0,50 km²

0,50 km²

The smallest historic district of Rome, surrounded by important and unchangeable borders and populated by migrants since its creation at the end of '800, is reacting to the process of gentrification that threatens its identity, outlined by its particular history. The determination with which it opposes is the result of two aspects: the strong connotation of resistance and political opposition, and the common need for roots. San Lorenzo is a protective neighborhood, which welcomes those who choose it - come from anywhere - with a collective identity, stronger of increasingly instrumentalised cultural divisions, characterized by acceptance and respect for diversity, awareness of the importance of community and solidarity among generations. An identity that is both reason and means against economic speculation and social exclusion.

I began taking photos 7 March 2015 with the idea to start a project on memory, when I went to interview a 90 year-old of San Lorenzo, the district symbol of the price paid by the civilian population in a war who did not want and did not understand: July 19, 1943, the first bombing of Rome provoked 1.5 thousand confirmed victims, but are thought to be been at least 3000. I felt in that moment the importance (and the need) to keep alive that memory, to give voice to the elderly witnesses of the war.
A first step, after which the path followed the case, the meetings expected and unexpected, the always more curiosity, the growing complexity and constant attempts at simplification. It was, and is, like entering a maze where each new person or situation suggested me to look in another direction. I did not know, 20 months ago, that the key word was identity, for this project and also for me.

The identity is linked to the physical space. Like the house for each of us, the neighborhood represent the soul of a community. Say I'm from or I live in San Lorenzo has always been a special identity connotation throughout the city of Rome and beyond, and deleting its memory traces it would be like to demolish the Coliseum for the Romans. Gentrification, which demolishes historic architecture constructing in its place anonymous buildings, is demolition of collective identity, in San Lorenzo represented by the first industrial and residential buildings, or cultural symbols, the historic workshops, the trattorias, as well as by identifying oneself with a history of multicultural integration and "village life". If it continues and will continue to have it, is also and above all for the commitment of people like the protagonists of this story: a constant effort, including successes and failures, on several fronts but with shared idea of community and strategy. A process that seems unstoppable, as it has been in other urban areas, has been challenged and opposed to a collective project that wants to be, once again, testing a model of living together.

Meanwhile, a circle was closed, with the oppose the deletion of the memory that made me pick up the camera on March 7, 2015. I'm exploring and telling, after all, even myself and my change.

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” (Noam Chomsky)

The entire work is with the 50 mm lens, a challenge started a little 'by chance, that has become the choice of telling no special effects: only a defined part of what I see, probably what really catches my attention and then I'm looking at. The precious treasure which is kept in San Lorenzo is made of stories and tales, but especially of pictures that have stopped historic moments and kept alive the memory, and excite in their absolute simplicity. Also out of gratitude to that historical record, I preferred "the lens of reality."

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