Pictures From Italy by Maurice Mattei

These pictures were shot between 1977 and 2007. Most of them were taken in and around Garfagnana - a region of Tuscany. A third or so were shot in other parts of Italy.

I am fortunate that most of my family lives in Italy and my parents and/or I would visit them on a fairly regular basis. In all, I traveled to Italy approximately twelve times. Having family there allowed me to blend into the culture somewhat more easily than if I had been a common tourist. I was five when I immigrated to the United States with my parents and I am still reasonably fluent in Italian. This, too, was another fortunate advantage.

Most of my family does not live in the larger Italian cities. Two of the towns I spent much of my time in had populations of less than several thousand. This offered me the opportunity of experiencing things that the majority of visitors would not have experienced.

A word about the title of the series. "Straniero" in Italian means, among other things, stranger or foreigner. Although I often stayed with my family while visiting, I could not help but feel a subtle cultural estrangement from the environment that I was in. I suppose this is inevitable in these situations and it may, at times, have influenced the type of picture that I took.