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April 5, 2019

30 Amazing Pics Capture Everyday Life of Italy in the Mid-19th Century

Born 1834 in Frankfurt am Main, German photographer Giorgio Sommer became one of Europe's most important and prolific photographers of the 19th century. Active from 1857 to 1888, he produced thousands of images of archeological ruins, landscapes, art objects and portraits.

After studying business in Frankfurt, Sommer opened his first photography studio in Switzerland, where he made relief images of mountains for the Swiss government. In 1856, moved his business to Naples and later (1866) formed a partnership with fellow German photographer Edmund Behles who owned a studio in Rome. Operating from their respective Naples and Rome studios, Sommer and Behles became one of the largest and most prolific photography concerns in Italy.

Italy in the mid-19th century by Giorgio Sommer

Sommer and Behles exhibited extensively and earned numerous honors and prizes for their work (London 1862, Paris 1867, Vienna 1873, Nuremberg 1885). At one time, Sommer was appointed official photographer to King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.

Sommer was involved in every aspect of the photography business. He published his own images that he sold in his studios and to customers across Europe. In later years, he photographed custom images for book illustrations, as well as printing his own albums and postcards.

In Naples, Sommer opened a total of four additional studios: at No. 4 and No. 8 Monte di Dio, No. 5 Magazzino S. Caterina, and a last at Piazza della Vittoria.

Sommer died in Naples in 1914 at the age of 79.

These amazing photographs are part of Sommer's work that he captured everyday life of Italy from the 1860s and 1880s.

Messina harbour, circa 1862

Oxen and carts, Rome, circa, 1862

Piazza del Campidoglio from Palazzo Senatorio, Rome, circa 1862

The market, Piazza Navona, Rome, 1865

Amalfi Marina, circa 1865

Bridge of Sighs, Venice, circa 1865

Leaning Tower of Pisa, circa 1865

Messina cathedral, Sicily, circa 1865

Naples from San Martino, circa 1865

Old Palace from the Boboli Garden, Florence, circa 1865

Piazzetta San Marco and Isola St Giorgio, Venice, circa 1865

Riviera di Chiaia, Naples, circa 1865

Topographical view of Monreale, Sicily, circa 1865

Via Appia, Rome, circa 1865

Dancing the Tarentella, Naples, circa 1875

Facades in S. Lucia, Naples, circa 1878

Marina of Capri, circa 1880

Naples, circa 1880

Posillipo, Naples, circa 1880

Via Roma, Napoli, circa 1880

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, 1883

Agrigento, view from the Temple of Jupiter, 1888

Capri, 1888

Casa del Fauno, Pompei, 1888

Largo Plazza, Naples, 1888

Piazza Trinita Maggiore, Naples, 1888

Ravello, 1888

The Anapo river and the papyrus, Syracuse, 1888

Villa Nazionale, Naples, 1888

Villa Nazionale, Naples, 1888



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