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Pirelli and the Evolution of Female Beauty

The first issue of Vado e Torno came out in December 1962 as a monthly for road hauliers. It was the brainchild of Arrigo Castellani, the head of “Propaganda Pirelli”, who directed it until 1968. Throughout the 1960s, the covers featured stunning Italian and international cinema actresses. Whether well-established stars or just starting out, their close-ups were spread across the entire covers, and the photo shoots continued inside the magazine. Together they retrace the history of great Italian cinema from The Leopard with Claudia Cardinale (on the cover of the first issue), to the films by Vittorio De Sica with Sofia Loren (on the cover in 1963 for the premiere of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, in 1964 for Marriage Italian Style and in 1966 for Rosi’s More Than a Miracle), by Antonioni with Monica Vitti (Red Desert, 1963), by Pasquale Festa Campanile (who directed Catherine Deneuve in 1964 in La costanza della ragione and Virna Lisi in 1965 in A Maiden for a Prince). And there was Catherine Spaak, and Ursula Andress and Raquel Welch.

The new aesthetic of the 1960s took hold on the covers of Vado e Torno, just as it did on the pages of the Pirelli Calendar, which was launched in the same period (1964) in England, filled with the spirit of “Swinging London”. Elegant, natural images, never provocative, always expressing immense but simple beauty: the simplicity that, as Edmondo Berselli writes in The Complete Pirelli Calendars: 1964-2007, reached its aesthetic apotheosis in Michelangelo Antonioni’Blow Up.

In its first fifteen years, Vado e Torno initially adopted the formula used by the far more famous Pirelli Rivista di informazione e di tecnica , also directed by Castellani: topics of a technical and specialised nature linked to road haulage and transport appeared alongside subjects of general interest and miscellaneous items, with contributions by famous journalists and writers. These included sport (with contributions by Gianni Brera and Bruno Raschi), cinema (with articles by Tullio Kezich), television, music and lifestyle topics (Natalia Aspesi, Corrado Minicucci). Many of the contributors also wrote for Pirelli magazine in those years. These include Giuseppe Gozzini and Luca Goldoni – who wrote about historical places and ancient roads – and Giovanni Canestrini, who wrote a reportage about crossing Africa in a truck. There was also literature, with detective and science-fiction stories written specially for the magazine by some interesting authors, such as Emio Donaggio, a pioneer of Italian science fiction, and Franco Enna, the pen name of Francesco Cannarozzo, a prolific writer of detective stories set in Sicily and known as the “Italian Simenon”. Then there were satirical cartoons by such masters of comic illustration as Riccardo Manzi, Antonio Botter, Giorgio Cavallo, and Jacovitti.

During the course of the 1960s, the look of the covers of Vado e Torno changed considerably, with the portraits of actresses making way for alluring models shown next to vehicles. The change was also reflected in the content of the magazine, for the news, entertainment, and cultural articles gradually disappeared, with more technical articles taking their place.

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