Featured: Saving The Abandoned Classics Of Venice, One Photograph At A Time

Saving The Abandoned Classics Of Venice, One Photograph At A Time

By Pierpaolo Maso
May 11, 2018

Photography by Pierpaolo Maso

Growing up in Italy, it’s hard to avoid at least a passing interest in sports cars. After all, the country’s history is tightly entwined with the arts, and some of the world’s most beautiful automobiles have been produced here by preeminent manufacturers like Ferrari and Alfa Romeo, with many of these cars having been drawn in the acclaimed design houses of Bertone, Touring, Pininfarina, ItalDesign, etc. The list is long. While spotting interesting machines with this kind of provenance in major metropolitan hubs like Milan, Rome, or Florence is relatively easy, the same cannot be said for Venice.

If you’ve only seen photos of the Grand Canal and Saint Mark’s you might think of the city as a place where the only locomotion comes by way of a boat or your own two feet, but there is a mainland section of Venice to the west of the waterways and gondolas that everyone associates with the name.

Like I said, it’s hard not to be attracted to the gleaming examples of Italy’s motorized past, and they do make appearances here, but rather than seek out the same old same old I thought that a different kind of photography project would be more interesting than yet another gallery of big-money restorations. So, I decided to start documenting the abandoned vehicles in my city. The cars with undetermined but likely sad destinies ahead of them. They aren’t the most extravagant machines you’ll see on this site, but I think their stories deserve to be told too.

I wish I could restore all of the subjects you see here, but unfortunately I lack the technical skills and the bank account to do so—I must take another approach. Using my camera and the wonderful light available to me, I’ve tried to preserve these machines with photography instead of metals and plastics.

Capturing their forms and creating a strong, impactful image of these aging cars is just another means of saving their heritage regardless of what their ultimate fate may be. These metallic relics are in various states of neglect and disrepair, and some might make it back to the road one day, but for now they sit, awaiting an uncertain future.

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Jean-Noël Fermaudluke holmesHowndogMark St Clair Recent comment authors
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Jean-Noël Fermaud

This is hauntingly beautiful.

luke holmes

Lovely idea. Going to start doing this myself. I can’t promise photos as good as that though. Very nice!


wonderful photos, and a great idea.

Mark St Clair
Mark St Clair

Good god Petrolicious, who is your art director ?