The Quadraro is a book written in two volumes but bound together. The former speaks of its past, the raking, the workshops, solidarity and uniqueness. The second tells the answer to everything the inhabitants have experienced.
The welcome and peaceful coexistence with other ethnic groups, the absence of exclusion, and the openness to new ways of expressing art and street art in particular. More generally, an open, filtering view of the world.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the bar run by my parents, right here in the core of this neighbourhood. Practically a village bar, where various Pasolini characters took turns. All with colourful, peculiar, simple or very strong stories.
An Italian story
Mario. He is one of several individuals who have attracted my attention over the years. A man of few words, and those few in plain Roman far from academic. Years went by, my life took various paths, it was constantly changing. Not him. In the mornings I would see him walking around the streets of the town hall and I was always running. Then we would meet in the evening, at my dad’s bar. Me recounting my day, and him sitting on the classic white plastic chairs, legs crossed, and in his hands, now black, cigarette and beer.
One evening, with great simplicity I asked him ‘can I spend a day with you? He looked at me in amazement, as if to say, a little girl with me, for dumpsters?!
And so, after a few days, we found ourselves together rummaging through the capital’s buckets, amid much laughter and many confessions. It is a difficult life that Mario faces every day. There are rules among rubbish-seekers. There are ‘shifts‘ that must be respected and quadrants of competence. You don’t step on toes, ever! And if any discussion arises – even a very heated one – it is only because of misunderstanding. High tones, insults, swearing… then you make up for it with a drink in the bar. And away we go.
Mario’s work is the path of research and zero-kilometre sales. A peculiar craft reinvented to survive the loss of certainties. A marriage that is over. Children who do not accept the life their father lives. Then another marriage, more children, and clothes out the door again. Disputes, loneliness, abandonment.
Who knows what the truth(s) are.
What I felt like doing was just listening and participating in his words. Judgement and opinion are suspended.
Even more so the advice.
Mario is a man who lives off the discards of others, of what is no longer needed by someone but can serve others. Precisely that something unused is cleaned a little from the dust, arranged at the least and put back on the market to make some money. Or maybe that very bag thrown by the lady on the seventh floor of Cardinali Square can be present for the girlfriend waiting for him in the caravan.
Mario is calm in a world of speed, he is pure loyalty in relationships in a society of careerists, and he is knowing how to live with dignity.
Spending days with Mario made me have fun, amaze, and live in a different way than usual… because entering a dumpster like a shopping mall is not every day.
Then you return home, with a certain stench on you… the stench of kilometres and territories.
This is what the road and life are about immersing oneself, stopping, listening and living the story of others.