50 Amazing Photographs Showing Life in Italy in the 1960s

There were so many photographers of other countries that have documented Italy and the Italians, from Henri Cartier-Bresson to William Klein but the Barbey’s reportage is a shining example of how a photographer able to immerse himself in a documentary work can achieve to identify certain nuances in an extraordinary way.

Barbey is Magnum photographer who later showed us a masterful color reportage work, but this does not cut off that his work in black and white showed through this report represents one of the extraordinary pages of documentary photography.

It was the 1960s. Italy “raising its head” after the horrors and miseries generated by the war. The middle class, after so much suffering, knew the economic boom, a perhaps illusory enthusiasm, a new society maybe a little bit a la americana, in some ways. The music for example also became something of the young, creating the first cultural tribes. Fashion was now something that was beginning to be followed by more people, who finally had some extra cash to express their way of being. Yet in this context there were still pockets of dire poverty, especially in the south-center of the country. Italy was a land of fierce contrasts and this gives our eyes in this extraordinary fresco of Italy of that time.

In the early 1960s, Bruno Barbey crisscrossed Italy from North to South attempting to capture the spirit of the nation. “The Italians” is an evocative collection of Barbey’s modern Comedia Dell’Arte of beggars, priests, nuns, carbinieri, prostitutes and Mafiosi; archetypal figures whose exotic charms helped to make the films of Pasolini, Visconti and Fellini so popular.

ITALY. Sicily region. Town of Palermo. 1963.
ITALY. Liguria region. Town of Genoa. 1962.
ITALY. Naples. Children and a beggar. 1962.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. 1966.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1966. First communion.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1963.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1963. Sailors on shore.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. Men on leave from their military service. 1963.
ITALY. Lombardia region. Town of Milan. Supporters during a football match. 1966.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1966. At the opera.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1966.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. 1966.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1966. Watching a religious parade in the old part of the city.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Tuscany region. 1966.
ITALY. Tuscany region. 1966.
ITALY. Tuscany region. Town of Florence. 1964.
ITALY. Sicily. 1966. Town of Caltanissetta.
ITALY. Lombardia region. Town of Milan. 1966.
ITALY. Campania region. Town of Naples. 1966.
ITALY. Emilia Romagna region. Delta of Po river. 1966.
Milan. The central post office. Clients buying “getones” telephone coins.
ITALY. Lombardia region. Town of Milan. 1966.
ITALY. Calabria region. 1966.
ITALY. Town of Naples. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Naples. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Naples. 1964.
Lazio region. Rome. 1966.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Rome. 1964 Ostia beach.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Rome. 1962.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Rome. 1964.
ITALY. Sicily region. Town of Palermo. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Milan. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Milan. At the Opera. 1964.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. 1966.
ITALY. Town of Milan. 1964.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. 1966.
ITALY. Town of Naples. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Milan. Railway station. 1964.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. Trastevere district. 1966. Flea market.
ITALY. Lazio region. Rome. 1966.Store near the Vatican.
ITALY. Sicily region. Town of Trapani. 1966.
ITALY. Town of Naples. 1964.
ITALY. Sicily region. Town of Trapani. 1964.
ITALY. Town of Matera. 1964.

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