Until June 3rd, in the central hall of the Post Office building in Piazza Vittorio Veneto in Trieste, it is possible to visit the exhibition “WORKSHOPS, CAFES AND SHOPS IN TRIESTE IN S.D. MODIANO’S POSTCARDS”.

After the other two events already dedicated to the photographic plates used by “Saul D. Modiano in the early twentieth century ” for the production of his illustrated postcards, this time Modiano has chosen to exhibit the photographic shots concerning some of the commercial activities that animated Trieste in those years.

These reproductions are taken from the material preserved in the Modiano Historical Archive which take us back to now forgotten atmospheres, places and products: from the Grand Hotel Obélisque on the outskirts of Opicina, which has been waiting to be restored since 1985, to the Drogheria Toso which instead has managed to remain almost unchanged since its opening in 1906.

There is no shortage of curiosities such as the images dedicated to the most famous tailors or the interiors of a shoe shop specialized in the sale of American and English footwear.

There is then a section dedicated to shops that sold basic necessities such as Antonio Bosco’s shop which is still in business today or the particular case of consumer cooperatives between private employees which allowed Trieste’s middle class to access products and services with low costs.

A series of enlargements focuses the visitor’s gaze on the goods on display and on the faces of shop assistants; then it moves on to the interiors of some of the pharmacies at the time, best known for their furnishings and the quality of their galvanic laboratories.

To make the most of the event, Modiano has chosen to offer free guided tours that allow a more immersive experience with anecdotes and historical insights that lay behind the images.

The intent is to enhance both the cultural heritage preserved by the Historical Archive and the historical memory of a city which in that period stood out for its economic and intellectual liveliness.

To convey thes ideas, it was decided to display some images of the historic cafés of the time, choosing not the best-known ones but those with a more interesting history such as Caffè Milano or the American Bar which guaranteed its patrons privacy and tranquility.

At the end of the exhibition there is a quote that connects both to the history of photography that portrays Giuseppe Mayländer’s Modern Library and to the spirit that we wanted to convey:


«…  La mia città che in ogni parte è viva          «… My city which is alive in every part

ha il cantuccio a me fatto, alla mia vita               it has a corner made for me, for my life

pensosa e schiva».                                               thoughtful and shy.”

Umberto Saba