The Concrete Side of Italy
The big cities in Italy have their fair share of slum and monotonous housing estates as depressing examples of modern Italian architecture.
It’s funny how travel memories always seem pretty and bathed in a golden light. We take photos that look like postcards and come home with a clear impression of the attractions and beauty of a place. A year later all I remember is baroque gems in Sicily, the burgundy red houses of Bologna or the candy-coloured villages in Cinque Terre. As an antidote I try to take some unphotogenic photos showing a different kind of reality.
Monotonous housing and derelict schools
In Italy most town centres are so fabulous I want to immigrate immediately. I tend to forget that they are surrounded by a ring of concrete, where most Italian families actually live, crammed together in small, restricted spaces. Most state schools – especially in the south – are literally crumbling. And a lot of the public buildings from the Mussolini era appear intimidating.
As the photos below show, modern housing estates may compromise our aesthetic values, but they are more convenient than the picturesque old buildings. At least until they too start to decay. Besides it is my impression that Italians prefer the close quarters in a block of flats to independent housing. It makes them feel more secure. They even get buried in a high-rise.