2 years of multi-ethnic cohabitation
Rome Babel’s hospital
The former “Regina Elena” hospital of Rome has been compared to Dante’s Inferno for its decay and ruined conditions. It was left abandoned 8 years ago, with its expensive equipment, medical products and broken furniture. In June 2007, some buildings of the hospital complex were occupied by almost 500 families. They came from Italy, Romania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, The Maghreb and South American countries, including a small Romany community. Most of the non-EU immigrants have a regular job but cannot afford the high rates of rent in Rome. The multi-ethnic occupation of the former hospital has worked surprisingly well: a lot of people of different nationalities have met and now live together in multiethnic families. In a city where abandoned buildings are common in every area, social integration is slow and hard, salaries are low and most immigrants, as well as a high percentage of Roman families, are facing a precarious economic situation, the occupied hospital was an incredibly unique case of cohabitation and solidarity. In september 2009 the police evacuated the building.