The spoils of the first Tutankhamun exhibition in the 1970s were earmarked to revamp the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. It never happened. But on the back of the latest sell-out tour, the world’s largest museum is being built next to the Pyramids
The rest of the world has been going crazy for Egypt since circa 12BC when a Roman praetor named Caius Cestius chose to be buried in a marble-veneer pyramid just outside Rome’s Ostian Gate.
More than a million people have now seen the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 Centre, a popular success that, although it has made fewer headlines, matches Tut’s first extravaganza in the 1970s, which packed out the British Museum for six months (tickets 50p) and criss-crossed America for three years. Its triumphant progress then (twice the number of people saw it at Seattle Art Museum as were living in Seattle at the time, for instance) earned the Egyptian Government a tidy sum by the standards of the day – $7million on the American leg alone – which was officially earmarked for a revamp of the display facilities at the treasures’ permanent home, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
After decades of Mafia rule in Sicily, locals are fighting back – and they are asking tourists to help them, by staying in B&Bs, eating in restaurants and shopping in delis that refuse to pay protection money. Stephanie Rafanelli reports
It was Sunday lunchtime in Palermo’s Piazza San Francesco and the air was thick with charcoal smoke and chatter. A vendor poked an octopus as it roasted on the open grill, releasing a whiff of warm olive oil and lemon that mingled with the city’s characteristic scent of brine and dust. A girl carried a tray of sweet cannoli high above her head, navigating stalls of sardine rolls and anchovies frizzling in floury pans. The crowd went about its usual business – church bells chimed and a christening party spilt out of Basilica San Francesco D’Assisi, bobbing the newly baptized bundle as they strolled.
But this was no ordinary Sunday market. It was the “Free Sicily” organic food fair, part of a growing and increasingly visible movement run by young Palermitans rebelling against the mafia, or Cosa Nostra, and the stranglehold organised crime has on the Sicilian people.