1973 Tuscany Photo Proves Why Summer In Italy Will Never Go Out Of Style


1973 Tuscany Photo Proves Why Summer In Italy Will Never Go Out Of Style

With all the frontiers falling shut over the last year and a half; with all the passports in drawers gathering dust; with nations shrinking into themselves, it’s easy to forget (when you’re not looking at the photos that show what we’re all missing out on) that there’s a whole world out there to explore.

To that end: chuck your brain in a vat with this “Summer at Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, Italy” photo and tell us Italian beaches aren’t the yardstick by which all Salt Interfaces should be judged by.

Taken by legendary photographer Slim Aarons in August 1973, the photo shows Tuscany looking very Tuscany.

It also shows why summer in Italy will never go out of style.

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Why? At the risk of Going All Grinch – no sand means no ball games. No waves mean no megaphone-wielding lifeguards. No early morning swim groups mean no budgee smuggling conferences.

It’s timeless, peaceful; classic.

It’s also reassuring to know that – at Hotel Pellicano II – it will never change (as the hotel itself has promised on Instagram).

Though you never want to become a calcified thinker, without a little bit of tradition people go a bit crazy, we reckon. And this is a hell of a picturesque thread to the past.

DMARGE interviewed a bunch of photographers recently to see if they agreed with the idea Italian beaches really are classier than Australian ones, or if we just have a massive chip on our shoulder.

Some agreed, some didn’t.

Photographer ilana Sallick (@thelensandi) told DMARGE that – although European beaches are “definitely thought of as photogenic” – she thinks a big part of why we over glamorise Europe (and potentially undervalue our own beach culture) “is a result of photographers, like Slim Aarons, who have showcased the rich and famous at play at private beach clubs.”

“These old photographs conjure up feelings of a romantic, worldly and glamorous lifestyle that is so different to what we have in Australia – or who we are…”

Australia is a [different] country with a laid back lifestyle,” ilana added. “We love the outdoors. I think Australia’s overall warmer climate helps as we generally spend more time outdoors, at the beach than in Europe. We go to the beach to have fun in the water, and relax on the sand.”

“I think it also helps in Australia that a lot of our beaches are surrounded by nature, full of soft white sand, Compared to Europe’s pebbled beaches that are often sandwiched between old towns and buildings.”

DMARGE also spoke to photographer Rachael Kane, who has experience taking photos in Italy’s Capri and Amalfi Coast as well as Sydney’s Eastern and Northern beaches.

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Rachael told us Europe’s classy reputation is, in her view, deserved: “I personally find photographing the beaches in Europe a different experience to Australia, and I adore the Australian coastline.”

“The European coastlines from Cannes to Corfu are enchanting, there is a depth of colour and contrast, there is height and drama, and there is no getting around it there is a level of sophistication and style that Australian beaches just don’t have, and oh boy is it beautiful to photograph.”

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“I think it is a magic cocktail of; people at the beach are all on holidays, they are walking to the beach, they dress to impress – no matter if you are a movie star or a mechanic.”

“Anchored off the calm Mediterranean beaches are glamourous super yachts. You as a participant absorb the beauty, you believe in it. No sand no worries, they happily lie on pebbles all day to unashamedly worship the sun, or even better a sun lounge on the pebbles with a personal waiter.”

“All these elements add a depth to the images you take. I know many Australians who live in beachside suburbs but only ‘go to the beach’ when they are on holidays in Europe.”

Bringing this all back to the original image of Hotel Pellicano II… if your interest has been piqued, Hotel Pellicano is located in Tuscany’s Maremma region.


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Hotel Pellicano began in 1965, when two lovers, a charismatic American socialite and dashing British aviator, created a romantic hideaway in a secret cove.

Glamorous friends came to bathe in the delicious azure sea and party by moonlight, soon the gorgeous Tuscan home was transformed into Il Pellicano.

The rest is history.

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