photograph courtesy of the Italian Government Tourist Board
By Tess Sanders
Walking through the ever-bustling Manhattan Eataly it would be easy to miss the latest additions to the 58,000-square-foot Flat Iron-district emporium.
They’re dangling from the ceiling as you stroll past the Lavazza cafe, the house-made gelato, and the sweets: remastered Italian travel images. Some of these lush posters date back to 1920. The Italian Government Tourist Board hosted a reception to welcome the exhibit “A Vintage Tour of Italy.” Tourist board director Eugenio Magnani introduced the Italian consul general Natalia Quintavalle who cut the ribbon.
Thirty digitally revitalized posters of the original art works are in the show.
The stylistic representations mark nearly a century of travel art, from the hyper realistic rendering to bolder expressionism. One stunning poster is done in that modern style: I. Gnagnatti’s Italia from 1963. It is the eye-arresting image of a woman’s back with the word Italia scrolling across her red shawl. With little more than a block of incandescent coral, Gnagnatti captures the allure of the Italian woman.
In a time predating television these images were among the first to capture the sparkle of the now-beloved Italy as a destination. Today the proliferation of blogs like this one is the norm when it comes to Italy worship, but in the 1930s these images were all that foreign, prospective tourists saw of the country.
When she’s not contributing to SimpleItaly, Tess Sanders works for Macmillan Higher Education. Her office is serendipitously located across from Eataly.
When I inquire as to how long these iconic images will be showing at Eataly, I am told “at least through the new year.” After that, these vibrant posters will grace venues in Washington D.C., Chicago, Miami, and L.A.
Catch them at Eataly NYC while you can!