Hotel Immagine (Photography)

Hotel Immagine
Simone Donati

Since early 2009 I have started looking into mass events where heterogeneous communities show similar patterns of behavior. Traveling around the peninsula in search of myths and icons of the contemporary imaginary, and participating in the most oddly assorted events, I understood how my country is the most grotesque, funny, naïve, and fanatic to live in and to photograph. I searched for what drives people to aggregate to pursue a personal interest, which in the representation on stages, real or ideal, becomes collective.
— Simone Donati

Simone Donati (1977) was born in Florence, where he now lives and works. Recently he has focused on the political and social situation of Italy. Donati was selected as one of three finalists in the portrait category of the 2008 Sony World Photography Awards and received the 3rd place at the 2010 Ponchielli prize with Welcome to Berlusconistan. His photographs have been part of solo and group shows in Italy and abroad and have been published in the main Italian and international magazines, including Der Spiegel, Le Monde Magazine, Monocle, Newsweek, Newsweek Japan, and Vanity Fair. In 2015 he published Hotel Immagine, his first self-published book, about his five-year project following myths and icons of the Italian contemporary imaginary. Visit his website here!


Olim Palus (Photography)


Everything started in 1926, when Benito Mussolini arranged for the great drainage of a piece of land in the center of Italy. Pioneers from northern Italy were called to work on this project, to defy nature and malaria, with the promise of a house and ten hectares of land to farm.

Littoria was born six years later, a project designed by the architect Oriolo Frezzotti, and one of the major creations of the Rationalist movement; the city quickly gained worldwide attention.

After World War II, the city changed its name to avoid any reference to Fascism; today, Latina has 120,000 residents and is surrounded on one side by the mountains and on the other side by the sea.

The photographs shown here depict the short, layered life of a very young Italian city. A vertical shifting vision, where the city opens itself up as it takes the shape of a contemporary archeology.

The city’s history, after all, is unique and fast-paced, as opposed to the thousand-year-old history of Italy, but it is still storing in its shape the sequence of its own path: pain, death, glory, identity, destruction.

— Gabriele Rossi


Gabriele Rossi was born in Latina in 1979. He studied photography in Rome and Milan before interning with Francesco Jodice on several editorial projects. Rossi returned to his hometown and found himself traveling backward through his memories, to compare how the city had changed. His photography book ITACA was published in 2017 by Yard Press, and he has been exhibited widely in Italy. Check out his website here.


Photography by Consiglio Manni


Berlin I

The high roadside where we lay was white

with dust. In that narrow place we saw

the numberless: the people press and pour,

the city loom far in the fading light.


Through the tumult crowded coaches bore,

along them lines of paper flags were tacked.

Omnibuses, roof and body packed.

Automobiles, smoke, horns with their roar.


Towards the giant stone sea. But we looked west,

saw tree on tree lining the road’s long rim,

the filigree of crowns whose leaves were lost.


The ball of the sun hung vast at heaven’s seam.

Out of the sunset’s road red streamers burst.

On all heads there lay the light’s last dream.

— Georg Heym, translated by Antony Hasler

Consiglio Manni was born in Puglia in February 1989. He moved to Milan and graduated with a degree in Audio Technology from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. He worked as a sound engineer for long enough to realize that photography was his real path. He was a staff member for three years at Besafe Studios, in Lecce. Now he is again in Milan, working for Circus Studios and as a freelance photographer. Visit his Instagram here, and check out his website.


Photography by Veronica Alessi


MARCH 14–15, 1925

Sidled up to a woman named Nadia – to whom I am drawn by very tender feelings – I am at the edge of the sea, a shore on the order of Palm Beach, a Hollywood beach. Playfully, just to scare me and to ascertain how hard I would take her death, Nadia, an excellent swimmer, pretends she is drowning. In fact, she does drown, and her lifeless body is brought to me. I begin to weep until the wordplay “Nadia, drowned naiad” [Nadia, naïade noyée] – which comes to me just as I am waking – appears to be both an explanation and a consolation.

