Home News Rome, do-it-yourself landfills: that continuous cycle of a city without alibi

Rome, do-it-yourself landfills: that continuous cycle of a city without alibi

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Rome, do-it-yourself landfills: that continuous cycle of a city without alibi

ROMA – The long road of the garbage is a hot asphalt snake that crosses via di Castel Malnome, Muratella area, a kind of dead end yet open on the fields. One of the first things I come across is a toilet for contemplation – flushing like binoculars. But the scattered, burning, broken garbage, this endless trail of waste is a constant surprise, if you lean down to study it.

The most unthinkable juxtaposition, the most incongruous coexistence of objects, of scraps is manifested here with exemplary creativity: chance and rudeness, fate and incivility. Who finds an easy alibi in the city that wants to be “ungovernable”, the city that burns and intoxicates.

The can of Coke and the mismatched shoe. The flammable liquid tank and the mattress. The springs – burned – of the dissolved mattress, its battered iron core. The old encyclopedia (a book, among the rubbish, always pops up!) And a door with its key still in the lock. The washing machine, the advertising sign, the cans of tuna, an even elegant set of dishes, a smoked soft toy that takes on a sinister air. A pile of laundry. An old wooden chair stuck upside down in the vegetation that perhaps has grown around it.

There is something majestic and squalid at the same time in the inarginable waste production of the contemporary citizen: a kind of innocent guilt, which assimilates the environment to the less lieutenant, which makes us more or less equal in the need to get rid of the organic and of the organic, in the habit of going down after dinner with the bag that compacts – more or less differentiated – the leftover of our existence, the excess and the dross, the junk, the wrapping, the rejected, the rotten. The late twentieth-century metropolis like that of this century seems condemned to fight with the filth, the waste it produces and which keeps it in permanent siege.

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Traveling along this road that has become a landfill – there is also an overturned sofa, one of those with an “electric recliner” -, the symbolic epitome of a widespread disaster, I would like to do anything but disturb literature. And yet it is difficult not to see in Rome the visible, hyper-visible signs of the invisible city imagined by Italo Calvino among him: Leonia, waiting for the garbage truck like an angel’s chariot. Necessarily mephitic and at the same time redeeming. Leonia who wants to get rid of “burnt out light bulbs, newspapers, containers, packaging materials, but also water heaters, encyclopedias, pianos, porcelain services”, but nothing, the piles of waste are so high that disposing of them is a business, while garbage “improves its substance, resists time, bad weather, fermentation and combustion. It is a fortress of indestructible remnants that surrounds Leonia, towering over it on all sides like a plateau of mountains”.

So Rome. So here: I go down to Portuense, there is a ravine of scrub at the height of the Fosso della Breccia, and it is a heap of swollen sacks, black and blue and green envelopes, a composition of involuntary contemporary and degenerate art, where the material crumbled construction and a block of an old chimney, mounds of plastic and asbestos, have found their infamous place in the landscape.

There is a motorcycle, a little further on, parked in front of the passage where a prostitute and her stalwart client slip into his bags of rubbish, an infamous signage, with disaffection and squalor. The truth is that the ugly authorizes the ugly, the filthy covers the shame of the filthy, trains us not to see it, to a willful indifference. My god, what a century did the mice say, says a poet’s verse, and I don’t know what exactly mice, boars, seagulls say, but mountains of rubbish, or their softer, more digestible, more rotting zone , has accustomed them to a promiscuity that is, after all, as uncomfortable for them as it is for us.

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The signs of old Rome, those that still flash on the marble in the alleys, in the late 1700s invited residents to throw “rubbish” on the orders of some Monsignor, reminded the distracted, indeed “any person” to “do the mondezzaro / in this site / under the penalties contained / in the edict “. But here there is no pain that holds and holds back, if not that suffered in the abstract by the community of disappointed lovers of the capital, guilty too confess (we too) because they are convinced that Rome does not change and does not change.

We might as well blame the mayor, the former mayors, the Ama, the forces of evil and the underworld, while recklessly – in a stretch of via dell’Archeologia or at Rocca Cencia, at Quadraro or at Marcigliana; in a recess of the Colombo one step away from a ruin and from the editorial office of this newspaper – something is unloaded in the DIY landfill. The generic extenuating circumstances? Granted. But “mortacci”, as they say in the area, when a resentful amazement occurs. The voice of the blame has already been fixed by Belli – as always – once and for all. The sonnet is from April 1834, the title is “Er monnezzaro provibbito”; and the accused replied like this: My Monziggnore, / When she finds er guilty, you gastigatelo: / But er rubbish nun I have done it. “Er rubbish nobody did it, here it is the eternal voice of Rome : the monnezzaro is the city, acquitted as eternal.

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