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See Vintage Photographs from Italy at The Tampa Museum of Art

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Francis Frith (British, 1822-1898), The Pantheon, from the album Rome Photographed, ca. 1873Photo byFrancis Frith (British, 1822-1898)

A new exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art will show gorgeous vintage photographs from Italy this spring. The exhibit, aptly titled Travels In Italy, will feature photos of Italy's most popular cultural draws. These photos show the beauty of Italy before modernization. The exhibit will be on display until July 9.

The first glimpses of a new world

Travel in the 19th century was difficult, expensive and time-consuming. Prior to the discovery of a way to record an image by photography in 1839, the majority of Americans had only stories and the possibility of access to drawings, paintings, and etchings to illustrate the wonders of exotic lands overseas. Early photographers quickly realized that there was a demand for images of foreign lands and famous antiquities.

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The late 19th century in Italy was an era of radical transformation and growth. The Kingdom of Italy united the peninsula under one ruler, and a period of modernization and industrialization followed. This era saw the emergence of a strong economy, the development of infrastructure, and the growth of the population. Railways were built, and new cities were established. Education and literacy levels increased, as did the standard of living for many Italians. During this time, Italy also took on a more prominent role on the world stage, as it began to play a major role in international politics.

Vintage photographs from Italy

Travels In Italy will feature vintage photographs from the TMA’s collection of some of Italy’s most popular cultural draws like The Pantheon in Rome, the canals of Venice, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as well as lesser known treasures such as the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and Genoa’s Interior Gallery of the Camposanta. Included will be some of the best-known names in 19th-century travel photography including Giorgio Sommer, Francis Frith, Robert Macpherson, and the Alinari studio.

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