A paper mesh country

  • Italiano
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marmo_raffaeleNow there’s no longer need for an earthquake anymore. Italy does it on her own-collapse of course. School after school. Pilar after pillar. Viaduct after viaduct. Tunnel after tunnel. Underground passage after underground passage. The very so-called ‘ public works ‘ disintegrate and fall on themselves, go up in dust. Papier-mâché, even plasterboard. Plastics in real size. But only apparently, because it takes nothing to ruin the ground like scenes from a theatrical fiction.

No, it’s got nothing to do with earthquakes, hydrogeological instability, floods, and landslides and the likes. No, what comes out is, trivially, the country of cheap tenders, bribes for every inch of asphalt, of endless litigations before the TAR (Supreme Appeal Courts), the longwinding bureacratic procedures of millionaire arbitrations , virtual testing. It is a country made of paper – memopaper – branded, mega-lots and sneakingl fictional pilfering, fake checks and real bargains.

Italy, a country of grand public gatherings, masters in paragraphs and subparagraphs but above all in public relations, who diligently visit associations and cliques that are influential, which pack codes 2 metres tall and claim all attachments to be stamped and approved, the ‘Durc’ (abbreviation for ‘give way to checks’) in place and in time – even when Inps (Natioanl Institute for

But it wasn’t always like this. There was another Italy, even relating to public works. A country of men today forgotten, ‘ who made the undertaking ‘. On 19 may, 1956, the day when along a dirt road a few hundred metres, the green light was given to start the works; there was nothing: no final draft, no technology, no professional skills, not even the money. On 4 October 1964-just eight years later and ahead of time-a stretch of asphalt 755 kilometres long, connects Milan with Naples, the North with the South: this is the Autostrada del Sole, 113 bridges and viaducts, flyovers, 38 572 tunnels, 57 fittings with an average of 94 km of road over a year, on one of the most difficult routes in the world. No one has ever managed to exceed this average. And, not by chance, the 30 June 1964, in New York, at Moma, an exhibition was inaugurated that celebrated the most beautiful highway in the world».

During those eight years – says Francesco Pinto in “The straight road»-an army of laborers, carpenters, technicians, planners fought to fulfill the promise of its construction. And on that road he was to find his fate. It was there that Fedele Cova, the Managing Director of Autostrade company, the Director of the enterprise, went to look for it who, on the day of its inauguration, strolling among the deserted lanes and the smooth asphalt surface, was toh ave said: “We hope to be able to keep our backs straight over the coming years”. A wish not fulfilled-unfortunately.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati

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