From Nights as Day, Days as Night, available now.

With her 35 mm camera, Veronica Alessi creates scenes in which her subjects seem to be suspended in a dream-like atmosphere. Her photos often feature girls’ faces, bodies within solitary landscapes, and her focus is always on the light. Veronica Alessi was born in Lucca, Italy, and currently lives and studies in Bologna. She is passionate about photography, and through it she describes things she could not express in words. Follow her on Flickr.


Photography by Sara Rinaldi


From The Street Kids (Ragazzi di vita), by Pier Paolo Pasolini:

Nadia was lying on the sand, unmoving, her face filled with hatred for the sun, the wind, the sea, and all the people who had come to sit on the beach, like an invasion of flies on a table that’s been cleared. They were there by the thousands, from Battitini to the Lido, from the Lido to Marechiaro, from Marechiaro to Principe, from Principe to Ondina, in dozens of beach clubs, some lying on their backs, some on their stomachs, but those were for the most part old people: the young people — the boys in their long trunks, baggy or form-fitting, so that everything underneath was visible, the girls, those dopes, in very tight suits, their hair long — walked back and forth without stopping, as if they had a nervous tic. And they all called to one another, shouting, yelling, teasing, playing, going in and out of the cabanas, calling the attendant; there was even a band of young men from Trastevere in Mexican hats who were playing in front of the cabanas with an accordion, a guitar, and castanets; and their sambas were mixed in with the rhumbas of the loudspeaker at Marechiaro that echoed against the sea. Nadia was lying there in the middle in a black bathing suit; she had a lot of hair, black as the devil’s, curling and sweaty in her armpits, and the hair on her head was black like coal, too, as were her eyes, blazing furiously.

Sara Rinaldi began taking photographs in high school, and studied video making, performance art, and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna. She carries a camera almost all the time and takes pictures of everything – lights, people, colors, places. Her friends and the female body are her main sources of inspiration, and photography is her messy diary. She is currently living in Milan and working on her first photo book. Follow Sara on Flickr and Instagram


Lifting Ground Shadows (Photography)


Enrico di Nardo photographed “Lifting Ground Shadows” in the territory that used to be Lake Fucino, Italy, which was drained in the nineteenth century. Di Nardo’s photographs are eerie, lonely, like bits of memory that have floated up to the surface. He highlights the uncomfortable meeting of new and old natural environments – the replacement of a noxious natural space with a productive-yet-bland man-made space. 

From The Draining of Lake Fucino (1876):  

Those who dwell by the side of a dangerous lake, are always exposed to the risk of seeing their fields become a prey to the advancing waters often for several years at a time, and when at last by the receding of the lake they regain possession of their property, they have to incur a heavy expenditure to render the land fit for cultivation, besides being exposed to all the maladies produced by the swampy condition of the soil. But how long can they be sure of enjoying what costs them such enormous sacrifices? Sometimes the land scarcely begins to be productive when a new rising of the lake reduces them again to misery. But on the shores of Lake Fucino this terrible state of things was more severely felt than elsewhere, for the Marsi, who inhabited the very mountainous country about the lake, had no other plain but that of Fucino to which they could look for their supplies of cereals and other produce of the soil. The rest of the territory being, in fact, nothing but steep mountain sides on which cultivation was next to impossible, and which the interest of the country itself forbade to be cleared of its forests and pastures.

The Marsi seeing their inability to cope with the evil, had recourse in their ignorance to a supposed god of the Fucino, they raised temples to him and were liberal of vows and offerings, but in vain, for the capricious god did not cease in the least from his hostilities. The moment came, however, in which his victims reflected that there was a human genius which might successfully cope with that of the lake; they turned their eyes to Julius Caesar, and he, desirous of pleasing the Marsi, whose friendship he had learned to value during the social war, promised to come to their assistance.

