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Dreaming of the pirates

Museo della città • Polo Bottini dell’olio
Livorno and its sea in the Alinari Archives
Full price: €6, reduced price: €4
from Monday to Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Extended hours until midnight during Effetto Venezia

Dreaming of pirates. Livorno and its sea in the Alinari Archives” is the photography exhibition that will open at the Museum of the City of Livorno, Cultural Center of Bottini dell’Olio, from June 30th to October 8th, 2023.

Promoted and organized by the Municipality of Livorno, the exhibition is curated by Fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia with the sponsorship of the Tuscany Region together with the Municipality of Livorno. Curator Rita Scartoni from Alinari, Catalogue Sillabe.

On display are works from the precious Alinari Archives, one of the largest and oldest photographic collections in the world. The collection includes over five million pieces, many of which are unique, dating from 1841 to the present day, gathered in hundreds of archives and collections of great significance for the history of photography, not only in Italy. In December 2019, this archive became public thanks to the purchase by the Tuscany Region, a highly important cultural and political investment operation in recent years, which saved it from dispersion and fragmentation, ensuring its preservation and accessibility.

The connection between the city of the Four Moors and its sea, the social and cultural changes in Livorno, are told through a century (from the late 1800s to the 1960s) of photographers and photographs.

Starting with the daguerreotype of the Dogana D’Acqua attributed to Aristide Castelli around 1845, Livorno early embraced the invention of photography. In fact, in 1843, just four years after the discovery of the daguerreotype, Giuseppe Marzocchini opened the first photographic studio in Tuscany in Livorno, a record that applies not only to Livorno but to the entire regional territory, as claimed in an advertisement from the end of the century that defined the Marzocchini Establishment as “the oldest photography studio in Tuscany”.

The exciting exhibition at the Museum of the City will feature photos of beach resorts and bathers, rough seas, various ships, divers, fishermen, and other occupations related to the sea, as captured by Livornese photographers (or entire dynasties of photographers).

The names of photographic artists such as Bettini and Miniati will captivate photography enthusiasts and connoisseurs, while surprising visitors who will see their images for the first time with their charm.

Equally surprising and of a completely different nature are the hand-colored slides by Florentine scientist Giorgio Roster during his stays on the island of Elba in the second half of the 1800s, as well as other amateur photographs of summer vacations taken in the twenties and thirties on Elba.

As for the title, what does it refer to? It could be to an enchanting photo by Michele Vestrini from 1958 depicting a child sitting on a ledge of the Terrazza Mascagni, facing the vastness of the open sea with the famous ship “Vespucci” with its sails unfurled.

Or perhaps, the pirates?