Alberto Franchetti


curated by Laura Gasparini and with the collaboration of Monica Leoni and Elisabeth Sciaretta. In collaboration with Association for the Musician Alberto Franchetti of Reggio Emilia


The recent donation by the Ponsi family, sons of Elena Franchetti, which took place in 2022 to the Association for the musician Alberto Franchetti of Reggio Emilia, which in turn deposited them in the Panizzi Library, consists of 74 color stereoscopies housed in column stereoscopes in wood, no. 2 albums containing black and white photographs and about ten other photographs and loose documents. This fund has made it possible to highlight the interest in Alberto Franchetti’s photography understood as a language of Modernity tout court on the part of the musician and composer.


Interesting is his gaze, the shots, the plays of light that testify not only his attention but also his sensitivity to the world that surrounded him made up of intimate moments of poignant landscapes.
The documentation of some journeys undertaken by car, the photographs taken in Tuscany recall landscape painting.
The visual references are evident, with particular attention to the painting of the Macchiaioli. Also interesting are the numerous portraits of his young wife Clara Marini and his friend Giulio Piccini, aka Jarro, writer, journalist, but above all an artist in the culinary art.
Franchetti created some images that later became the cover of some issues of the periodical
Almanacco gastronomico founded and directed by Jarro himself.
The acquaintance with Gabriele D’Annunzio, whose tragedy Ladaughter di Jorio he set to music, performed at the Teatro alla Scala for the first time in 1906, allowed him to come into contact with the artistic world of the time, in particular with Adolfo De Carolis who illustrated the score of Jorio’s daughter in woodcut. As is known, De Carolis also practiced photography. Also noteworthy was Franchetti’s acquaintance with Mario Nunes Vais (Florence, 1856 – 1932) who gave us photographs from November 1906 of Franchetti and D’Annunzio in front of the piano in Franchetti’s villa in Florence, located a short distance from the residence of the Vate at Capponcina.


The car, speed (Franchetti told of himself that he loved composing his music at 90 km/h.) as well as photography were for the composer tools that allowed him to widen his perception, to experiment with other new languages ​​far from academic or fashion schemes.


Listen to the words of the curator

Alberto Franchetti (Turin, 1860- Viareggio, 1942) internationally renowned musician and composer lived in Reggio Emilia from 1888 to 1905, here he married Margherita Levi and composed some of his most important works. The Franchettis were Jews from Livorno. Father Raimondo (Livorno, 1829- Reggio Emilia, 1905) received the title of Baronet from Vittorio Emanuele II as he actively participated in the processes of the Unification of Italy. Alberto’s mother, Sara Louise Rothschild (Vienna, 1834 – Venice, 1924), of Central European culture, educated her sons Alberto, Giorgio and Edoardo, bringing them closer to art and music. Alberto began studying music in Venice and later attended the Dresden Conservatory, later in Munich where he probably learned to photograph starting in 1882, an interest he practiced throughout his life. Nineteenth-century musician crossed Modernism by accepting its challenges. His passion for photography, for motoring, for art, fashion and the art of cooking are a testament to this.


Biblioteca Panizzi
via Farini 3
Reggio Emilia



28 April – 10 September


Opening on Saturday 29 April at 12 noon
with Laura Gasparini and Emanuela Sesti


opening days
28th of April › 19-23
29th of April › 9-19
30th of April › 9.30-14
1st of May › closed


from 2nd of May to 10th of September
Monday – Saturday › 9-19
Sunday and public holidays › closed



Free admission