Enrico Di Nardo grew up in Pescara, Italy, and graduated with a degree in physics from Pisa University. After studying neuroscience, he moved to Paris to conduct research on the neural basis of memory. He taught himself photography while on leave from the university and studied documentary photography in Rome for one year. Starting in 2015, his works have been included in group exhibitions and slideshows in Italy, Malaysia, Greece, and France. He took part in the performances of TempsZero and his work was featured in the photobook A Place Both Wonderful and Strange (FuegoBooks 2017), a collection of works inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks.


Dal Mago (Photography)

Dal Mago

by Renato Gasperini

Renato Gasperini turns his wry, intuitive eye on a local restaurant in the small town of Morro d’Alba (in the province of Ancona) in his series “Dal Mago.” Loud, bright reds and yellows predominate: there is red wine, meat ready to be sliced, red curtains, red walls beside painfully yellow walls. Gasperini’s photographs show a surreal, garish place, beautiful and horrifying, its oddness accentuated by periodic portraits of the restaurant’s mysterious former owner. This former owner is the most fascinating aspect of it all, with his peculiar frozen smile, which is echoed in the grimace-smile of the taxidermied fox that has been appointed to guard the liquor. Follow Renato Gasperini’s work, as he continues his excellent, ongoing project to photograph Ancona and the surrounding regions.

Renato Gasperini was born in 1967 in Ancona, Italy. He studied with photographer Guido Guidi, and he was in photography workshops with Davide Monteleone, Giorgia Fiorio, Ferdinando Scianna, Diego Mormorio, Valerio Spada, Gerry Johansson, Joachim Brohm, Peter Fraser, and others. He has been exhibited in galleries throughout Italy, and his work was recently highlighted in the 4th FotoFilmic//PULP Print Showcase in Vancouver. Visit his website here to see more of his work.


Dove da qui (Photography)

Dove da qui

by Sabina Damiani

Sabina Damiani: This project is a note about (almost) abandoned bus stops. It literally deals with time and the phenomenon of transition (traffic), and it comments on the silent disintegration of the once unique (unified) Istrian peninsula, as well as the cracked connections between the people who inhabit it. The spiritual community of a bus has been, to a large extent, replaced by a deceptive sense of individual, automotive independence: waiting rooms actually become informal monuments of the architecture of an overrun era.

There is a sense of emptiness I tried to capture with this project. A lost bus stop where no buses ever come, an infinite waiting for Godot (or for a better time) that never comes. I was also interested in non-places as Marc Augé depicted them; an impersonal, transitional space that we only see as we go by – we never stop, never think, never meet anyone.

Sabina Damiani was born in Koper, Slovenia, in 1985. She studied Visual Arts and Education at the Fine Art Academy in Venice and gained her MA in Photography at the Fine Art Academy Brera in Milan. Her work could be placed in the intersection of the creation of images and mapping – telling stories, researching collective and personal memories, as well as collective and personal amnesia, narrating the complexities of certain territories and the people who inhabit them. She has exhibited her works internationally and has been featured in a variety of publications, including Ignant, L’Oeil de la Photographie, Fotografia Europea, and Landscape Stories. Visit her website here.


Carmen Colombo (Photography)

Photographs by Carmen Colombo

From “Smog,” The Watcher and Other Stories, by Italo Calvino (trans. William Weaver):

Purification was the organ of an Institute, where I was to report, to learn my duties. A new job, an unfamiliar city—had I been younger or had I expected more of life, these would have pleased and stimulated me; but not now, now I could see only the grayness, the poverty that surrounded me, and I could only plunge into it as if I actually liked it, because it confirmed my belief that life could be nothing else. I purposely chose to walk in the most narrow, anonymous, unimportant streets, though I could easily have gone along those with fashionable shop windows and smart cafés; but I didn’t want to miss the careworn expression on the faces of the passersby, the shabby look of the cheap restaurants, the stagnant little stores, and even certain sounds which belong to narrow streets: the streetcars, the braking of pickup trucks, the sizzling of welders in the little workshops in the courtyards: all because that wear, that exterior clashing kept me from attaching too much importance to the wear, the clash that I carried within myself.

