I won’t come down

Women who climb trees and look into the distance

Io non scendo. Al Magazzino delle idee dal 18 maggio al 25 agosto 2024

18 May to 25 August 2024

At the Magazzino delle Idee, a photographic exhibition brings together two hundred anonymous photos, dating from 1870 to 1970, depicting women in the treetops. Together with the images, fifteen stories that weave together photography, literature and cinema to tell the liberating power of ascent. Among the protagonists are Louisa May Alcott, Simone de Beauvoir, Pippi Longstocking, Angela Carter, and the Trieste-born Bianca di Beaco and Tiziana Weiss, and Udine-born Riccarda de Eccher


In her autobiography ‘I am not a mountaineer‘, the Triestine mountaineer Bianca di Beaco tells how her mother, a peasant, had pushed her ‘not so much towards material conquests, but towards a conquest of myself’. And at the top of the mountains, just as as a child at the top of the trees, Bianca had discovered ‘the dimension in which dreams are realised’. The sportswoman from Trieste is just one of the many new Eve’s who, in order to affirm the need to be themselves, moving away from the stereotype that wants them to be roots for the nourishment of others, have chosen to climb trees, to make themselves fruit, to be subversive like every creature that ascends towards the sky to deny earthly gravity and observe the world from a new perspective. And, once at the top, to declare: ‘I won’t come down‘.

Curated by Laura Leonelli, journalist and writer, contributor to the cultural supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore (and of Arte e AD) and passionate collector of anonymous photographs, the exhibition stems from her book of the same name, published by Postcart edizioni, and brings together, in a layout that recalls the idea of the forest, over two hundred anonymous photographs, accompanied by fifteen stories, of women who, from 1870 to 1970, chose to have their portraits taken in the treetops.

"Women climb trees when they disobey. And every woman who disobeys is the daughter of the first, most celebrated and damned of disobedient women: Eve. Listening to the voice of the new Eve, from the 12th century to the present day, this book reports the leaps, the disappointments, the struggles, the ascents of some of them - mystics, writers, philosophers, photographers, ecologists, entrepreneurs, mountaineers - who disobeyed and climbed the tree of consciousness and their own fulfilment".

Tree-climbing women have always existed, points out Leonelli, but the literary matrix that gave an impetus to the practice of having one’s photograph taken climbing a tree was the novel ‘Little Women‘, published in 1868. Jo March, in fact, the most iconic of the four protagonists of Louisa May Alcott‘s masterpiece, adored by all the novel’s readers for her rebellious and courageous character (thus, at the time, masculine), loves to read, and it is no coincidence that she likes to read in the apple tree in front of her house. Jo is the author’s alter ego, with whom Simone de Beauvoir, among others, identifies, and is brought to the screen by another passionate climber, Katharine Hepburn, who like Jo loves to climb trees.

Then there is Pippi Longstocking, born from the pen of Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, a libertarian and independent woman who loved climbing trees, and Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent 738 days in a tree, a thousand-year-old sequoia, becoming the symbol of one of the most extraordinary struggles of the American ecology movement.

The exhibition pays tribute to three women from Trieste and Friuli, three great climbers: Bianca di Beaco, Riccarda de Eccher and Tiziana Weiss. On the other hand, who better than a female climber to continue the ascent begun in the trees? Three female climbers, two generations and a city where women have been freer than elsewhere. In Trieste they started climbing early, and no one found it strange. Like all restless little girls, they tackled their first climb in the trees, and then made their way into a world that, until then, had been strictly forbidden to half of mankind.

Laura Leonelli

Laura Leonelli, journalist, contributes to the cultural supplement of Il Sole 24 Ore, Arte e AD. She is curator of the Ettore Molinario Collection.

She has published the volumes Siberia per due. Mother and daughter along the Enisej (Feltrinelli), Lem. Viaggio iniziatico di un piccolo Buddha (Contrasto), Paolo Ventura. Autobiografia di un impostore (Johan & Levi), Rosalia Rabinovich. Red Star (Biffi Arte), Bruno Corali. Il volo della gazzella (Lubrina), È Nestlè. Un viaggio all’origine di tanti sapori italiani (Peliti Associati), Un anno Pedrini (Peliti Associati). He has been studying and collecting anonymous photography for years.


The exhibition is accompanied by the book Io non scendo published by Postcart edizioni

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 a.m. -07:00 p.m

Monday closed

Special openings

2 June, 15 August 2024


Full-ticket € 8.00

Reduced price € 5.00:
– 65 years and over
– children from 12 to 18 years of age
– students up to 26 years of age
– differently abled

Free of charge:
– children up to 12 years of age
– group leaders (1 per group)
– visiting teachers with pupils/students (2 per group)
– one accompanying person per disabled person
– ICOM cardholders
– journalists with a valid National Order card on duty
– FVG card holders

Groups (min 10 people – max 25 people):
€5.00 each without guide
€4.00 each with guide (plus €50.00 for the guide)

The ticket office closes half an hour before


email: info@magazzinodelleidee.it
phone +39 040 3774783


Facebook: @magazzinoideetrieste

Instagram: @magazzinodelleidee


Press office

Giulia Basso

email: giuliabass@gmail.com

phone +39 349 3117889

logo Friuli Venezia Giulia