During the second world war, after the end of Mussolini's fascist government, the Italian city of Viterbo was the target of multiple German bombings that destroyed a large part of the city, including a lot of historical buildings. The medieval city was targeted because of its nearby military base. The first bombing was July 1943, the targets were the Porta Fiorentina train station, which was being used as a supply depot, and the airport. One of the most destructive attacks came on January 17, 1944. When the bombings were finished, more than 1,000 had died, 600 civilian homes were destroyed and 300 others severely damaged, and many monuments were either severely damaged or reduced to dust (St. Sixtus and St. Francis).
This images series reviews images of Viterbo from the past and their state in the summer of 2016. The first pairings show sites before the attacks or those that survived the 1944 attack and how they have aged through the years. The following image pairings illustrate the recovery of the city and the important role those places play today in the city. Viterbo was one of the first cities in Lazio to recover after the war. Images of post-war recovery are important because they show that even when it seems all is lost, buildings can be rebuilt and culture can survive.
Viterbo is currently home to the largest and most well-preserved medieval city center in Europe. It is also the home to the Macchina di Santa Rosa Festival in September when a 30 meter high tower is built and carried through the city by 100 Facchini di Santa Rosa (porters of Santa Rosa), the construction of the tower is present in the 2016 images near Porta Romana and Chiesa di San Sisto)
*Please note that within the series there are variances in angles between the original photographs and my re-creations. These variances occurred for various reasons, some of which include additional architecture impeding on the view (buildings that either did not exist in the original or was flattened as a result of the bombing) and safety issues, which often were a result of main roads now existing where the original image was taken (being the most common issue).*
A massive thank you to Mauro Galeotti for contributing the historical photographs of Viterbo. And to Lietta Granato for assisting me and helping me get in contact with Mauro,
Grazie mille a Mauro Galeotti per contribuendo le foto e grazie a Lietta per me il collegamento a Mauro.
All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Mychelle Vincent Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Mychelle Vincent Photography.
This page contains images that are property of Mauro Galleoti, if you wish to use any of these historic photographs you must contact him.