But to reach the Institute, I was obliged at one point to enter an entirely different neighborhood, elegant, shaded, old-fashioned, its side streets almost free of vehicles, and its main avenues so spacious that traffic could flow past without noise or jams. It was autumn; some of the trees were golden. The sidewalk did not flank walls, buildings, but fences with hedges beyond them, flower beds, gravel walks, constructions that lay somewhere between the palazzo and the villa, ornate in their architecture. Now I felt lost in a different way, because I could no longer find, as I had done before, things in which I recognized myself, in which I could read the future. (Not that I believe in signs, but when you’re nervous, in a new place, everything you see is a sign.)

Carmen Colombo was born in 1991. After earning a degree in Photography and Visual Arts at the Istituto Europeo di Design, in 2013 she attended a documentary course at Luz Academy in Milan. She is currently living and working in Milan as a freelance photographer; she is also developing her personal portfolio. She exhibited some of her works at the Photofestival Milano (2012) and at the Jitterbug Gallery in Paris (2016). Her project “Al di qua delle montagne” has been recently selected for the Emerging Talent Awards 2016, and it was exhibited at the Macro Museum in Rome in December 2016. Next March she will publish a book from her work “Al di qua delle montagne” together with Balter Books, a publisher from Turin. Visit her website here.


Beatrice Migliorati (Photography)

Photographs by Beatrice Migliorati

How did you begin taking photographs?

I remember I was in a tiny train station waiting room in Trento, waiting for a three-hour train ride back home. I was sitting there, bored, and I saw these brown chairs – four in a row – just in front of me, with a light gray marble wall behind them. It was so simple yet so strong and evocative: probably because that setting was pretty anachronistic, I felt like I was back in the ’70s. I started photographing it with my phone but it was so disappointing, I felt the need to have more control over the creation in order to better express what I was living. I really felt like “writing things down” without using words, communicating through impressions. A couple of months later I started using a film camera and studying a lot, teaching myself. I try hard to embrace and translate into photography the feeling a place could evoke.

What is your photographic process like? Do you carry your camera with you everywhere, working spontaneously, or plan your photographs in advance?

I’m really bad at planning when it comes to photography: I usually write down some general ideas for a series but I only photograph when I feel the need. When I worked on Saturday nights I used to go out, as normal, carrying the tripod and the cameras and eventually stopping to photograph; I had some subjects I wanted to photograph, but my ideas mainly came spontaneously by looking out the car window. I always go around with at least a camera, anywhere I go, even to the supermarket or to university. I can’t help doing it in this way, I can’t predict how the light will look like so I need to be ready even when I’m out for the most banal errands.

Why do you photograph on film?

I started with film when I was about 14; my parents gave me a Lomo camera and I enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately it broke after a while and I gave up. I tried several times with digital but it never worked out for me. I think film throws me into reality: analog photography turns a real moment into an existent object, it’s not a mere and inconsistent simulacrum, it has substance. And it made me much more patient and careful.

Who are some photographers (or other artists) who have influenced you? How have they influenced you?

Among the photographers I really admire are William Eggleston, Todd Hido and Wolfgang Tillmans, all for different reasons: Eggleston taught me that everything is worth a portrait and that there are no poor subjects, he helped me become aware of prosaic and daily scenes; Hido helped me in creating the groundwork for potential stories, starting from evocative sceneries that drag you into the space, making you feel the subject of that piece of reality. Tillmans’ work, especially the still lifes and portraits, helped me to focus on details and close-ups, to get physically and emotionally closer to the subject, leaving aside for a moment the environmental space.

I really like music as well and I mainly listen to Italian music because I often translate the songs into images automatically. I hope to work on that soon.

What are some subjects that you do not (or would not) photograph? Why is that?

