The voyages and exploratory journeys undertaken by the Duke of the Abruzzi. Recounted through images from 1897 to 1909.

This exhibition, by adding value to a small but precious nucleus of photographs belonging to the Museum, aims to narrate the legendary exploits of Luigi Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of the Abruzzi, between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. In little more than ten years, between 1897 and 1909, Luigi Amedeo of Savoy completed these expeditions that earned him worldwide recognition:

  • in 1897, the first ascent of Mount Saint Elias in Alaska
  • in 1899-1900, the expedition to the North Pole, which reached the highest northern latitude ever reached at that time
  • in 1906, the exploration of the African Rwenzori mountain range
  • in 1909, the expedition to Karakorum, with the unsuccessful attempt to climb K2 and the new world altitude record.

His exploits, celebrated and narrated by his contemporaries, redesigned the known boundaries of that time, revealing distant and mysterious territories. The aim of this exhibition is to relive this story and the extraordinary nature of these expeditions undertaken in an era which demanded meticulous preparation and involved very high levels of risk.

The charm and grandeur of the places he explored are captured in the photographs taken by Vittorio Sella, master of the art, who accompanied him on his arduous marches through snow or rainforest. The spirit of adventure, the dangers and the passion that animated these exploratory journeys are brought to life by the narrative accounts of the participants. To this end, the photographs are accompanied by the texts of the official reports of Filippo De Filippi, who accompanied Luigi Amedeo to Alaska, Karakorum and the Rwenzori. The expedition to the North Pole is narrated by the Duke himself, as he tells the story of the Pole Star in the Arctic Sea from 1899 to 1900.

The exhibition closes with the film of the expedition to Karakorum, undertaken by Vittorio Sella in 1909 and enriched with original music composed and performed for the occasion. The exhibition has been made possible with the collaboration of the Sella Onlus Foundation of Biella and the National Mountain Museum ‘Duca degli Abruzzi’ CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) of Torino.

The nucleus of photographs from Luigi Amedeo di Savoia’s collection, are part of the Historical Photography Collection of the National Museum of the Risorgimento, and consists of prints from the period in silver bromide gelatins and silver bromide colloids with manual retouching in watercolour, gouache and Indian ink.

The nucleus of photographs, from the collection of the Sella Foundation, is exhibited in digital prints rendered from original silver bromide gelatin plate negatives or film.

From July 12th to October 20th  2019