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David Cooper, Ottawa, Canada

 



And the winner of this months Owner’s photo competition goes to David Cooper, Ottawa, Canada.

Complimenti David for this colourful image taken at the gardens at La Foce on a unseasonal grey afternoon in May.

A little more about the owners of La Foce and Anglo-Irish writer and philanthropist Iris Origo’s Second World War memoir – A War in Val d’Orcia is in diary form, set in the Val d’Orcia, Tuscany.

Origo, with her Italian noble husband Antonio, owned and managed the estate of La Foce, comprising 57 farms on some 7000 acres (c. 2833 ha). The early parts of the book recount the events in Italy from the end of January 1943 as seen and heard from the author’s locality in rural Tuscany. The account begins with the arrival of the first refugee children, sent by parents with local links, in response to the Allied bombing of the cities, particularly Genova and Turin. Detailed information is given on the opinions and allegiances of local people and officials. “The intention, presumably of the raids was to produce panic: the immediate result was rather resentment. Partly of the kind that the Allies wished to produce, resentment against Facisim… But there was also… a healthy, elemental reaction of resentment against those who were dropping the bombs.”

The overthrow of Mussolini on 24 July 1943 was followed by a short chaotic period of “Fascist Republican” rule under the Italian Social Republic, whose actions were progressively superseded by the weight of German occupation and military reinforcements from Germany. Public desires for a separate peace were tempered by feelings of shame at the idea of capitulation. The couple’s tasks were complicated by having some fifty British prisoners of war billeted on them, in addition to catering for over twenty child evacuees, many other outlawed people, partisans, and others who had fallen foul of the Fascists and/or the German occupiers at various times, and by the birth of Origo’s second daughter on 9 June.

The events of those years and the feelings toward them in ordinary people are described in vivid detail. These include the deportation or arbitrary murder of the Jews of Italy.

Each month one high-resolution photo will be chosen and circulated electronically; from now on the winner will fittingly be presented with a copy of the renowned American photographer Leonard Freed’s photo book Io Amo L’Italia. Freed’s exhibition Io amo l’Italia was held during 2012 in Milan, Rome and Turin and well supported by both critics and the general public. Leonard Freed once referred to his relationship with Italy as a “love story”.

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