I wouldn’t set any limit, I often change my mind and go back to things that initially didn’t feel right to me – I’m currently trying black-and-white film for the first time. All those opportunities actually thrill me, there’s always something new to explore, from different points of view. The only limit I have is myself. Taking photos of people, for example, is really difficult for me because I feel I can’t fake it, I need a connection with the people I portray so we need to get to know each other, I need to sit down, have a coffee and a long chat and make sure that the person I would like to photograph is comfortable with it.

Beatrice Migliorati was born in 1996 in a small village in northern Italy. She lived in Scotland for one year and she is currently living in Bologna, where she studies philosophy. Follow her work on her Instagram, Flickr, and Tumblr.

Beatrice Migliorati’s photographs will be displayed at Galetér di Nadia e Rachele from April 1st to April 22nd, and at a bookshop in Reggio Emilia, Italy, as part of the Fotografia Europea Festival from May 5th to July 15th.


Dreary Town (Photography)

Dreary Town

By Enrico Doria

Enrico Doria’s series Dreary Town was inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities: “Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.” Doria photographed his series with a Holga camera, capturing the towns of Sicily (Trapani and Palermo), Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen, Sarajevo, Milano, Johannesburg, and Tallin.

Thanks to Doria’s distinctive look (high-contrast, slightly shaken, and deliberately imperfect), his photographs feel at times like glimpses. The glimpse of a man or woman going to work, or to the train station; a wanderer glancing upward. Yet there is a deliberate sameness to these glimpses, which extends from Johannesburg to Paris. The sameness of modern life, of the memories created by an identical commute. Here the well-traveled city is a receptacle of memories (psychically recorded by workers and travelers), which are all alike. Doria writes that he wanted to portray the “impersonality of the city, showing the cold regularity of some urban architecture and the small places in which many of us are living, sometimes in contrast with the spaces all around.” 

Enrico Doria was born in Palermo in 1978 and received his PhD in Genetics and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Pavia. He currently works in Pavia. His photographs have been published widely in several national and international magazines, including LensCulture and Lomography. He has exhibited his photography, which he often shoots on medium format film, in various Italian and foreign cities, including at the Spaziofarini6 Gallery in Milan. Follow his work on his website here.

Doria recently prepared a book dummy for his photography series Esprits, which you can – and should! – check out here.


Egypt in Silence (Photography)

Egypt in Silence

By Violetta Tonolli

Violetta Tonolli on “Egypt in Silence”: Living in Cairo makes me forget the feeling of silence. Living here accustoms us to a continuous and perpetual noise, one which becomes the soundtrack to each and every one of our lives.

Walking through thousands of bodies, which move slowly and continuously in every direction; walking through the cars, the donkeys and their carts, the bicycles, the motorbikes and the microbuses makes me feel part of a stream of life, but at the same time immensely lonely.

The rarity of the experience of silence makes it even more important and precious for me and so I tried to capture the silence of Cairo with my eyes, looking for visual expressions of emptiness which would restore an experience of wellness with my inner self, a positive sensation of solitude.

The aesthetics of silence accompanied me in the desert, where I looked for traces of human life, above all traces of abandonment, which would bring me a sense of inner solitude. This intimate feeling of solitude was linked to the one I felt in Cairo. The experience I uncovered through my camera has helped me to rediscover myself within the context of a conscious solitude; a solitude that has made me feel closer to the deeper parts of myself and, in consequence, more capable of appreciating and understanding the numerous faces of Egypt.

In this compilation, I gather the images that represent the path I walked to attain this feeling of silence.

Violetta Tonollli was born in 1989 and grew up in Milan. At the University of Turin, she read Arabic and English literature and developed a passion for photography, which she then devoted herself to. Following her graduation, she learned from Fulvio Bortolozzo, a well-known cityscape photographer and professor at the IED of Turin. She traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East and resided for two years in Egypt.

Tonolli now lives in Paris, where she continues her work in cityscape and experimental photography. She has exhibited her project “Egypt in Silence” in the Goethe Institute in Cairo, and the project was published in the photography magazine REST. She received first place in the 2016 “L’anno della luce” photography competition hosted by Phos Turin.


