Paul Strand and Cesare Zavattini


curated by Laura Gasparini and Alberto Ferraboschi


This exhibit revolves around one of the first photo books ever produced in Italy: Un Paese – Portrait of an Italian Village, first published by Einaudi in 1955. The images of the U.S. photographer and the texts of the Italian author come together in this book, largely influenced by the Italian Neorealismo, to tell the lives and stories of humble inhabitants of a small village in the Po Valley, Luzzara, chosen as a mirror of the spirit of a community as well as of the universal rhythm of these lives connected to their land.

The exhibition also offers the opportunity to explore how the book was an inspiration to more authors, photographers, writers and artists, by becoming a reference in photography and literature in terms of exploring the relationship between image and writing: photographs by Gianni Berengo Gardin (who collaborated with Zavattini on Un Paese, Twenty Years Later in 1976), Stephen Shore, Olivo Barbieri, including Claudio Parmiggiani’s artistic research, will be on display.

Paul Strand (1890 – 1976) was a U.S. photographer and video maker. In 1915 he started being involved in the group revolving around Alfred Stieglitz, becoming himself an exponent of the movement promoting a straight photography, free from any pictorial limitation.

He later worked in film-making as a cameraman; in 1932 he founded Frontier Film, that he abandoned in 1942 to follow his real passion: photography. He spent the 50s working on two important photo books: La France de profil, with texts by Claude Roy and Un paese, with Cesare Zavattini. The following years were spent in a number of trips to Africa, and working on cultural reportages such as Living Egypt and Outer Hebrides.

His research has been characterized by an effort to find a mediation between his attention for social issues and his tendency for formalism.

Cesare Zavattini (1902 – 1989) was born in Luzzara (province of Reggio Emilia), a village he would feel connected to all his life. A multitalented intellectual, he is especially known as writer and cinema author. His first book, the widely successful Parliamo tanto di me, was published in 1931. In the same period, he also worked as an editor for publishing houses Rizzoli first and Mondadori later, where he was hired as editor in chief for all their published magazines. He moved to Rome in 1940, starting to concentrate himself on cinema works: he established a great partnership with film director Vittorio de Sica. Together they created masterpieces that became part of cinema history like Schoeshine, Bycicle Thiefs, Miracle in Milan and Umberto D.

He received several awards and prizes, including three Oscar nominations in 1948, 1950 and 1957, the World Peace Prize in 1955 and the Writers Guild of America Medaillon in 1977: an award only bestowed until then upon Charlie Chaplin.

Palazzo Magnani 10 am
Paul Strand e Cesare Zavattini. Un Paese. La storia e l’eredità
Guided tour with Laura Gasparini and Alberto Ferraboschi


MAY 13
Palazzo Magnani 4.30pm

Paul Strand e Cesare Zavattini. Un Paese. La storia e l’eredità
Guided tour – 3€
info and booking:, +39 0522444446


Palazzo Magnani  4.30pm

Paul Strand e Cesare Zavattini. Un Paese. La storia e l’eredità

Guided tour with Laura Gasparini and Alberto Ferraboschi


JUNE 23 
Palazzo Magnani 6.30pm

Strand Zavattini e la bassa
talk with Laura Gasparini and Simone Terzi
In collaboration with Fondazione Un Paese

Exhibition Venue

Palazzo Magnani
corso Garibaldi, 29
42121 Reggio Emilia


Opening Hours

inaugural days
May 5 › 7am-11pm
May 6 and 7 › 10am-11pm
from May 12 to July 9 Friday/Sunday
Friday › 6pm-11pm
Saturday › 10am-11pm
Sunday and holiday › 10am-8pm

Palazzo Magnani