Since its foundation, the Touring Club Italiano has started an archive project in parallel with its initiatives, an active memory building program to guide the present and shape the future. In 1898 photographers and amateurs from every region were involved in an open call -that we are going to renew- to collect, order and transmit documents on post-Risorgimento Italy.
The Touring Archive -in this consists its extraordinary alterity- juxtapose the inventory of materials produced by the association (publications, brochures, gray materials, papers), to a very large collection of documents and images that members, photographers or individual travelers sent to 10 Corso Italia in over a century.
It is one of the first collective archive experiments, a combination of many subjectivities and many ways of being a traveler: from tourism linked to sporting events (and cycling in particular), to flora and fauna observations, from the beautiful profiles of the Italian coasts that Alberto Porro captures from the ships of the Navy, to the snowy peaks of the Andes in the photos of the missionary father De Agostini, passing through the exotic portraits of Antonio Beato and the controversial campaigns in Libya and Albania.
Some memorable names and a dust made of many anonymous people, who contribute to the collection perhaps just with a postcard (over 30,000 of them are archived).
What emerges is an imperfect portrait of Italy and many places in the world, through landscapes, bodies, practices and rituals. In the beginning images, at first silent, were mounted in the Touring publications to render the physiognomy of the world, selecting, discarding, rewriting, sometimes forgetting. A careful assembly process, but still partial and biased. How many physiognomies can still emerge from this collection?