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Italian Islands in Montreal - Archipelago 2022

Italian Institute of Culture Montreal (Canada), 2022

Travelling to the islands, discovering the landscapes, coastlines, vegetation and small or large communities of inhabitants separated from the mainland, was the new Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy) around the middle of the last century.

The small Italian islands, the archipelagos, remained one of the few destinations in this beautiful country that offered the traveller all the sensations of the memorable grand tour of other times: otherness, exoticism, culture shock, the discovery of wildlife, untamed and unreconciled to the needs of human beings and—most important of all—the impact with the sea and the experience of arrival as a conquest, landing on their shores. 

Italian intellectuals themselves took advantage of these naturalistic-anthropological-ethnological trips to the archipelagos to discover and narrate a different way of conceiving life.

Some small islands have inspired films by notable directors, which I invite you to review after discovering the images on display. These include the documentary filmmaker Vittorio De Seta with Isole di fuoco (1954) and Roberto Rossellini with Stromboli terra di dio (1950).

Altogether, this premise is to say that whoever goes now to one of the islands presented in the exhibition will find a very different reality from the one filmed, for example, at the beginning of the famous journey of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura. And remaining in the Aeolian Islands, the journey from island to island in the episode of Nanni Moretti’s film Caro diario (1993) is as symbolic.

The Archipelago exhibition is also an itinerary, an invitation to explore a constellation of small and large worlds through photos, maps and narrations. A universe skilfully investigated and analysed by the gaze of Corinna Del Bianco, for whom archipelagos have become not only a subject of study but an object of challenge, a tale poised between what these small islands are and what they can become, always bearing in mind how they were.

As you visit the exhibition, travelling through a less explored geography of Italy, I invite you to ask yourself a few questions. What does the island represent to you? What does what you see evoke? Begin with this approach to set sail. The project in this room will help you to decide where to stop, where to start from and how far you want to go.


Enjoy your visit.


Sandro Cappelli

Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Montreal




Corinna Del Bianco


Editorial Team

Noora Alhashimi, Myrto Gatou, Costanza Leoni & Spencer Nash


English Translation

Spencer Nash


Layout Design

Myrto Gatou & Spencer Nash


Video Footage

Corinna Del Bianco


Spencer Nash


Carta Tecnica Regionale (CTR) and

The exhibition was supported by a crowdfunding campaign and produced thanks to the contribution of the Italian Cultural Institutes in Hamburg and Montreal.



We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign towards the realisation of this publication and photographic exhibition.

Their contributions to ‘Archipelago’ helps shed light on the diverse yet neglected islands of the Mediterranean Sea.

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