Saluti e baci – Storia della cartolina

Autore: Fiume Valentina

Editore: Mandragora Editrice 2023

Lingue di traduzione: Italiano - inglese

Traduttori: Mike Carlos

La cartolina illustrata: strumento di comunicazione diffusissimo un tempo e che ancora oggi, nonostante i più moderni e veloci mezzi di diffusione di messaggi, rimane protagonista di una storia affascinante, che esprime cultura, identità, bellezza, romanticismo.

La storia della cartolina si intreccia a quella dell’arte degli ultimi due secoli, imponendosi come una vera e propria forma di arte che, nel corso del tempo, ha trasformato la comunicazione, fornendo non solo la possibilità di registrare un messaggio, ma anche di fissare un ritratto del luogo visitato.

Love and Kisses:

The History of the Postcard


If we were asked to review all the metaphors that have come from the pens of writers and poets in order to provide a succinct description of reality, we would unhesitatingly adopt the image of the labyrinth. The intertwining of stories that together make up history teaches us to regard the universe as a vast tapestry, a costly Persian carpet, with its ciphered designs. Yet what we do not see is that which underlies the universal, namely the mesh of threads that make up the tapestry. The age-old dichotomy of fabula and weaving, so dear to scholars of literary criticism and theory, is well suited to taking us into the histories of photography, the postcard and the picture postcard, phenomena which have had an influence on people’s lives, changing them significantly over the course of the centuries. Tracing their respective developments in fact leads us to another story, namely that of the cassettai fiorentini, the postcard and souvenir vendors who have been present in the public spaces of Florence since 1909, whose mission has been not only the sale of their wares but also promotion of their city. Indeed, the founding of associations and consortia for the reopening of bookshops in the main Florentine museums attests to their importance.

What we are dealing with, then, are multiple stories that encounter one another, giving rise to a single human, social and economic narration. As Italo Calvino wrote in The Castle of Crossed Destinies, it is easy for us to become confused and lost in the ‘fine dust of stories’, as each narration flows into the next, often without an evident logical connection and sometimes even mysteriously. Taking our cue from these suggestions, we are inevitably drawn to recounting this meeting between photography, the postcard and the work of the cassettai, which are linked by a subtle fil rouge.