A Boot Full of Postcards

A Boot Full of Postcards by Enrico Sturani

Whether flags, national colors, monarchs, founding fathers, or allegorical figures, all nations have iconic images by which they are instantly recognized. Italy has one more of these instantly recognizable symbolic representations, based upon its geographic shape – the boot, which Enrico Sturani has taken for the title of his new book on Italian postcards. In Italia! Sveglia! Uno Stivale Di Cartoline tutti i simboli della nostra Patria [Italy! Wake Up! A “Boot” Full of Postcards, Symbols of our Homeland] he reproduces 232 political, commercial, or advertising postcards from the late nineteenth century up to the modern period that depict a wide range of Italian allegoric, patriotic, and propaganda images. After essays on allegories and patriotic symbols, Sturani uses the postcards to consider how Italians have viewed their country through two World Wars, under Fascism, and in the Libyan War. Only a few postcards depicted are after the 1940s. Mail conveys many types of messages, some of which are visual. Learning to read these visual clues is as important to illustrated mail as the rates and routes are to postal history. Even those, like myself, who do not read Italian, will find the book an interesting perspective on postcards. Card cover, 156 pages, full color, bibliography, €27 from Vaccari as one of their “History through documents” series.