The exhibition

"In 1971, Milan welcomed me and gave me the opportunities to decide on my own life. I was 36 years old and here, not in Palermo, I began to be a photographer"
Letizia Battaglia

The first retrospective includes almost 300 photographs, many of which are unpublished, that span the entire professional life of the Sicilian photographer and presents an articulated narrative path built on different sections and themes.

Portraits of women, men, animals or children, are just a few topics that make up the exhibition. In addition, the exhibition includes photos of cities such as Palermo, and then images focused on politics, life, death, love. Two videos deepen her human and artistic story.

The exhibition itinerary focuses on those topics that built Letizia Battaglia's most peculiar individual expression, which led her to make a deep and continuous social criticism.

The result is a genuine portrait of Letizia Battaglia, a nonconformist intellectual but also a poetic and political photographer, a woman who interests herself in what surrounds her and in what, distant from her, arouses her interest.

Francesca Alfano Miglietti, curator of the exhibition says "The exhibition presents works that are 'forms of attention' of the artistic path of Letizia Battaglia: something that comes even before her photographs, because Letizia Battaglia wondered about everything that fell under at her eyes, a murder or a child, a glimpse or a gathering, a person or a sky. Watching was her main activity, which "materialized" into extraordinary images".

The photographer

Letizia Battaglia

Letizia Battaglia

Letizia Battaglia (Palermo, 1935) is recognized as one of the most important figures in contemporary photography not only for her shots firmly present in the collective consciousness, but also for the civil and ethical value that she attributes to photography. Her images recount with an activist’s passion the bloodstained years of the wars of the Sicilian mafia. With a black and white full of contrasts, her archive overflows with photos that are heart-wrenching in their composition. She creates silent and solemn images that are far from the uproar that is often part of the news.

Letizia Battaglia ‘treats’ her work as a manifesto, exposing her convictions in a direct and true manner, thus revolutionizing the role of breaking news photography. She learns the technique directly "on the street", and her images immediately stand out for trying to capture a powerful emotion and almost always a feeling of "pietas". Besides the bodies of judges and of nameless victims, she continues to recount her favourite subjects: children and young women portrayed to express a possible future.

From 1974 to 1991 she directed the photographic team of the communist afternoon daily newspaper “L’ORA” in Palermo, and she also founded the “Informazione Fotografica” agency. In 1991 she founded “Mezzocielo” a bimonthly magazine for women only. She was on the list of 1000 women signalled for the Nobel Peace Prize, having been nominated by Peace Women Across the Globe.

She is not only a photographer: she is also a film director, an environmentalist, a councillor for the Green Party with Leoluca Orlando’s city council, a member 3 of the Sicilian regional government, and the editor of the Edizioni della Battaglia. She was a co-founder of the “Giuseppe Impastato” investigative research centre.

She was the first European woman to receive (1985), in New York, the Eugene Smith award for social photography and, in San Francisco, The Mother Johnson Achievement for Life was conferred on her (1999). In New York in May 2009 she received the “Cornell Capa Infinity Award”. The New York Times nominated her (the only Italian) as one of the eleven most representative women of 2017.

In 2017 a dream came true when she opened the Centro Internazionale di Fotografia at Zisa in Palermo. She directs it and curatesthe selection ofshows and meetings about historical and contemporary photography.



Side activities

Cinematographic review

"LETIZIA BATTAGLIA. Street stories. Documentaries and films"

A rich calendar of film screenings in collaboration with MIC - Museo Interattivo del Cinema: seven dates from 10 December to 21 December 2020.

Showing the ticket of the exhibition to the MIC ticket office, you get free access to the film festival. Showing the Cinetessera 2020 to the Palazzo Reale ticket office, you get special reduced admission (Euro 6 instead of Euro 13). With the ticket of a single film screening, you get reduced admission (€11 instead of €13).

Click here to download the screening programme (PDF)

For further information, please visit the official web site

Guided tours

"Around Letizia"

Special visits including that of Francesca Alfano Miglietti, Antonio Marras and Vincenzo Argentieri, will allow visitors to get to know Letizia Battaglia at 360 degrees.

  • 5th January 2020 at 11.00.
    Vincenzo Argentieri
  • 8th January 2020 h. 18:00
    Filippo La Mantia
  • 11th January 2020 at 11.00
    Antonio Marras and Francesca Alfano Miglietti
  • 12th January 2020 at 11.00
    Denis Curti

Price: € 20 per person

Information and reservation: phone 199151121 – @mail


Fotocontest "Letizia Battaglia. People"

The theme of the first contest is "people" , central subject of the entire work of Letizia Battaglia, her mafia stories, street riots, portraits from the streets.

Download the regulation to enter the "people" contest

Fotocontest "Letizia Battaglia. Projects"

This contest takes inspiration from Letizia Battaglia's reflections on her own photo archive, and on how some of her photos look different when you look at them nowadays. Participants will open their personal archives, choose one photo, and take a similar one, that compared to the original might re-new its meaning, thereby creating a little photographic "project".

Download the regulation to enter the "projects" contest

We are waiting for your photos!


5th December 2019 – 19th January 2020
Milano, Palazzo Reale

Opening hours
Monday 14.30 - 19.30
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday: 9.30 - 19.30
Thursday and Saturday: 9.30 - 22.30
On Sunday 19th January 2020 the exhibition will be extraordinarily open from 9.30 to 22.30
The ticket office closes an hour before

Tickets (including audio guide)
Full price 13 €
Reduced 11 € for groups of at least 15 and maximum 25 people, under 26 and over 65, disabled people, Touring Club members and Fai with card, ticket holders participating in the "Monday Museums" initiative (Poldi Pezzoli and La Scala Theatre Museum ), MIC – Museo Interattivo del Cinema tickets, military personnel, law enforcement officers not in service, teachers, other affiliated categories
Subscriptions 10€ members Subscription Museums Lombardy, Members Orticola with card valid for the current year
Special reduction 6€ for schools of all levels, groups organized directly by FAI and Touring Club, Cinetessera Fondazione Cineteca Italiana 2020, non-accredited journalists, employees of the Municipality of Milan and civil service volunteers working at the Municipality of Milan
Family ticket 11€ per person for one or two adults, € 6 for children aged 6 to 14, children up to 5 years free
Free for children under 6, one guide per group, two accompanying teachers per class, a disabled companion who needs help, journalists accredited by the Press Office of the Municipality or the exhibition, qualified tourist guides, ICOM members, employees of the Superintendency of Milan Landscape and Architectural Heritage
Special free for those under 18 from 25th December 2019 to 6th January 2020

Buy single ticket

Tel. 199151121 (Monday to Friday 9.00 - 18.00; Saturday 9.00 - 12.00)
From abroad: +39 0289096942

Press office

Ombretta Roverselli
Tel. +39 0243353527; Mobile +39 3495925715

Municipality of Milan
Elena Conenna

Download the press release