The almost milky water of Rosignano and its white sand give this beach a paradisiacal allure. However, this whitish color comes from the tailings dumped into the sea by the Solvay factory, visible in the background.
Limestone, bicarbonate but also heavy metals like mercury, lead and aluminum pollute the beach. The Rosignano factory (1912) was Italy’s first baking soda producer. It transformed the region by offering many jobs. Since then, the plant has exhausted all natural salt and freshwater resources and permanently destroyed the proper functioning of the seabed. Representative of summer mores where social classes blur, this beach dramatised by the bird’s-eye view illustrates a paradox. Faced with the symbol of social, ecological and economic drift, holidaymakers, mainly unemployed youth, offer themselves a cheap moment of relaxation in an illusory setting (1).

“I have never been a fashion photographer, and I confess that at the beginning I had some perplexities when asked to shoot for Vogue Italia. Then, as the days went by, the idea of ​​taking fashion photographs in my style for the first time in my career took on the shape of a challenge “. For which Massimo Vitali decides to return to the “crime scene” and set the report published in this issue in one of the most significant places of his journey, the White Beaches of Rosignano Solvay. There, in the mid-nineties, the Como-born photographer took his first monumental images of bathers: compositions teeming with life, depicting hundreds of people shot from a great distance and yet with an impressive profusion of detail, thanks to the use of very high resolution films. . The protagonists of this new Vitali bathing service are not swimmers but local girls and two models arrived especially for the service (Tina Diedhiou and Dara Gueye), all immersed to the waist in the water and dressed Prada, as if a surreal ritual of collective purification was in progress (2).

    1. Musée d’art de la Province d’Hainaut.
    2. “The new beginning. Le cover del numero di Vogue Italia di settembre” in Vogue, August 31, 2021.