They keep calling them “baracche” (shanties)

Small houses threatend of demolition in Largo Perestrello (district of Tor Pignattara, Roma)

Gentrification in Rome spreads in circles around the black hole of the historical center, attacking parts of town that we used to consider peripheral. In Tor Pignattara, the most densified and polyglot district of Rome, real estate speculators divide buildings in smaller units, and threaten the few little houses that are left: they keep calling them “baracche” (shanties) to legitimate their gradual demolition and substitution with palazzi. Organized crime and neofascism spread even in parts of town that used to be “red”; as politicians approve new urban plans that contain no urbanism except certifying any kind of old and new speculations. But resistance is also beginning to reorganize. When a real estate owner in the area opened a new hole in Largo Perestrello, destroying a garden and threatening a group of houses, some residents of the neighborhood began a mobilization to stop the construction of another palazzo: they are the same people that squatted an abandoned land nearby turning it in a garden. To defend a piece of public green, in Rome, is an action of insurgency: this is why the place was called orto insortoinsurgent garden!

  • PHOTO gallery on Quadraro and Torpignattara.
  • Orto Ins-Orto, blog of the squatted garden in via degli Angeli. On january 27th there was a meeting against speculation and the new “Piano Casa”.
  • “Clash of civilizations for an elevator in Largo Perestrello”, ironic photo by OpiumSe
  • Stefania FICACCI (2007) Tor Pignattara: fascismo e resistenza di un quartiere romano. Franco Angeli. [buy the book used][Review in english]
  • Carlotta DI SANTO, The places of Pasolini: the neighborhoods in Accattone, Mamma Roma, Uccellacci e uccellini, in the sixties and today. Pigneto, Borgata Gordiani, Tor Pignattara, Tiburtino, Portuense, Testaccio, Casal Bertone, Quadraro, Appio Claudio, Tor Marancia, Arvalia, Trullo, Borgata Petrelli. Download PDF
  • About urban history in Rome, essential texts are Italo INSOLERA (1962) Roma moderna and Antonio CEDERNA (1975) Mussolini urbanista [comment in italian]. Michael HERZFELD‘s (2009) Evicted from Eternity focuses on gentrification in the central neighborhood of Monti [comment in english]; see also article by M.A.MONTUORI (2007) on migrations in Esquilino and Pigneto neighborhoods [PDF, english]