Villaggio dei Fiori
When I moved to Villaggio dei Fiori, I didn’t have the faintest idea what would happen. I’d just ended a relationship, suddenly, wildly, and was looking for a home in Milan. It didn’t matter where. I was looking for a place I could afford, that would be available as soon as possible. Some kind friends said I could move into the house where their grandma had used to live, in western Milan, between the districts known as Primaticcio and Giambellino. I didn’t know the area well but their offer was great and so I accepted it, moving to via dei Gigli in just twenty-four hours. No sooner had I arrived than for the first time in years I felt at home. Suddenly I realized that the expression ‘to live in’ assumed a completely different shape here. The people didn’t just live in their homes, they lived in the entire neighbourhood, the streets and the people around.”
Everyone here seems to have their own powerful personal story. The homes themselves talk about the people who live in them, the presence of tiny gardens behind each little house has led everyone to create an extension, mostly an abusive one, of their own home. It was in these yards, so atypical for a metropolis like Milan, that a series of unconscious self-portraits was born, all rigorously shot on film, among metal panels, palm trees, parked boats, stone-walled rooms. Photo on photo, this is how the stories of the people who live around via dei Gigli intertwine. There’s Domenico, who is raising his daughters
Martina and Alessandra on his own and who gives me home-made pasta with meatballs on Sunday because i help Martina with her homework. Then there’s Greta, who lost an arm a few years ago because of a serious accident but who now is happy and in love. And then there’s Marco and and Luisa, who
one evening found their car burned out and who now dream of moving to the Canaries.
This project, what was really unexpected, completely overturned my life. For the very first time I was
immersed in it, my personal life and the project became one thing. I build up strong and real relationships that are going beyond photography, but because of it they gave the possibility to all the people involved in the project to see a new and a better version of themselves. The desire of my neighbors to be noticed is it caused by being often overlooked by the society, in which they live on the margins. For once they have become the center of everything, and their joy and gratitude is more than enough to justify all the effort, passion, and love that I have put into this project. My goal is to be able to bring their stories to the eyes of as many people as possible, because these human beings that came from nothing and with nothing but opened hearts found a way to build a strong and reliable community in a society that tries all the time to separate us, deserve to be seen and heard.