23 Vintage Photos Showing Everyday Life in Italy During the 1950s

Born in Signa in 1928, Italian photographer Piergiorgio Branzi was raised in Florence, a city that “looks stern”, in which “color is just a pleasant accessory, a filler, although it may appear splendid”. A city that was “born from two stone quarries: one for ‘pietra serena’, the color of gray graphite, and the other “pietra dura”, the listless ocher of Palazzo della Signoria”.

This is how the great Tuscan photographer and journalist explains how his preference for the essential nature of black and white began, and became the means for him to represent and express the reality around him.

Branzi took his first photos with a 1950s’ Galileo Condor. His works have earned him great notoriety in Italy and abroad, traveling around the world: from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Guggenheim in New York, from the Fine Art Museum in Houston to the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, from the Tate Gallery in London to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.

These fascinating photos were selected from his work that he documented everyday life if Italy in the 1950s.

White wall with small window, 1953
Cliff, Ischia, 1953
Boy of Ischia, 1953
Arena under the snow, Florence, 1954
Alley in Via del Corso, Florence, 1954
Alley in Via del Corso, Florence, 1954
Black wall, 1954
Main square of Burano, 1954
White pigeon, 1954
Easter in Tricarico, 1955
Easter, Campobasso, 1955
Scanno, 1955
The clock of Comacchio, 1955
The first mass, Naples, 1955
Vicolo dei Donati, Florence, 1955
Contrada dell’Oca, Siena, 1956
Wedding in Valenza, 1956
Wedding in Valenza, 1956
Adriatic, 1957
Alley of Naples, 1957
Beach bar, Senigallia, 1957
Milan fair, 1959
Shooting range, Florence, 1959

(Photos by Piergiorgio Branzi)

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