Italy’s ancient piazzas continue to gather people and its cathedrals are filled with art that still inspires pilgrimage.
Shadowy Roman colonnades and stone aqueducts thousands of years old stretch over the open countryside. There are medieval hilltop towns where nothing ever changes.
For photographer Martin Parr, the parade of tourists through Rome, Florence, and Venice are an inspiration, a flow of energy and objects: plastic maps, souvenirs, cameras, disposable raincoats. The visitors bring their own local styles into the old neighborhoods.
What Martin Parr sees in Italy is a harmonious clash between old and new, slow and fast, local and global. What seems stylish and what seems ugly may be flipped at will, reexamined by his camera. A plastic bag billows like a wedding dress in the wind. Pigeons pace the Florentine piazza like any other pedestrian. Meanwhile life at the espresso counter goes on every morning. Coffee should be taken standing up, quickly, before stepping back out onto the street.
The Italian locations of Gucci Places are a rich setting for Martin Parr’s portfolio of images featuring Gucci watches. At Rome’s Biblioteca Angelica, founded in 1604, the books don’t age between their tanned leather covers. It was the first public library in Europe, with 180,000 manuscripts still awaiting the hand of a reader, connecting today with centuries past.
The Castello Sonnino near Florence is a family home that dates back to the 13th century. The estate harbors collections of everything from tea strainers to antique treasures. Open a drawer to find a wristwatch left by an ancestor, or dive into the wine cellar for an old bottle.
By Kyle Chayka.