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By Kai-Uwe Nielsen

Italy in Transition

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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