A few years ago for my birthday I received from my father a box of negatives that was stored in the attic of our family country house for about 30 years. It was my grandfather Claudio negatives archive.
Inside the box I found a collection of 4000 frames shot between 1940 and 1957. Each strip of negatives was rolled up and wrapped in paper where my grandfather wrote a date and the related events.
I never had the chance to meet my grandfather since he died a couple of years before my birth. All I know about him comes from the stories my father told me since I was a little kid. This was the beginning of a personal research about a person I never met but I started feeling closer than ever before.
The first things I've learned about my grandfather were that he loved taking pictures (included photo booth self portraits) and that he always had his Leica with him.
The project Niente Paura represents a personal research about my grandfather and the story of my family.
The words "niente paura" mean "no fear" and they come from a postcard my grandfather sent to my dad in 1957. At the time my dad was 6 years old and the writing says:
Baci da tuo papà e... niente paura!
Kisses from you dad and... no fear!
THE FIRST POLITICAL MISSION OF THE SICILIAN REGION TO UNITED STATES
The first section of Niente Paura is about a specific roll from my grandfather archive. The paper he used to wrap it had this sign on: MAJORANA U.S.A. 1957.
Unfortunately my father didn't remember much except for the fact that in the late fifties my grandfather left for United States for an important trip somehow connected to his political career. His name, like mine, was Claudio Majorana, he was engineer of the State Railways, president of the IRFIS (Regional Institute for Sicilian Industries Financing), mayor of Aci Castello, Sicily and member of the Sicilian Regional Assembly.
I started going deeper into this story and I was lucky enough to find two old albums full of articles, pictures and postcards about that journey.
And there he was with his camera...
...getting on the I - LUNA airplane directed to United States. And even magazines were speaking about it. My grandmother collected them all.
On 10th February 1957 the President of the Regional Government of Sicily Giuseppe Alessi along with a Sicilian delegation left Sicily to go to United States. The reason of the journey was an invitation from the American State Department to keep relationships between American and Sicilian economy and finance. My grandfather was part of the delegation and the following pictures are some of the ones he took during that long journey.
During the trip the United Friends of Sicily association organized a testimonial dinner in honor of Hon. Giuseppe Alessi and the rest of the delegation at Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City.
Picture by Drucker-Hilbert Co. N.Y.
It was March 10th 1957. I wonder who all these people are and how is everyone's story connected to Sicily. Maybe the only one alive I could speak to is that kid waving goodbye to the photographer.
ON THE ROAD ACROSS UNITED STATES
The American journey lasted about one month. After visiting New York City and Washington D.C. the delegation kept travelling through the Eastern side of United States. Most of the pictures are taken from the car like the second one which my grandfather captioned on the back: "Storm on lake Michigan, 1957". There are also many portraits of Hon. Giuseppe Alessi, the President of the Sicilian Government.
STORIES FROM MY FAMILY
The archive I received for my 25th birthday opened me a door towards the history of my family and probably Niente Paura will be a never ending project. After organising my grandfather archive I started collecting all kind of materials regarding my family history especially about the scientists Ettore, Fabio and Quirino Majorana. In Section II you'll find some short stories from my family.
My family in Taormina in 1943 during my grandparents honeymoon. They are the two on the right, Franca and Claudio. The woman with the cat is Francesca, my great-great grandmother. It is said that the summer she moved to the sea house her two cats escaped from the house in the city to reach her.
BOMBS IN SICILY
That time they bombed the place where my grandfather worked.