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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
14/05/18 09:33

The way we were when Genoa was really ‘La Superba’​

Pillola's unpublished pictures – illustrated by Sirianni – recall the fifties and sixties under the ‘Marvellous’ Lighthouse of great business and luxury private parties

Genoa was not only the number one Italian port town for five centuries at the times of the Republic, but it was still marvellous only half a century ago, as two protagonists of those times recall.

The latter, reporter and ‘paparazzo’ respectively, prepared a volume that, with its over 200 black and white pictures and a few descriptive chapters, testifies how the upper-class Genoa lived, worked and above all had fun during the fifties and sixties.

Some of the most blazoned families – many of which were rooted in shipping as it has always been the main Genoese activity – of the Ligurian chief town, which at those times was also one of the three main Italian economic centres, are depicted in the original and unique pictures (dating back to 1953) took by Alessandro Vermini, popularly known as ‘Pillola’.

Vermini's pictures are chronologically ordered by another outstanding figure in local communication, i.e. the journalist Vittorio Sirianni, who is also a local TV host since 1974.

“Recalling the good times, when Genoa was culturally advanced and it held a prominent economic position. Genoa lived on port, ships, steels, oil companies and trading, and it had not yet been trapped by its traditional and conservative attitude. Influential people gathered in exclusive and trendy clubs on the Riviera or in their villas for family and private parties”, Sirianni explained.

Vermini always managed to attend these gatherings and to take pictures of the Genoese establishment (whose descendants are still top managers). The volume entitled “Quella Meravigliosa Genova” [“That Marvellous Genoa”] depicts great entrepreneurs, politicians, administrators, celebrities, parties held in luxury homes, children's birthday parties, great balls and other curiosities through beautiful pictures.

This photographic heritage, of which S2S disclosed only a few pictures, was handed down also thanks to notary Federico Solimena, shipowner Alessandra Grimaldi, shipping agent Alfonso Clerici and freight forwarder Fabrizio Parodi, who persuaded Pillola to publish his pictures and helped him sorting out all the photographs stored in 60 years of activity.

The publication was first launched at the end of last year and it is still available in the bookshops supplied by the Genoese editor De Ferrari.

Meanwhile, Pillola is still working on his second volume: “There are still hundreds of pictures recalling the history of Genoa, of its personalities, its work, its tragedies and its successes, its sunsets and its beauties over almost 60 years”, the photographer wrote. “Thanks to my friends who encouraged me in this first venture, I am already working on other volumes to rediscover that marvellous Genoa that we hope – as our Mayor Bucci promised – will become marvellous again for the next 60 years”.

Angelo Scorza