Oh Serafina! A Fable of Ecology, Lunacy, and Love (Fiction)

Excerpt from Oh Serafina!

by Giuseppe Berto

translated by Gregory Conti


In which, as Signora Palmira
remains rather frustrated,
another character leaves us.

He left, as is only natural, for his wedding journey. He had told the bride that, for their honeymoon, they would be going to the city of the Saint, and she had asked him if by chance he was referring to Padua, the city of Saint Anthony, which she had never seen but which she didn’t have much desire to see, and he had replied that it wasn’t Padua, and so she, a bit audaciously, had thought of San Remo, where at that very time they would be holding the Song Festival that ever since she was a little girl she had watched on TV, all three nights, before some obscure oversight committee had imposed on an entire country to do without two of the three. There, she thought, her strange and in many ways gloomy husband, by taking her to San Remo for the Festival, was fighting the arrogant callousness of people who, their own hearts having hardened, wanted everyone else’s to harden too. Fascists, Palmira called them, even though now, by matrimony and wealth, she was no longer a proletarian.

But, instead of San Remo, the city of the popular songs, Signora Palmira came to find herself in the city of Saint Francis of the downtrodden, Assisi, where, shit, there was a festival of sacred music going on.

However, it wasn’t for the sacred music that Augustus the Second had made the long journey to a place that was, all in all, out of the way, nor for the olive trees that “made the slopes pallid and smiling with sanctity,” nor for the clear sky and breathable air. He had pushed himself all the way there for the sole purpose of admiring, in person and up close, the famous painting by Giotto whose photographic reproduction he had hung in the Administration, on the wall opposite his desk.

Indeed, upon their arrival in the town so sweetly perched on its hills, Augustus the Second, even before going to drop their bags at the “Sister Moon” pension, where he had reserved a double room with bath, ran, holding his recent bride by the hand, to steal his way into the Upper Basilica, where he effortlessly discovered his painting. Nobody had ever told him so, but he knew that it was right there where indeed it was.

He stood before it, immediately fascinated, but then also a bit amazed and bewildered, not so much because of the extraordinary nature of the deed represented, for to him there was nothing extraordinary about it, but rather because, voila!, through the art of a consummate painter, something so fundamentally normal as chatting with a few songbirds was portrayed as sacred, or even miraculous, and in the end he felt, not without trepidation, caught up in the sacredness. And as this sort of spiritual uplift pervaded him, he kept on holding his recent bride by the hand, maybe out of distraction, or maybe because unconsciously he was hoping that even she, perhaps helped in some way by the flux of emotion that he himself was undoubtedly emanating, would rise to the sphere of superior perception and supernatural relation that we are accustomed to calling mysticism. But Signora Palmira, on account of her nature and constitution, was not cut out for such celestial journeys, and anyway the thing couldn’t even get off the ground due to the intervention of a humble Franciscan friar who came to say, so the lady was dressed in a way that was a bit too revealing, fine; so instead of praying she was constantly working her chewing gum, fine; but the transistor radio, crackling with the silly songs of that profane festival, had better be turned off.

“If that’s the way it is, we’ll go outside,” replied Palmira, full of decorum, and she put the accent on “we” so the little friar would understand that she would also be depriving the cult of Saint Francis of her husband who, if he had married her without so much as discussing it, must be the kind of jerk who did everything other people wanted him to do.

But her husband, without taking his eyes off of the sacred painting, replied, “You go outside, and don’t break my balls.”

Signora Palmira looked at him, at first incredulous but then very quickly indignant, hating him more than she had hated him up to that moment, because she could see perfectly well that the jerk would not be moved. So she stiffened her back and, still working her gum and listening to the radio, went out to the square in front of the church where, little by little, her anger waning but her self-pity waxing, she began to think that their marriage, which she had firmly desired not to say plotted for, might actually be a calamity if the man she married, instead of taking her to the San Remo Festival, had brought her to this place for losers that made her feel so sad.

