Photography To save the Rodolico Shipyard in Aci Trezza
Photographydocumentary photography

To save the Rodolico Shipyard in Aci Trezza

Emotional Sicily avvia un progetto per offrire un sostegno concreto al cantiere Rodolico attraverso la commissione di una barca da pesca tradizionale in legno
Giorgia Massari

Fabio Florio‘s photographs take us to Aci Trezza, a small Sicilian town known to many for the story of the Malavoglia, perhaps Giovanni Verga‘s best-known novel. The similarities between the Malavoglia family and the family portrayed in these shots, the Rodolics, are not few. While obvious, this comparison makes explicit what is happening today at the Rodolico Shipyard, which has been operating on the coast north of Catania since 1808, providing for the construction of traditional boats and large fishing vessels. From being the economic center of the place for more than a century today – starting in the 1990s – the business has suffered a sudden decline. Yet another craft practice slowly being lost, won by the industrial system. But if we are telling this story today, it is because someone has understood its importance and wants to save it. We are talking about Emotional Sicily, a project that bases its research on the authentic aspects of Sicily and that, for this, has met Salvatore and Giovanni Rodolico, father and son, the last shipwrights, as well as – the first – recognized by the Region of Sicily as a living human heritage, and is doing everything to make the activity and their practice survive. Let us explain further.


The commission of the last traditional boat

«The cessation of fishing permits and the rise of synthetics for boat building marked the end of the main means of livelihood for the Rodolico family,» the Emotional Sicily boys explain. «However, their passion for preserving the craft, their deep roots in the area and their family history have led them to keep the shipyard open, perpetuating the knowledge and techniques passed down through the generations and keeping alive the memory of the ancient craft of the Sicilian shipwright». But this unfortunately is not enough. This is where Emotional Sicily comes in, launching a real project that aims to offer concrete support to the Rodolico shipyard through the commissioning of a traditional wooden fishing boat as a sign of continuity and homage to a centuries-old tradition. This boat, already included in Sicily’s Intangible Heritage Register, could be the last one made using traditional techniques.

THE LAST SHIPWRIGHT – The Rodolico shipyard between community, tradition and identity from Emotional Sicily on Vimeo.

How to support the Rodolico activity

Emotional Sicily’s initiative is not limited to the construction of the boat. The project also includes the creation of a documentary and a series of photographs that will tell the story of the construction process, thus preserving the memory of this ancient art. Each shot and frame represents a fragment of a story that is in danger of being forgotten; here you can see what has been accomplished so far but still requires everyone’s help. On the website you can find more information and on the Instagram page all the developments of the project.

Photographydocumentary photography
Written by Giorgia Massari
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