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One hundred years after the start of the First World War, Venezia si difende 1915-1918 is intended to describe the city’s unusual situation at the time of the Great War and offer a comprehensive panorama of the drama of events, so as not to lose either the historiographic perspective or that settled in our collective memory, by means of more than 350 original pictures from the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia’s Historic Photographic Archive at the Palazzo Fortuny.

The exhibition does not document war actions or exploits, but extensively describes the defensive strategies adopted: the complex preventive protection of the monuments (the documentation of one of the irredeemably lost masterpieces that provoked a very strong international reaction, the ceiling fresco in the church of the Scalzi by Giambattista Tiepolo, is of great emotional impact), the conversion of the city’s roof terraces into lookout and anti-aircraft defence positions for navy riflemen and volunteers, the tethered balloons that were raised to obstruct the aerial space. The difficulties of everyday life are then also illustrated: the black outs,the shelters, the hospitals, the removal of the rubble, the withdrawal of bank deposits after Caporetto.

The clandestine nature of these photos makes them even more precious. There was an absolute ban on taking photos in war zones and Venice was not immune to this, so many of the pictures shown, especially those of the general mobilisation of 1915, whether photos or postcards, were sequestered by the suthorities, as shown by the words written by hand in red ink.

The exhibition is produced and organized by Civita Tre Venezie, and is accompanied by a catalogue by Marsilio Editori, curated by Claudio Franzini with textes by Cesare De Michelis, Camillo Tonini and Claudio Franzini.

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