Giuseppe Palumbo

The biking photographer

La mostra

Photographer and writer, Palumbo is a unique character in the Salento cultural landscape of the first half of the twentieth century. Either by bicycle, train or small gig, he explored Terra d’Otranto for fifty years, photographing the natural and human scenery, documenting and enhancing its sites, monuments, resources and productions.

A journalist and attentive scholar of the territory, he’s dealt with a great amount and variety of themes ranging from culture to popular traditions, archaeological and architectural heritage, collaborating with local and national periodicals. His first photographic images were before 1909: “to fix in the image the reminiscence of things which were already on their way to oblivion,” was the task he felt most dear to him... he had always done this in his long career as acute investigator of Salento popular culture, curious to discover and gather moments of labour and social life, the historical-architectural heritage and its natural beauties.

The exhibition

Salento in the first half of the 20th Century captured
through the lens of photographer Giuseppe Palumbo


Visioni del Sud is a work of rediscovery, reinterpretation and valorisation of the precious heritage of images picked by Giuseppe Palumbo, a leccese scholar and intellectual, since the beginning of 90 till 50's years and donated after his death to the Museo Sigismondo Castromediano of Lecce. A corpus that for vastity and impostation hasn't equals in the regional scene of Apulia and that has made the author and his figure essential for scholars and passionate of "storia patria".
The project starts with an exploration of Giuseppe Palumbo's archive, thanks to the collaboration between the Istituto di Culture Mediterranee, the Museo Sigsmondo Castromediano and the laboratory of communication Big Sur and the associations Officina Visioni and Archivio Cinema del reale. A trip through the time at the discovery of tracks, public and private memories of the big photographer and of the human landscapes that emerge by his photos, made of meetings and discoveries, of unseen documents and curiosities.

This work of research before to land at the Museo della Civiltà - Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari di Roma it has taken form in laboratory-shows dedicated at work and valorisation of Palumbo's Archive: in 2015 in three places of Salento, in Calimera, Gallipoli and Lucugnano and in 2017 at Torre Matta in Otranto, an area that has host, more than the show of Palumbo's photos, the activities of photographers, filmakers, artists, designers, musicians, students and territorial istitutions invited to know, rework and update the Archive's heritage of images.

Taking photos of places and people is a way to take care of them, to preserve them from oblivion of time and abandonment. It's a way to understand the reality and the trasformations. In this way Palumbo's work is exemplar beacuse takes the most authentic aspects of the culture of time, retracting places, monuments, traditions and productive activities to give back the memory of a rural Salento that was walking to the modernity and the rapid cultual changes, contributing to give to new generations the value of salentine identity and a part of South Italy.

Mostra Visioni del Sud - Giuseppe Palumbo a Otranto
Mostra Visioni del Sud - Giuseppe Palumbo a Otranto
Mostra Visioni del Sud - Giuseppe Palumbo a Otranto

Museo delle Civiltà

National Museum of arts and popular traditons

La mostra al Museo delle arti e tradizioni popolari di Roma

The National Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions is the only statal museum of Italy with specific competences in demoethnoantropological subjects, its scope is the documentation of popular traditions of every italian regions and it keeps more than 100 thousand documents, acquired since 1906 till today.

The Museum borns from the Mostra di Etnografia Itaiana that takes places in Rome in 1911 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Unità d'Italia and its founder was Lamberto Loria (1855-1913), ethnologist, who after has made lots of study's expeditions in extraeuropean countries, understood, after a short stay in Sannio, that also in the Italy of the beginnings of 90th should be make ethnographic research. In fact it was necessary to document that agro-pastoral culture that in these times was getting big modifications because of the progressive industralisation of close and distant areas and because of the consequent emigration from rural centres.

All of the documentary material of the Museum it's actually usable to the public thanks to a lot of services: the library, the historical archive that keeps documents of the acquisition of objects, the rooms' bathroom, the photographic archive, the sound archive, the archive of visual anthropology, the ethnographic stores and the audiovisual inventory office. In fact the Museum, thanks to his specificity and uniqueness, it's also the centre of data collection, of research and of documentation.


Visioni del Sud


Visioni del Sud

Giuseppe Palumbo - Il fotografo in bicicletta
Salento 1907 / 1959

7 december 2017 - 4 march 2018

Museo delle Civiltà
Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari

Piazza Guglielmo Marconi 8 - Rome

Since Tuesday to Sunday: hours 8am - 7pm
(last entry hours 6.30pm)
Closed on Monday

tel. (+39)06.5926148 | (+39)06.5911848

Cumulative ticket Museo delle Civiltà

FULL: 8€
Ticket valid three days from the date of emission to visit the sections of Dark Ages, of arts and popular traditions, of prehistory and ethnograpich.
A single ticket office in the section of prehistory and ethnographic "Luigi Pigorini".
Piazza Guglielmo Marconi, 14 - 00144 Rome

How to find us

Museo delle civiltà
Museo nazionale delle arti e tradizioni popolari