Rome hosts Italy’s first major Tolkien exhibition

Tolkien show in Rome runs until 11 February 2024.

Italy is marking the 50th anniversary of the death of British fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien with a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.

Titled Tolkien: Uomo, Professore, Autore, the show dedicated to The Lord of the Rings writer was inaugurated on Wednesday and will remain open to the public until 11 February.

Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni was accompanied by culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano on a private visit to the exhibition which is hailed as the first of this size ever dedicated to Tolkien in Italy.

Meloni, a devoted Tolkien fan, described the exhibition as “very beautiful and complete, full of many things that I didn’t know”, reports news agency AdnKronos.

“It’s a very lively exhibition that creates a very beautiful reconstruction not only of the works, which are known, but also of Tolkien the man” – Meloni said – “When I studied literature, I liked very much to discover and understand about the author’s life because it helps to read their works better.”

The show, which comes to Rome 50 years after the first Italian edition of The Hobbit, comprises more than 150 works including photographs, documents, letters and virtual reconstructions of the first editions of the books from which the blockbuster fantasy trilogy by director Peter Jackson is based.

The exhibition aims to “illustrate the different souls of this extraordinary and multifaceted figure of an academic, man of letters, novelist, linguist, philologist and myth-maker” – Sangiuliano said during the media presentation in Rome last week – “His cultural and human richness is carefully reconstructed in an unprecedented exhibition itinerary that winds through signed manuscripts, rare images, memorabilia and works of art inspired by his literary visions”.

Sangiuliano, who was strongly in favour of hosting the exhibit, said it was made possible thanks to “the prestigious collaboration with the University of Oxford, the writer’s alma mater.”

TOLKIEN. Uomo, Professore, Autore. Photo © Emanuele Antonio Minerva – Ministero della Cultura.


The exhibition is curated by Oronzo Cilli, member of the British Tolkien Society and president of the Italian Tolkien Association, and produced by Alessandro Nicosia.

The show also includes a multimedia section “showcasing Tolkien’s plans in a spectacular way, as well as presenting everything that revolves around the fantasy world created by the British writer”, Nicosia said, adding that visitors can immerse themselves “in the world of Middle-earth thanks to the reproduction (in loop) of the full version of The Lord of the Rings“.

Entry to the exhibition is included in the standard €11 admission fee to the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea.

After the show concludes in Rome it will reportedly travel to Naples.

For full details of the exhibition and visiting information see GNAM website. Photo © Emanuele Antonio Minerva – Ministero della Cultura.