ghirardi feels close and grateful.

Maria Callas

She has been called the Divina, the Absolute Diva. Maria Callas is etched in the collective memory as the most famous singer of all time. Born in New York in 1923 to a family of Greek origin, she began her dazzling career in Italy between 1945 and 1948. In 1949, she was united in marriage with Giovanni Battista Meneghini, her impresario, and from 1950-1959 she lived in Sirmione in a villa that still bears her name. This is the reason that links the Garda resort to the great soprano, whose centenary was celebrated with an initiative entitled ‘La Divina Emozione. Sirmione Callas 21- 23″, an integral part of the “Homage to Maria Callas” festival now in its 23rd edition.

Marmi Ghirardi has once again renewed for this year its sponsorship of the event promoted by the Lombardy Region, the Province of Brescia, the Garda Community, the Garda Lake Lombardy Consortium and Garda Musei.

The programme of musical events was inaugurated on June 23, 2023 with the evening “Callas and Maria. Three sopranos in concert’. Another seven concerts, from 22nd August to 22nd September 2023, under the artistic and technical direction of Michele Nocera and Elena Trovato took place at Villa Callas, the Spiaggia delle Muse and Villa Cortine Palace Hotel.

The leitmotif of the repertoire – between melodrama and jazz – followed the Divina’s ‘homelands’: America, Italy and France, passing through Naples and her meeting with Enrico Caruso.



Sculpture is an art that falls between the figurative form and the architectural form, between the image and the construction. As in the work of Antonio Canova, ideal beauty is born from the skill of the workmanship. Marble is the material of choice as much for the execution of statues and bas-reliefs as for the design of actual spaces. This is the case in the Temple of Possagno, designed as an integration of sculpture and architecture. The same principle animates the Chiaramonti Museum in the Vatican, set up by Canova himself according to this dialogue; or the monument to Maria Christina of Austria, where the pyramid structure is an integral part of the plastic composition.

After the Canova celebrations in 2022, Italian sculpture was the focus of other impressive exhibitions held this year. The legacy of classical craftsmanship resonated in the tributes to Arturo Martini (1889-1947) and Giacomo Manzù (1908-1991), respectively at the Museo Luigi Bailo in Treviso (31st March-30th July 2023) and at the Arca and former Church of San Vittore in Vercelli (10th March-21st May 2023). The works of the two famous sculptors highlighted their sensitivity for the material: from stone to terracotta, from bronze to plaster. The poetic languages of Martini and Manzù represent a synthesis of history and modernity, balance and dynamism. In both artists, the values of plastic beauty appear through the fusion of virtuosity, solemnity and vital energy.
Thus in female portraits, still lifes, religious subjects.

Arturo Martini wrote that the statues ‘weigh tons and seem as light as a feather’. This is the idea that accompanies Marmi Ghirardi in the love and executive care of stone material, within a tradition that has deep roots in Italian art.

85th anniversary

2023 was Marmi Ghirardi’s 85th year in business. Founded in 1938 by Angelo Ghirardi with his eldest son Renato, the Carpenedolo-based company has seen the succession of three generations involved in stone trading and processing. The enthusiasm that characterised the beginnings is today the expression of a brand of international relevance, as demonstrated by the many achievements all over the world: from public to religious works, from large hotels to shopping centres.

Marmi Ghirardi is synonymous with “Made in Italy” for the quality of materials and the level of executive results, but also for the attention devoted to research and environmental sustainability. It is the values of work and belonging to the territory of origin that fuel the company’s spirit and animate its entrepreneurial character.

The celebration of 85 years of Marmi Ghirardi was the occasion for many initiatives. These included two parties in music entitled ‘Marble without Borders’. The first event took place in the evening of 22nd June 2023 within the setting of the Cava Alta at Monte Budellone in Gavardo. The setting of the walls of Breccia Aurora welcomed a large audience, involving them in the concert of the Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra. The sounds and rhythms of a lively repertoire spread with enchanting acoustic precision, almost as if in a natural theatre. Margherita Abita’s voice stood out in the sound weave of traditional instruments, drawing the audience into a collective dance. Great was the emotion of the participants, who had a truly unique experience.

The second event took place the following evening at the Meadow of the Walnuts, at the Grotte di Catullo in Sirmione. The atmosphere in the splendid Garda location was completely different, where the performance of Federica Vitali, Aida Pascu and Darija Auguštan, accompanied on the piano by Debora Mori, paid homage to the figure of Maria Callas. A few steps from the home of the great soprano, who lived here between 1950 and 1958, the magic of bel canto was renewed. The notes of Bellini, Verdi and Puccini, but also Leonard Bernstein and Henry Mancini, sealed Marmi Ghirardi’s bond with the world of art in all its most vivid forms and manifestations.

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