Points of view on the reggian Apennines


There are places which seem to have a heart,
places which represent the “secret garden” which each one of us holds inside,
which remind us that the present is meaningful because there is a “before”.

(Rosa Maria Manari)



The people of Nismozza call Mount Ventasso “In tel fade”, ”where the fairies live”… This is a journey in the Reggian Apennines in Northern Italy, along the places of memory and in the memory of places, in the foggy autumn landscapes, in the desert villages covered with snow at the end of the winter, in the animation of runners who explore the land in the heat of summer. A journey accompanied by different voices, because thousands are the interpretations and the points of view on a territory. As Benedetto, one of the protagonists of this narration, says: “The Pietra of Bismantova is a different stone depending on where you look from”, and each one of us sees the surrounding landscape in different colors and shades. One of the points of view is that of the photographer-watchmaker Amanzio Fiorini, who in fifty years of work portrayed thousands of mountain people, as well as landscapes, ceremonies and popular events of the Reggian Apennines.



Photographer-watchmaker Amanzio Fiorini was born in Nismozza, in the Reggio Emilia Province, in 1884. He then emigrated to the United States, amnd precisely to Chicago, where he began photographing with a small Kodak. Upon return to his homeland he opened a photo studio and became the photographer of the whole Secchia Valley. In fifty years of work he captured thousands of mountain people’s faces, landscapes, ceremonies and traditional feasts. He died in Busana in 1961, leaving to his family a photographic archive consisting of 30.000 plates, 4.000 negatives 6×6 and a few prints. His pictures were featured in prestigious photo magazines such as Time Life and in an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Even the world-famous Alinari brothers were interested in acquiring his archives…