Vincenzo Vicari photographer

Ticino in the Tide of Change


Vincenzo Vicari, Trucks of the ice cream factory Luganella, 1960, colour photograph, Archivio storico della Città di Lugano

Curated by Damiano Robbiani

Palazzo Reali hosts a monograph dedicated to the Ticino-born photographer Vincenzo Vicari, who worked in Lugano between 1936 and 1987. Ticino in the Tide of Change chronologically documents the transformation of the region and its inhabitants from the rural, post-war years to the urbanized Ticino of the 1980s. It is comprised of over one hundred selected black-and-white and colour photographs. Vicari documented Ticino, from picture-postcard views to more unexpected ones. His eye never sought to enhance or beautify, but to record the world around him with assurance, occasionally with a glint of irony shining through. While Vicari’s Ticino may not be the idyllic one of literary figures such as Francesco Chiesa, Guido Calgari and Giuseppe Zoppi, or the ideological one of spiritual Defense and tourist tracts, neither it is limited to the Ticino of technical progress and economic success. The importance of Vicari’s work lies in his ability to capture and summarize the complexity of a place seeking its identity in a way that is always original.

  • MASI Palazzo Reali

  • via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano
  • Tue / Wed / Fri: 10 am – 5 pm
    Thurs: 10 am – 8 pm
    Sat / Sun / Public Holidays: 10 am – 6 pm
    Mon: closed
  • Press Conference
    Friday August 28th,
    11 am
    Palazzo Civico

  • Full Price: CHF 8.-/Reduced: CHF 6.-/Ticino Ticket/IoInsegno: CHF 5.50


Vincenzo Vicari was born in Lugano in 1911. Over the years, the building in which he lived housed a succession of photography studios, the last of which the young photographer took over himself in 1936. After receiving his Master of Photography diploma from the ETH in Zurich in 1939, he entered active service as a sergeant photographer in the Compagnia Aviazione 10, the Ticino squadron of the Swiss Air Force. During the War, he took the first aerial shots of Lugano and filmed numerous documentaries. Between 1945 and 1962, he taught at the photography school in Trevano, while continuing to develop his numerous business interests. Vincenzo Vicari retired as a professional photographer in 1987 and died in 2007 at the age of 95.


Vincenzo Vicari fotografo. Il Ticino che cambia (IT)


Texts by Damiano Robbiani, Gianmarco Talamona, Antonio Mariotti, Nelly Valsangiacomo
2020 Città di Lugano/MASI Lugano
Italian edition
Ed. Casagrande
351 pp.
ISBN 978-88-7713-879-8

Vincenzo Vicari Fotograf. Das Tessin im Wandel der Zeit (DE)


Texts by Damiano Robbiani, Gianmarco Talamona, Antonio Mariotti, Nelly Valsangiacomo
2020 Città di Lugano/MASI Lugano
German edition
Ed. Scheidegger & Spiess
352 pp.
ISBN 978-3-85881-692-4