Eight days they stayed in Assisi, and she never again set foot in the Basilica, where that friar had treated her so discourteously. She stayed in bed with her trusty radio and her thoughts, or, still listening to the radio but with fewer bad thoughts, she would go sit in the sun at a table in some outdoor café.

He, on the other hand, outfitted with a hunting stool he had bought for himself, spent the whole day, until the light grew too dim, sitting in front of his fresco, apparently a dullard but actually searching, although confusedly and at bottom without a lot of torment, a more uplifting justification for having found himself in the world talking to birds. Who knows, maybe he would have managed to find that more uplifting justification, or rather, in plain words, he might at least have gotten closer to his own state of holiness, but for the fact that in him, as in any other being, but in a form certainly more exalted and distinct, there was both good and evil, the wolf and the little boy, so that, after all that daytime uplift, when darkness fell, in a sort of schizophrenic dichotomy, he was overcome with lust and wantonness. So, in the double-room with bath at the pension “Sister Moon,” he threw himself like a mad man on the body of his bride.

He relished that body to the point of delirium, not only its perfectly modeled buttocks, but also everything about it that was soft and curvaceous. And there was plenty to relish. Abundant, firm breasts, round tummy, raised pubic mound, glorious hips, shoulders and arms and feet. He gazed at it, caressed it, kissed it, licked it, all the while emitting sounds of sensual gratification.

The bride, gum in her mouth and radio at her ear, let him do as he wished. Only sometimes, when it seemed to her that he was dragging things out a little too much, she would intervene to ask, “But when are we going back home? We can’t spend all this time away from the factory!”

“Signorina Rosa will look after the factory,” he answered, still grazing.

And she took offense. “She’s deaf, blind, old, and brainless. What do you mean she’ll look after the factory.”

“She’ll look after it. She knows how things were done in my grandfather’s time, bless his soul.”

Signora Palmira would have liked to tell him exactly what she thought about his blessed grandfather and his entire family of nut cases, but she held back, waiting for a more opportune time. She felt, how to put it, as though she were expanding.

Anyway, the time eventually came for them to head home.

As soon as they arrived, Augustus the Second went to the door of the bedroom where his mother had shut herself in, and said, “I’m back, Mama. Everything went fine.”

He got, obviously, no response.

Signora Belinda, as everyone knew by now, was not doing well at all. Her personal physician, Doctor Bardi, had come to examine her a few days ago and he was worried. Unable to come up with a diagnosis, he had advised hospitalization, but the patient had said no, and had refused to allow the doctor to examine her again. So her personal physician was kept outside the door too, asking her questions that never got an answer: Had she had a bowel movement? Did she have a fever? Feel pain, nausea, dizziness? Nothing.

A few days later, however, she sent for her son. She didn’t even look at him. She waited for him to come to the side of the bed, and said to him, “You’re the one who wanted me to die.”

Augustus the Second did not comment.

After a long pause, Signora Belinda added, “Your father was a halfwit, you’re a total nitwit, and your wife is a whore.”

Even then Augustus the Second made no comment.

Signora Belinda let an even longer silence go by, summoned her energies, and concluded, “The child that will be born is not yours. The father is Carlo Vigeva. And now, get out of here, let me die in peace.”

She died during the night, without any further disturbance.

Giuseppe Berto (1914-1978) started writing novels when he was a prisoner of war in Hereford, Texas, from 1943 to 1946. He went on to write some seven novels, as well plays and many screenplays, including several based on his own novels. He won all of Italy’s major literary awards, two of them in the same year for his masterpiece Il male oscuro (1964). All of his novels except La gloria (1978) and Oh, Serafina! (1973) have also been published in English.

