ARCHIPELAGO: a photographic journey into the Mediterranean, the architecture of its islands and their identities by Corinna Del Bianco

For the first time, the researcher in architecture & urban studies and photographer, Corinna Del Bianco shows the public Archipelago – her photographic journey through the Mediterranean islands.

-text by the authors

Some of the images, in particular those of the Italian islands – from the Egadi to the Aeolian, passing through the Pelagie and the Tuscans, will be the protagonists, from 15 December 2021 to 28 February 2022, of the exhibition “Archipelago” held at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Amburgo (Italian Cultural Institute in Hamburg, Germany). The show has been produced in collaboration with the institute itself and with the funds raised by the crowdfunding campaign created ad-hoc for the exhibition, which included the sale of the exhibition catalog as the main perk.

Archipelago is a long-term research project that was born in 2018 from an idea by Corinna Del Bianco to document the diversity of the Mediterranean islands. It focuses on all archipelagos and, in particular, on inhabited islands. The theme of living, always present in the photographer’s studies, mixes with that of the journey through the cultural and landscape heritage.

Archipelago is, in fact, a collection of places united by the strong link between the mainland, the sea, the architectural typologies of the houses and the morphology of the settlements.

During the second half of the twentieth century, most of the Mediterranean islands devoted themselves to tourism, a great economic resource, that went hand in hand with an abandonment of their history, their production, and therefore also their cultural identity. Among the most representative Italian examples, we find the Elba Island which, since the time of the Etruscans was a reference point for the steel industry, with its quarries for iron extraction, and Favignana which, thanks to fishing and the production of tuna led by the Florio family, was an important innovator worldwide. This production tradition, closely linked to the natural context of the individual islands that once determined their economic, social and cultural development, has now been annihilated and, in the best cases, remembered in museums that are visited only by the most curious travellers. Nowadays, the diversity of the individual islands tends to be remembered only for the landscape or for the clear waters to which thousands of people flock seasonally and in which they immerse themselves.

Archipelago was born with the intention of telling the value of the cultural identity of the Italian and Mediterranean islands and archipelagos to all those who visit and experience them.

In addition to the photographic and artistic documentation focused on the living and the architecture of the different islands, Corinna Del Bianco offers a selection of readings and graphic maps that report not only the contour lines and the morphological information of the inhabited settlements but also the bathymetric lines that characterize their seabeds. Thanks also to the various instruments, the project contributes to the 2005 UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity with regard to forms of life in the islands of the Mediterranean Sea.

Corinna Del Bianco presents in the exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute in Hamburg the photographs of some of the islands of four important Italian archipelagos: Egadi (Favignana), Aeolian (Stromboli), Pelagie (Lampedusa, Linosa) and Toscane (Elba, Giglio). After this first exhibition, the exhibition will travel to different places dedicated to culture. The Archipelago book was created to accompany the exhibition and as the main perk of the crowdfunding campaign launched on indiegogo and can be purchased at the exhibition and through direct contact on the Corinna Del Bianco website.


Corinna Del Bianco (Florence | Milan), researcher and photographer, holds a PhD cum laude in Architectural, Urban and Interior Design. Her research has focused on forms of living in Pemba, Mozambique (Dwellings and Settlements in Pemba, a typo-morphological field study in a changing urban environment) at the Politecnico di Milano, where, she is adjunct professor of Urban Design Studio. Her training as a photographer begins before her university studies at the Deaphoto Cultural Association and continues at the university alongside the architectural studies at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence, at the Ecole Nationale d’Architecture de Paris Belleville, at the Polytechnic of Milan and to the Studio Marangoni Foundation. Her artistic research investigates the social, economic and cultural dynamics of the urban dimension, interpreting the cultural identity of places.

She is a board member of the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco, and since 2015, she has been coordinating scientific and educational activities related to the Life Beyond Tourism research and movement aimed at fostering development through tourism dynamics, and protecting and enhancing the local cultural identities contributing to dialogue among cultures. She is currently responsible for the management of the Foundation’s participation in the European Projects Erasmus+ S.U.R.E, Erasmus+ UNINET and Erasmus+ Educational Game.

Facts & Credits
Project title  Archipelago
Typology  Photography series, Exhibition, Book
Research & Photography  Corinna Del Bianco
Exhibition  “Archipelago. Fotografie di Corinna Del Bianco”
Location  Italian Cultural Institute in Hamburg
Duration  15 December 2021 – 28 February 2022