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Photo © Michele Vestrini /Archivi Alinari-archivio Leiss
Photo © Michele Vestrini /Archivi Alinari-archivio Leiss

“Dreaming of the corsairs”


An exhibition dedicated to Livorno and its sea through precious photographs from the Alinari Archives

The exhibition "Dreaming of the corsairs", staged in the Museum of the City of Livorno, recounts the connection of the city of the 4 Moors with its sea, at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. An indissoluble relationship explored through a century of photographers and photographs: bathing establishments and bathers, swells, various ships, divers and other sea professions, in the shots of photographers from Livorno and beyond.

Beginning with the daguerreotype of the Dogana D'Acqua attributed to Aristide Castelli in circa 1845, Livorno welcomed the invention of photography early on: as early as 1843, only 4 years after the discovery of the daguerreotype, Giuseppe Marzocchini opened the first photographic studio in Tuscany in Livorno.

On display are works by professional photographers such as Bettini and Miniati, and ready to enchant all who will admire their images for the first time.
Amazing hand-colored slides by Florentine scientist Giorgio Roster during his stays on the island of Elba in the second half of the 19th century.

And the child immortalized with his back turned, on a parapet of the Mascagni Terrace, in the shot by Michele Vestrini (1958), is he admiring the Vespucci ship sailing on full sail... or is he "Dreaming of the corsairs"?

The Alinari Archives are one of the largest and oldest photographic repositories in the world, with a heritage of five million pieces, many of them unique, dating from 1841 to the present day, gathered in hundreds of archives and collections of great relevance to the history of photography, not only Italian. An archive that became public at the end of 2019, thanks to the purchase of the Region of Tuscany, which thus guaranteed its preservation and accessibility.


  • from June 30 to October 8, 2023
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; on Effetto Venezia days (August 2-6), open until midnight
  • tickets: 6€, reduced 4€; possibility of open ticket, also purchasable online
  • guided tours: 2.50€ by reservation; Saturdays at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. without reservation

The exhibition is promoted and organized by the City of Livorno, and curated by Alinari Foundation for Photography, under the patronage of the Region of Tuscany together with the City of Livorno. Curator Rita Scartoni of Alinari, Catalogue Sillabe.