29.12.2017

Polo del Gusto: The Christmas tale of a post-quake reconstruction

A 12-minute video describes the year zero of Amatrice in the words of the restaurant owners who have found new premises and designers to fit them out.

Thanks to the funds collected by the Corriere della Sera newspaper and the TV News program of La 7, along with the project donated by Stefano Boeri Architetti, the “Polo Del Gusto” (Fine Food Complex) has been operative since the end of July: a 12-minute video describes the year zero of Amatrice in the words of the restaurant owners who have found new premises and designers to fit them out.

Just over one year has gone by since the catastrophic earthquake which hit the center of Amatrice causing a terribly high number of victims.

Twenty interminable seconds and the ancient center of the beautiful town of Amatrice, set in the Latium Apennines, was reduced to a heap of rubble, leaving the survivors with the sole certainty that nothing would ever be quite the same again.

At more than one year since the disaster, a video recounts the efforts made to reconstruct the premises, work and lives of the restaurateurs of Amatrice, who were badly hit by the quake.

The construction of the canteen – completed in just a few weeks during the Christmas period of 2016 – and that of the Polo del Gusto – at a later date – are stories of compassion, communal willpower, solidarity and awareness: a story reminding us that it is the decisions of men and women which actually give a meaning to events and to the concept of time.

The Polo del Gusto was opened last July, at less than one year from that terrible night and, since then, it has attracted numerous visitors and tourists who express their solidarity with Amatrice every day.

The video shot by the recently founded Milanese film production company “The Blink Fish” narrates this first chapter of the Amatrice reconstruction project, from the viewpoint of those who have refused to give up and have steadfastly believed in its rebirth, ever since the morning of 24 August.

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The Polo del Gusto consists of a series of buildings spread over an area of 8,000 sq meters all dedicated to food and conviviality: a new town square which, as well as the canteen, hosts eight of the town’s historical restaurants, which were wiped out by the quake.

An idea that has taken shape thanks to the solidarity of many people: Corriere della Sera newspaper and the TV News program of La 7 have collected donations from all over Italy, the firm of Stefano Boeri Architetti has donated and coordinated the project, the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia has made an operative contribution through the Innova FVG Consortium in the way of prefabricated modular wood elements, produced in the same region. A project which would never have seen the light without the impassioned enthusiasm and the perseverance of the restaurateurs, the municipal administrators and the entire population of Amatrice.

A race against time which – as Stefano Boeri remarked – shows “that even in an emergency, it is possible to deliver things of quality that are destined to last”. The reconstruction will probably take a long time but the example of the Polo del Gusto shows that Amatrice will rise again – possibly in new forms, driven by the passion of its inhabitants and by the solidarity of millions of Italians.

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