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A Rome Photography Exhibition At The Baths Of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome are hosting a photography exhibition of the famous Italian Photographer Letizia Battaglia that should be part of your plans.

photography exhibition rome - Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini

With the backdrop of the visually striking Baths of Caracalla in Rome, the work of the legendary Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia will be on display in celebration of her life, her work and an upcoming book called: Senza Fine. The exhibit runs from May 27, 2023 until November 5, 2023 and it is included with the €13 entrance fee to the Baths of Caracalla.

Who Was Letizia Battaglia?

Letizia Battaglia was a combination of civic engagement, social justice and a photographer with an artistic eye. She was born in Palermo, Sicily in 1935 and became one of Italy’s first women photojournalists. She began working for the Palermo L’Ora evening newspaper in 1969. She began photographing leading intellectuals such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, documenting cultural and social events, like trials and demonstrations around Italy.

She was an activist, photographer, publisher, journalist, filmmaker, environmentalist, Councilor for Livability in the City of Palermo, Regional Deputy at the Sicilian Regional Assembly, an actress, a writer and so much more. She passed away in Palermo on April 13, 2022, at the age of 87. Since 2022, the Associazione Archivio Letizia Battaglia has looked after her archive.

The Rome Photography Exhibition At The Baths of Caracalla

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of mafia attacks on St. John Lateran and San Giorgio in Velabro, Rome is dedicating an exhibition to the photographer in two newly opened spaces at the Baths of Caracalla. These rooms are a hall that, in ancient times, would have been moderately heated, with a large pool for specific functions. The second newly-opened-up space, where the photography exhibition itinerary begins, was formerly an entrance vestibule to the western gymnasium.

photography exhibition rome - Exhibit Poster

Letizia Battaglia Exhibit Poster

Letizia Battaglia’s Fifty Years As A Black And White Photographer

Letizia Battaglia began her career as a photojournalist in the early 1970s in Milan, Italy. During those early years she took the shots of the first demonstration of the feminist movement and Pier Paolo Pasolini during a painful debate against censorship.

In 1974 she returned to Palermo and from that moment (until 1991) she directed the photographic team of the evening newspaper L’Ora. From crime news to car accidents, from political rallies to entertainment, nothing escaped her lens. In 1975, after joining up with actor Franco Zecchin in Venice, they began to photograph together for eighteen years and they wrote one of the most poignant pages in the history of Italian photography.

Mafia Photographer

The rise of the Corleonesi family, with Totò Rina and Bernardo Provenzano climbing to the top of the mafia family and then of the “Commission” (the structure that commands the mafia) led to the terrible Season of Blood, which since 1977 had completely absorbed the lives of the two photographers. 

photography exhibition rome - Collection

Letizia Battaglia Collection

This season of carnage killed not only the mafia members who are at war with each other for control of the territory and drug trafficking, but which also unleashed a war against the Italian state and against all those who opposed the power of the Mafia families.

After judges Falcone, Borsellino were murdered in 1992, and after Father Pino Puglisi was barbarically killed in Brancaccio, Letizia Battaglia decided to stop photographing Mafia crimes. Her final image on the subject, a portrait that became iconic of the struggle against the Mafia, was a 1993 picture of Rosaria Costa, widow of Officer Vito Schifani, and member of the security details, who was killed in the May 25, 1992 assassination attempt on Judge Giovanni Falcone.

Photographer Letizia Battaglia And Her Technique

Letizia Battaglia was a self-taught photographer, and although initially not very technically proficient and lacking in knowledge about photography, she was a natural in image composition, immediately demonstrating her sensitivity. She photographed incisively using her trusty Pentax K-1000 and a wide-angle lens.

As the years went by, her technical skill grew and she deepened her knowledge of the great masters, yet her style always remained highly personal. Her style was considered closer to the American and French photography styles than to Italian art photography.

By today’s standards, she would be considered a Street Photographer in that she would walk around capturing her vision of day-to-day life in the streets of Palermo. Also by today’s standards, though, it is unlikely that as a reporter she would get such close access to crime scenes and be able to put on art exhibits on the subject of these types of horrific crimes.

Letizia Battaglia Without End (Senza Fine)

An upcoming book, Senza Fine is a tribute to Letizia Battaglia. This exhibition of the same name offers a vision of her work that lasted five decades and tries to follow her way of breaking the mold with a single project, distributed over several spaces, where a wide selection of photographs narrate the multiple aspects in a timeless, non-chronological, athematic way of his way of photography.

photography exhibition rome - Outdoors

Outdoor Art Exhibit

What Are The Baths Of Caracalla?

The Rome Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla) is a complex of public baths that were built in Rome around 217 AD and continued to be in use until around 530 AD. The architecture of the baths, and in particular the frigidarium, was influential and had a significant impact on many other buildings, like the Baths of Diocletian, Pennsylvania Station in New York City and Chicago’s Union Station.

Summer Opera At The Baths Of Caracalla

In addition to this amazing and important exhibit of photographer Letizia Battaglia, Rome’s Opera House (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma), is staging a huge summer festival among the ancient Roman ruins at the Baths of Caracalla. In addition to opera, the festival will include symphonic music, dance, jazz and pop concerts. The 2023 Caracalla Festival spans more than 50 evenings from May 30th until August 10th.

More Great Roman Summer Vacation Ideas

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