Via alla spiaggia!

Off to the beach! This is one of my favourite photographs taken by Gina Lollobrigida that I thought I’d share in her memory following her death, aged 95, this week. To me, her photojournalism is as important as her acting career and I love how it captures lovely moments of the ‘ordinary’ in ‘everyday’ people’s lives.

This photo is from Lollobrigida’s book, Italia Mia, and the copy I have was originally printed in 1973, making it 50 years old. I’ll also be turning 50 this year (which I still can’t quite believe!) and it makes me realise how, at different stages of your life, time can pass both slowly and then very swiftly!

So many elements of this photo evoke something in my own past. Going to the beach as a child with Nonno Anni and Nanna Francesca (in their ute not a Vespa!) The same hat Nonno Anni sometimes wore. A similar basket bag Nanna Francesca carried. And then, there are the woman’s shoes – shoes that in my life I have seen so many Italian women wearing, in both Italy and Australia. I don’t know what it is but seeing small, broad, olive-skinned feet in these sensible yet stylish shoes is so lovely and comforting, evoking memories of Italian kitchens, women at the market, Nanna Francesca opening her purse to give me forty cents to buy an ice block. Incredible how one photograph can capture in that split second so much that can still stay with you half a century later. Vale Gina! xx

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