In the middle of the 20th century life on Stromboli was very different to what it is like today. For centuries very simple conditions prevailed. To sustain a family exclusively by fishing, with a small vineyeard, three goats and some olive trees was not easy at all. Many families seriously considered emigration, perhaps to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Argentina or simply anywhere on the Italian mainland where, perhaps, some relatives had already made a new home for themselves. In 1900 Stromboli had a population of nearly 3000. 50 years later the number was down to 600 only.
Very soon this family will emigrate.
On the day of departure...
...everyone comes to the beach...
...to say farewell, perhaps forever?
The beach - a popular meeting point...
...even for the hard moment of saying good-bye...
...but also for a long awaited return.
The ship arrives, and everybody lends a helping hand.
The emigrees face an uncertain future.
These people have, forever, closed the doors.
Deserted houses exposed to the unrelentig elements.
But some take faith in the future of their island.
Cement arrives, building new houses is underway.
The elder generation prepares for fishing.
Traps for catching crabs and lobsters.
After 25 years in Australia Peppino, the fisherman, has returned.
On the day of departure the entire village population comes to the beach to bid farewell to the emigrees. Perhaps they will not depart forever. Still today Strombolians, or their descendants, return to the island for a visit. Stromboli today - a most pleasant piece of land with people full of character and still maintaining some of the old traditions.
Photos Daniel Holzer