Tazio Secchiaroli and life between set and reality

The word ‘paparazzo’ has made its way into the international vocabulary, but its etymology is surrounded by an aura of mystery. Writer Ennio Flaiano, who was one of the scriptwriters on “La Dolce Vita”, revealed that Fellini and he decided to give that funny name to Walter Santesso’s character in the movie by mangling the last name of Coriolano Paparazzo, a hotel owner in an early-1900s’ novel by George Gissing.

However, according to legend, the true inspiration for the movie’s character was Tazio Secchiaroli, who had told Fellini about his misadventures as a professional photographer and reporter, making a living between stakeouts and fights with furious celebrities, mad scurries on foot or on his Lambretta, running to save his photographs.

This archetypical ‘paparazzo’ was born in 1925 in Rome’s working-class district of Centocelle. Through his work, he was able to tell a wide range of stories: the wild nightlife on Via Veneto, the capital’s hotspot where he was able to catch a glimpse of Walter Chiari, Ava Gardner, Anita Ekberg, King Faruq of Egypt, and many other VIPs; but also scenes from the Italian Parliament, poverty in the outskirts of Rome, the pilgrims at the 1950 Jubilee, and much more.

Secchiaroli always kept in touch with the world of cinema, and not only by “running into” its protagonists. After 1960, he became a trusted companion to many of them – including Fellini himself and Marcello Mastroianni – accompanying some in the streets and on set. He was Sophia Loren’s personal photographer for twenty years.

Here are some of the silver screen stars he portrayed at the height of his career.

Tazio Secchiaroli, Claudia Cardinale, 1961

Claudia Cardinale, 1961

Tazio Secchiaroli, Vittorio De Sica on the set of "Marriage Italian Style", "Matrimonio all'italiana", Cinecittà, 1964

Vittorio De Sica on the set of "Marriage Italian Style", Cinecittà, 1964

Tazio Secchiaroli, Elsa Martinelli on the set of "The Tenth Victim", "La decima vittima", Cinecittà, 1965

Elsa Martinelli on the set of "The Tenth Victim", Cinecittà, 1965

Tazio Secchiaroli, Federico Fellini during the filming of "8 1/2", Cinecittà, 1963

Federico Fellini during the filming of "8 1/2", Cinecittà, 1963

Tazio Secchiaroli, Fellini during the filming of "Amarcord", Cinecittà, 1974

Fellini during the filming of "Amarcord", Cinecittà, 1974

Tazio Secchiaroli, Sophia Loren during a break between takes of "Arabesque", London, 1966

Sophia Loren on a break between takes of "Arabesque", London, 1966

Tazio Secchiaroli, Sophia Loren in a scene from "The Priest's Wife", "La moglie del prete", Padova, 1970

Sophia Loren in a scene from "The Priest's Wife", Padua, 1970

Tazio Secchiaroli, Sophia Loren among the wigs

Sophia Loren among the wigs

Tazio Secchiaroli, Sophia Loren during a break in "C'era una volta", Matera, 1967

Sophia Loren on break in "C'era una volta", Matera, 1967

Tazio Secchiaroli, Sophia Loren during a break in the filming of "Bianco, Rosso e…", Almeria, Spain, 1972

Sophia Loren on a break while filming "Bianco, rosso e…", Almeria, Spain, 1972

Tazio Secchiaroli, Silvana Mangano with her three children on the set of "The last Judgment", Teatro San Carlo, Napoli, 1961

Silvana Mangano with her three children on the set of "The last Judgment", Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 1961

Tazio Secchiaroli, Silvana Mangano, 1961

Silvana Mangano, 1961

Tazio Secchiaroli, Marco Ferreri during the shooting of "Casanova '70", 1965

Marco Ferreri during the shooting of "Casanova '70", 1965

Tazio Secchiaroli, Mastroianni on the set of "Casanova '70" at Fiumicino airport, 1965

Mastroianni on the set of "Casanova '70" at Fiumicino airport, Rome, 1965

Tazio Secchiaroli, Marcello Mastroianni on the set of "8 1/2", Cinecittà, 1963

Marcello Mastroianni on the set of "8 1/2", Cinecittà, 1963

Tazio Secchiaroli, Marcello Mastroianni and Marisa Mell in "Casanova '70", Apulia, 1965

Marcello Mastroianni and Marisa Mell in "Casanova '70", Apulia, 1965

Tazio Secchiaroli, Pier Paolo Pasolini on the set of "Accattone", Roma, 1961

Pier Paolo Pasolini on the set of "Accattone", Rome, 1961

Tazio Secchiaroli, Virna Lisi, "Casanova '70", 1965

Virna Lisi, "Casanova '70", 1965

Tazio Secchiaroli, Virna Lisi on the set of "Casanova '70", 1965

Virna Lisi on the set of "Casanova '70", 1965

WEEKLY POSTCARD

Most Read

The Great War Museum: history at high altitude

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloOn the top of the Marmolada, at 3,000 meters of altitude, you’ll find the Marmolada Great War...

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli: neo-gothic inspiration

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli is located in Sassari’s central Piazza d’Italia. It was built by will of Giuseppe Giordano Apostoli in 1877, in...

Move To The Top takes you to the roof of the Dolomites

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle Nebiolo On 4 July 2020, the cableway to Malga Ciapèla will re-open. Its short,...

Tenute La Montina, the realm of Franciacorta

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloTenute La Montina is located in Monticelli Brusati (BS), in the north-east of Franciacorta, next to an ample...