A photographer’s ode to an Italy that no longer exists
By Aileen Jacobson, CNN
6 minute read
3:32 PM EDT, Fri September 15, 2017
For a year in 1964, photographer Hope Herman Wurmfeld walked around Italy with a camera, always "ready to shoot when I saw something beautiful." Nestled in the Italian Alps in northwestern Italy, the city of Aosta is known for its ancient structures, including a Roman theater, frescoed medieval chapels and a seminary. This photo is part of "Vintage: Italy 1964," an exhibition at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò in New York.
This cluster of nuns in a shopping arcade in Venice made her stop. Second Vatican Council reforms made that year caused many religious orders to shed their habits, marking a watershed year in Italy.
Wurmfeld used a wide lens to capture this scene in a poor section of Palermo, where two women were taking in the street scene -- and perhaps their photographer -- while their household laundry hung to dry. "Women were inside a lot," Wurmfeld says. "They were taking care of children or cleaning."
Men gathered in a piazza in Trastevere, the neighborhood in Rome where Wurmfeld lived, caught her eye. "They seem to be having an interesting discussion," she says, although they could also have been playing cards. The area is now a fashionable upscale neighborhood.
People often layered posters on the streets of Rome, Wurmfeld says. She was intrigued by this juxtaposition of an advertisement for sparkling wine and a photograph of US President John F. Kennedy, who was shot in November 1963 and had been much loved by Italians.