Venezia si difende 1915 – 1918 -Architecture, Photography
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Palazzo Ducale. Scala dei Giganti covered by sand bags, gelatin print, 1915 - Giovanni Caprioli

Venezia si difende 1915 – 1918

A century after the beginning of First World War, Civita Tre Venezie is exhibiting 350 original photos from the Archivio Storico Fotografico on how the city of Venice defended itself during the time of the Great War.

The exhibition Venezia si difende 1915 – 1918 is curated by Claudio Franzini and based in Palazzo Fortuny. It tells the unusual situation of the city at the time of the Great War. Venice had its first awakening of war from the sky on 24 May 1915 and it was caught completely defenseless. Squads of lookouts had been formed by soldiers, as well as the Venetian volunteers were stationed lying in wait on the roof terraces day and night to sight the enemy. Their cry ‘Keep watch on the air!’ was coined by the armed poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. During this period (1915 to 1918), the city underwent 42 air raids dropping a total of 1029 bombs, causing a lot of material damages and  killing 52 victims among the population.

“besides its historical and symbolic value, the exhibit is interesting for its intrinsic photographic value. Many of the images go beyond the mere documentation of actions and events: they have been shot by well-established professional photographers, like Tommaso Filippi or Giacomo Giacomelli. You can perceive a professional “eye”, an aesthetic criteria. Most of the photos have been shot with large format cameras, but “portable” cameras supplied to the army and navy have often been used for the effects of the bombings”. says Franzini.

“The records of the destruction of the frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo in the Chiesa degli Scalzi were of great emotional impact: the masterpiece was irretrievably lost, which caused a strong international reaction also because people connected it with what was occurring on other fronts, such as the bombing of the Reims Cathedral”, Franzini adds.

The exhibition is held at Palazzo Fortuny and was produced and organized by Civita Tre Venezie. The catalog is published by Marsilio Editori  with essays by Cesare De Michelis, Camillo Tonini and Claudio Franzini.

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Venezia, Rialto, Fondamenta del Ferro. View of the Spiess brewery destroyed after the thirty-eighth air raid, gelatin print, January 26-27, 1918

Venezia, Rialto, Fondamenta del Ferro. View of the Spiess brewery destroyed after the thirty-eighth air raid, gelatin print, January 26-27, 1918

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satirical postcard. "S. Marco! ... " The Lion of St. Mark bites Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, postcard, letterpress printing

satirical postcard. “S. Marco! … ” The Lion of St. Mark bites Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, postcard, letterpress printing

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The end of an air strike. The recovery of the Austrian K. 228 seaplane hit by Italian anti-aircraft defense, fallen into the lagoon at the Casino degli Spiriti, gelatin print, August 14, 1917 ©Giovanni Scarabello

The end of an air strike. The recovery of the Austrian K. 228 seaplane hit by Italian anti-aircraft defense, fallen into the lagoon at the Casino degli Spiriti, gelatin print, August 14, 1917 ©Giovanni Scarabello

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Basilica di San Marco. Protection status of the church, gelatin print, 1916

Basilica di San Marco. Protection status of the church, gelatin print, 1916

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Venezia. Soldiers on a lookout, gelatin print, 1915-1918

Venezia. Soldiers on a lookout, gelatin print, 1915-1918

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San Marco’s Campanile. The Sansovino loggetta is covered and protected with sandbags, gelatin print, 1915

San Marco’s Campanile. The Sansovino loggetta is covered and protected with sandbags, gelatin print, 1915

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Venezia. View of the exterior of the Arsenal with the two lions protected by sandbags, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

Venezia. View of the exterior of the Arsenal with the two lions protected by sandbags, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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Monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni. First protection of the monument, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

Monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni. First protection of the monument, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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Basilica di San Marco. Interior. Protection of ambos, iconostasis, and the lombardeschi altars, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

Basilica di San Marco. Interior. Protection of ambos, iconostasis, and the lombardeschi altars, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Interior. Removal of the paintings from the ceiling, gelatin prints, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Interior. Removal of the paintings from the ceiling, gelatin prints, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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San Giovanni e Paolo church. San Girolamo, by Vittoria sculptor and other sculptures are covered and buried in the sand, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

San Giovanni e Paolo church. San Girolamo, by Vittoria sculptor and other sculptures are covered and buried in the sand, gelatin print, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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San Giovanni e Paolo church. Effects of a bomb splinter against the sandbag walls in defense of the monument Valier, gelatin print, September 12-13, 1916

San Giovanni e Paolo church. Effects of a bomb splinter against the sandbag walls in defense of the monument Valier, gelatin print, September 12-13, 1916

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Venezia. Commissario Arduino Colasanti, general inspector to monuments, attending the dismantling and transportation of the monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni, gelatin print, 1917

Venezia. Commissario Arduino Colasanti, general inspector to monuments, attending the dismantling and transportation of the monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni, gelatin print, 1917

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Venezia. Transportation of the monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni to Campo S.S. Giovanni e Paolo. Detail of the horse separated from the captain, gelatin print, 1917

Venezia. Transportation of the monument to Bartolomeo Colleoni to Campo S.S. Giovanni e Paolo. Detail of the horse separated from the captain, gelatin print, 1917

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Palazzo Ducale. Fortifications at the Palace and the Scala dei Giganti covered by sand bags, gelatin print, 1916

Palazzo Ducale. Fortifications at the Palace and the Scala dei Giganti covered by sand bags, gelatin print, 1916

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Palazzo Ducale. Scala dei Giganti covered by sand bags, gelatin print, 1915 - Giovanni Caprioli

Palazzo Ducale. Scala dei Giganti covered by sand bags, gelatin print, 1915 – Giovanni Caprioli

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SS. Giovanni e Paolo Church. Interior. Protections with sand bags and mattresses para-splinters, gelatin print, 1915 - Giovanni Caprioli

SS. Giovanni e Paolo Church. Interior. Protections with sand bags and mattresses para-splinters, gelatin print, 1915 – Giovanni Caprioli

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Palazzo Ducale. Porta della Carta covered according to the operations of protection, gelatin print, 1916

Palazzo Ducale. Porta della Carta covered according to the operations of protection, gelatin print, 1916

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Venezia. Interiors of Chiesa degli Scalzi after the Austrian bombing, gelatin print, October 24, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

Venezia. Interiors of Chiesa degli Scalzi after the Austrian bombing, gelatin print, October 24, 1915 ©Tommaso Filippi

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Various types of enemy bombs dropped on Venice during the "eight hours” night, gelatin print, February 26-27, 1918

Various types of enemy bombs dropped on Venice during the “eight hours” night, gelatin print, February 26-27, 1918

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Basilica di San Marco, Removal of one of the horses of San Marco

Basilica di San Marco, Removal of one of the horses of San Marco

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[divider]For more information [/divider]

www.treoci.org