Saraceno building park squatters
Villaggio Coppola, also called Pinetamare, is a part of the municipality of Castel Volturno located on Litorale Domitio, along via Domitiana and only 25 kms away from Naples.
The site is an example of illegal building site carried out on a large scale in the area. It takes its name from the Coppola bros, businessmen in Casal di Principe, who in the mid-sixties started the construction of a multi-purpose seaside tourism center, taking inspiration from the Baia Domizia urban centre started a few years earlier, but situaded 40 kms further north.
Skyscrapers, sea view villas, access road to the village and inside the village itself, electricity and sewage systems, a water treatment plant (the only one in the area at that time), bars, discos, cinemas all contributed to Pinetamare being seen as the California of Italy.
On a raised terrain, like a terrace overlooking the sea next to the old dock, finally stands the Saraceno resort park. The pride of Villaggio Coppola, the resort park is a residential area made up of thirty three-storey buildings, which used to host Naples-stationed NATO families for almost twenty years.
The natural events that in those years hit Campania, especially Naples, such as the bradyseism of 1978 and 1983 and the earthquake of 1980, dramatically reveal the shortcomings of the territory in terms of building heritage. This found a temporary solution: the years from 1978 to 1988 when more than five thousand people were housed in its habitable infrastructures. A solution of the Government that lead, in a few years, to the private owners’ of their properties. This also meant the degradation of the site, due to a local maladministration coupled with a very strong economic interest by camorra, since then in ever more organic collusion with politics.
The phenomenon culminated with the 1998 inclusion of this area in the Sites of National Interest (SIN) to start de-pollution operations deemed to be of the utmost urgency.
Today Villaggio Coppola has been relaunched, but the Saraceno resort park, for which a trade union ordinance was issued in 2015 for the demolition or restructuring, and securing of buildings, remains in total neglected condition. Its buildings look dilapidated, with unsafe terraces and stairs, porticoes full of garbage, destroyed parapets, bricked up doors and windows and 90% of which occupied by squatters. These are foreigners looking for a place where to live, local people and people from the northern suburbs of Naples, most of them without a job or with a criminal record, who at best survive thanks to occasional work or as unauthorized parking attendants, while women work as dishwashers or home help. Considered as rejects of society, they steal electricity power from the poles in the street, forced to a miserable and humiliated life, aware of living in a place forgotten by everyone. They are strongly desirous of redemption, people full of solidarity, generous in the range of their possibilities, and united in their small world.