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Italian Islands in Hamburg - Archipelago 2021

Italian Institute of Culture Hamburg (Germany), 2021

Observing the islands of the Mediterranean, from the Pelagians to the Cyclades, passing through the Aeolian Islands, the Tremiti Islands, the Pontine Islands, the Tuscan Islands, the diversity of these is evident, in terms of location, conformation, resources and history. Living on these islands means finding a meeting point between the sea and the land and, of this relationship, the houses, with the morphology of the settlements and the architectural typology, represent a reflection of the local culture.


During the second half of the twentieth century, most of the Mediterranean islands dedicated themselves almost exclusively to tourist activity, abandoning their history, their productive realities and therefore also their cultural identity. Just think of some Italian examples: Elba which, since Etruscan times, was an important reality in the steel industry, with the iron extraction quarries, or Favignana with fishing and tuna production of which, with the family Florio, was an important innovator worldwide. This tradition, productive and closely linked to the natural context in which the islands are found and which determined their economic, social and cultural development, is now annihilated and, in the best cases, remembered in museums that are visited only by the most curious travellers. The diversity of the islands tends to be remembered only for the landscape or the clear waters to which thousands of people seasonally flock and immerse themselves.


Archipelago is a research project born in 2018 to document the diversity of the Mediterranean islands and takes into consideration all the archipelagos and, in particular, the inhabited islands, seeking the architectural and landscape relationship that the houses and architecture create with the sea and the earth. It is a long-term project that is expected to be completed in about 50 years, of which the first objective is 10 years with the mapping of the Italian islands. It provides documentation for the enhancement of the cultural identity of the Italian and Mediterranean archipelagos with photographic reportages on living and its relationship with the territory; maps of the archipelago and the island, which show, in addition to the relief curves and information on the morphology of the inhabited settlements, also the bathymetric curves that characterize the seabed, and a selection of recommended readings and in-depth studies.


Archipelago can be useful to all those who deal with heritage, to municipal administrations or to administrative and cultural bodies for the protection and promotion of the territory, to scholars and teachers and to those interested in Mediterranean culture. It contributes to the protection and valorization of cultural diversity in relation to the forms of living in the Mediterranean islands, fitting into the framework of the 2005 UNESCO Convention.

On display at the Italian Cultural Institute in Hamburg a selection of the mapped archipelagos, including the Tuscan Archipelago and the Aeolian, Egadi and Pelagian Islands.


Corinna Del Bianco

Working group

Myrto Gatou, Costanza Leoni & Spencer Nash

English translations

Spencer Nash

German translations

Judith Brandenburg & Dagmar Bruss



Myrto Gatou & Spencer Nash


Cartographic bases

Regional Technical Charter (CTR) e


The exhibition was supported by the specific crowdfunding campaign and produced thanks to the contribution of the Italian Cultural Institute of Hamburg.

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