Traveling broadens horizons and provides an opportunity to learn from the lifestyles of others living around the globe. When the world reopened after the pandemic, many tourists sought to use travel as a means to support communities that have been hit hard by the crisis. By taking the necessary precautions while visiting isolated destinations, these tourists reconnected small-town residents with a greater sense of global togetherness after a long year apart.
Milan-based travel photographer Alberto Bernasconi was contacted by INK global, an agency that produces stories for inflight magazines, to provide images that illustrate this new style of traveling responsibly. Through this project, he captured the residents of Lollove, a small town in Sardinia, Italy for a story published in Transavia France’s Enjoy! magazine.
What I like about INK is they look for stories that are not just travel itineraries.
Italy was one of the first countries to experience widespread contagion, forcing a strict lockdown that halted the tourism that parts of the country thrive on. Alberto had initially planned to shoot Sardinia in March 2020, but in a few short days, the government decided to prevent all regional travel.
I initially got a call from INK for an assignment in Sardinia back in March, but all of a sudden traveling from one region to the other was prohibited. After that, we were all stuck in total lockdown.
This trip was the first travel opportunity for Alberto after the pandemic, and he was eager to experience a new place away from the crowded cities. He flew to the island of Sardinia, just off the western coast of Italy to visit the idyllic countryside of a destination typically known for its luxury beach resorts.
Sardinia is an island in the mediterranean sea, famous for its crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches.
This feature wanted to show a different side of the Island, a calm and silent countryside that has a slower connection to the rest of the world.
The small medieval village of Lollove is two hours from the Olbia airport, and is what Alberto classifies “a small island inside the island.” As he journeyed on narrow dirt roads that curved up the slow rolling hills, the deeper Alberto went into the island the more he traveled back in time.
Lollove is one of the smallest villages in Italy, few people live there and they live a very slow lifestyle.
Alberto had sustained a tennis injury a few days prior, but he was determined not to let this deter his ability to capture every inch of the town. He navigated the cobblestone streets with a crutch and a camera and explored every avenue of this dreamy destination.
Sometimes the challenge is to tell a story that is made of tiny little things, where nothing really happens.
For a village that lives at a slower pace, it was hard for Alberto to source subjects that could speak to the authentic experience of Lollove. He reached out to local farmers, artists, and cooks who graciously met with him in the limited time that was available. As a result of these connections, Alberto participated in workshops — like an art class on painting with natural dyes of the region — and learned directly from those who cultivate and tend to the land.
Alberto found the residents of Lollove incredibly hospitable, happy to share their meals, thoughts, and way of life. After a year of isolation, the villagers were ready to see new faces and open their community to another compassionate Italian.
People were happy to show their beloved land and to show how proud they are to be part of that environment. They opened their doors and were always ready to talk and offer me a coffee.
This trip was both an assignment and learning experience for Alberto, who took the time to live as intentionally as the subjects. While he has a successful fast-paced career in commercial photography, Alberto used this journey as an opportunity to slow down and find joy in the simplicity of life. One memory he’ll always treasure from this trip is the morning he spent mastering the art of making ricotta cheese and the satisfaction of eating it for lunch later that day.