In the past seventy years Italy has made one of the greatest metamorphosis in good
old Europe. The cultural scars of the WWII have been deleted very soon and the beautiness
of the old medival and renaissance cities has been restored as well, but the the
most striking renovation could be observed in the small towns und country villages.
Paul Strands sensible pictures from the early 50ties in northern Italy show a still
archaic social structure (Strand, Paul: Un Paese, Aperture 1997). But the backbone
of the italian society, the traditional familia showed already these hints and painfull
cratches and cracks of an uprising decay and new orientation.
In the mid 80ties I joined an archeogical excavation in the mountains of the Apenino
near Bologna and was affected by the italian way of living. My fascination for the
italian cooking, la cucina bolognese, and for the italian irrational love for tasty
food was as great as my disappointment of the newly environmental degradation and
pollution of the formerly unspoiled italian landscapes. The consumption of nature
and peasant land for short living industries was in the prosperous northern provinces
of Italy breathtaking. The romantic roads, deriving from the romain age were replaced
by commercialy important but aesthetically brachial motorways. On the other hand
the post industrial relicts, like the ruins of industrial architecture of the post
war age, these monument of the fast changes are as photogenic as these indiscriminately
adaptations of the american way of life. The shopping malls and factury outlets in
the mid of nowhere and the gigantomania of the SUPERMERCATOS have replaced the old
style small shops in the neighborhood of the roman borgos. The italian grocer or
alimentari is sentenced to a slowly dying. An encyclopedic look at all these Italian
evolutions and revolutions was given by the italian photographer Gianni Berengo Gardin
(Gardin, Gianni Berengo: Italians - Italiener, Kempen 2000). As an native Italian
his sharp eye and sensitve heart documentated the italian sensitivities from the
early 1960’ to 2000’ in an impressive way.
It was the very own character of the italian love for beauty and design which created
for example these matchless stylish RIVA-boats or these peerless FERRARI’S and LAMBORGHINI’S
- but all of them with their loud and ponging machines. The Up to now the italian
society is very open for modernism in art and design. The price for this has to be
paid in a big change in the way of living. More….
Italy in Transition The northern provinces
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