Gregory Conti recently translated The Fault Line: Traveling the Other Europe, From Finland to Ukraine, published by Rizzoli Ex Libris. In addition, Conti has translated works by Rosetta Loy, Mario Rigoni Stern, Tiziano Scarpa, and Alessandro Barbero. After growing up in Pittsburgh and studying at Notre Dame (B.A. in American Studies, 1974), at Yale (M.A. Am. Studies, 1976), and at Yale Law School (J.D., 1980), he immigrated to Italy and now teaches at the University of Perugia. Follow his work on his website


Lido (Photography)


by Allegra Martin

Allegra Martin took this series of deliciously lethargic, sun-bleached photographs in 2013 and 2014 in northern Italy. The images are part of her photographic research, which was commissioned by Osservatorio Fotografico (a photography research group based in Ravenna) for the project “Where We Live.” Osservatorio Fotografico launched this project in 2009; its goal was to build a visual archive of the city of Ravenna. 

Martin’s corner of Ravenna was Lido Adriano, a seaside town a few miles away from Ravenna. It is a town full of condominiums, Martin reports, “where you meet lives, stories, and destinies.” As she was photographing, she felt as though she was in search of something, and that something eluded her.

The spirit of this town, however, did not elude her. Her photographs truly seem to embody this little seaside town, this little condominium, these bored little old Italian men and women. Martin’s focus on place is phenomenal, lending her work a unique intimacy, creating an entire psycho-geography of this ignored locale.

Allegra Martin was born in Vittorio Veneto and she currently lives in Milan, Italy. She graduated from the Venice Institute of Architecture in Venice. In 2015 she took part in the photographic research project “The Third Island,” and in 2012 she participated in "Welfare Spaces." Her photographs are currently on display at “On New Italian Photography” curated by Fantom at Viasaterna Gallery in Milan. Visit her website here.

Photographs by Allegra Martin are featured as part of the collective exhibition LACUNA/AE. Identity and Modern Architecture in Venice. The exhibit will be open from May 28 to August 28, 2016, at Venice’s Torre Massimiliana, on Sant’Erasmo island.


More Italian photography from the Spurl Editions blog: “Villaggio Laguna” by Francesca Gardini


Villaggio Laguna (Photography)

Villaggio Laguna

by Francesca Gardini

As part of an upcoming exhibition, Francesca Gardini, along with 16 other photographers, documented formerly industrial areas of Venice, Italy, that have since been redeveloped into residential complexes. Gardini took on Villaggio Laguna, a district that is as far from Thomas Mann’s Venice as anything could be, to show the interplay between this district’s past and its new, transformed self (the “real” Venice still looks a hell of a lot better than the “real” Los Angeles). Gardini’s photographs of this neighborhood, focusing on its architectural history and inhabitants,  are utterly gimmick-free: beautiful, simple, composed, and almost addictive. They are reminiscent of Guido Guidi’s photographs (which are gorgeously collected in the book Veramente). Guidi was in fact Gardini’s professor at IUAV, the Venice Institute of Architecture, and continues to be her mentor. The way Gardini captures people, in this series as well as in her other work, is also remarkable – her subjects appear to be just passing through, or bored, waiting for the city’s next transformation.

Nulla si crea, nulla si distrugge, tutto si trasforma. – Francesca Gardini

Villaggio Laguna, by Francesca Gardini, will be featured as part of the collective exhibition LACUNA/AE. Identity and Modern Architecture in Venice. The exhibit will be open from May 28 to August 28, 2016, at Venice’s Torre Massimiliana, on Sant’Erasmo island.

Francesca Gardini was born in Lugo and grew up in Ravenna, Italy. She graduated from the Venice Institute of Architecture. In 2010 she took part in a photographic research project, “Get to things get to places,” in the largest complex of rock drawings in Europe, Valle Camonica (Le cose e il paesaggio, a+mbookstore, Milano), and she has been selected for the Citizenship.Giovane fotografia at FotografiaEuropea012, ReggioEmilia. Her portraits have been shown at the Fotografia.Festival Internazionale di Roma, 2014. Visit her website here, and follow her on Instagram here.