As it Happened | American Girl in Italy c.1951

“American Girl” in front of Caffè Gilli, Florence, Italy 1951 by Ruth Orkin.

Comments on “As it Happened | American Girl in Italy c.1951

    david himel on January 11, 2012 9:34 AM:

    is that guy playing pocket hockey whilst hooting

    matthew langley on January 11, 2012 9:38 AM:

    funny the pizza place at broadway and 91 has this on the wall.

    J.S. on January 11, 2012 9:51 AM:

    What a coincidence! I saw this on a bathroom wall just the other day when visiting Edinburgh. I suppose this is what it must be like for you in Florence?

    Andew Liston on January 11, 2012 9:52 AM:

    The story goes that Ruth Orkin had this woman walk down that street a number of times before she got the shot that she liked. Like many of the iconic photographs from this period, it was staged….but beautiful. I particularly like a lot of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work.

    Como Park on January 11, 2012 9:53 AM:

    Had this framed, about 3′ x 5′, hanging in my various rooms and homes from about 1982- 2000. Probably still have it in storage somewhere… Love it.

    Christina on January 11, 2012 11:51 AM:

    A good reminder of a classic image. I am still filling out my apartment with photos and art. Now I will be imagining which wall to put this on.

    Michael Carper on January 11, 2012 12:01 PM:

    Small world. I was reading a coffee table book about Italy published in the 60s and this was one of the pics.

    Shoko on January 11, 2012 12:59 PM:

    Love this!

    Anis on January 11, 2012 3:40 PM:

    The 2 Guys on the Moto made me smile

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    Mac on January 11, 2012 7:23 PM:

    and people wonder why the Italian economy is in such woes… all they do is stand around! and then, maybe, if you’re lucky, and they feel like it, they may go off and make something on their own time that’s really well done, and beautiful, but never on anyone’s timeline but their own. geesh.

    tylerharms on January 12, 2012 5:58 AM:

    i used to love this picture–the effortless romanticism it invokes–but i don’t anymore. now, i find it claustrophobic and a bit predatory. as my wife likes to say, “even the police officers in italy ogle women.” talk about swimming with sharks. and her hand at the collar of her shawl–it looks and feels defensive.

    stefanie on January 13, 2012 12:32 AM:

    this makes me feel fucking sad.

    Bo Jangles on January 13, 2012 8:17 AM:

    I think this was required wall hanging for any girl back from a semester abroad in Italy. I loved this picture and yet the image also scared me a bit.

    seth on January 13, 2012 2:52 PM:

    A great photograph that reveals an ugly side of Italian life.

    El Wonger on January 13, 2012 2:53 PM:

    Most of the guys in that friend were Ruth Orkin’s (the phtotographer) friends and the photo was staged, although that’s been denied in more recent years. Jinx Allen (the girl in the photo, now known as Ninalee Craig), has always refuted the interpretation that she was afraid and being sexually harassed. She also acknowledges that this photo was one of two consecutive passes and shots that she and Ruth made down this street corner, during which they were flirting, socializing, conversing and having a generally innocent and good time with the locals.

    Smith & Ratliff on January 13, 2012 3:46 PM:

    There’s a diner on Hudson near my apt that has this hanging up.

    Gloria on January 14, 2012 11:07 PM:

    I kind of find it hard to believe anyone ever thought this was romantic … at first look, the girl looks terrified to me, and the guy on the scooter looks positively predatory.

    Great photo, but I wouldn’t want it hanging in my house as something to look at.

    Lauren on January 15, 2012 9:14 PM:

    I had this poster-sized on my teenage bedroom wall. I had aspirations of looking this chic, and garnering stares like that. When I finally did travel to Italy, I garnered the stares but certainly did not look as effortless.

    JV on January 16, 2012 4:08 PM:

    I think the point of titling it “American Girl in Italy” was that American women were (are) not taught how to deal effectively with this type of male attention. It’s been my experience that women from Latin countries know how to give the brush off exceedingly well, or, when feeling more playful, can give and take skillfully.

    It’s a very American idea that interaction between the sexes be so regimented. Well, maybe not solely American.

    chris on January 20, 2012 6:56 AM:

    Reminds me of that scene in godfather when the film mogul goes,
    “And then Johnny Fontaine with his greasy olive oil ways and guinea charm goes and ruins her for me…….”
    In America we call them Guidos
    Guidos or Guidettes.
    Like Snooki of Joisey

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