The Eurostars Roma Congress Hotel and Convention Center, a modern four-star hotel almost a kilometre from Rome’s ring road (Grande Raccordo Anulare) on the eastern periphery of the city, closed unexpectedly in December 2011, laying off 60 workers. The structure is part of the international luxury chain Eurostars, which owns more than 50 hotels worldwide, predominantly oriented towards a business clientele.
The imposing glass structure remained abandoned for almost a year, until it became occupied by 200 migrant families, led by the BPM collective (Blocchi Precari Metropolitani), one of the most well-known movements tackling the housing crisis in the capital. The occupation is part of a wave of activism that took place on 6 December 2012, bringing around 3,000 people living in a housing emergency into dozens of unsold or unused buildings to shouts of ‘let’s take back the city’.
4Stelle Hotel is inhabited by around 500 people, comprising 30 different nationalities, who predominantly come from the Maghreb, the Horn of Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. They have been able to revitalise the hotel through shared re-activation of the rooms and communal spaces, according to a process of internal self-organisation, including cleaning rotas and picket lines. Some of the occupants have lived in Italy for years, others have escaped from regimes, revolution and extreme poverty. All of them claim with dignity their right to a home and a better future.
4Stelle Hotel is the story of this multi-ethnic apartment building, which is fighting for a brighter future, under constant threat of eviction by the authorities. The home, in fact, is not only a shelter: it is a right to be claimed and defended.
The story is also a webdocumentary available at www.4stellehotel.it made with the videomaker Paolo Palermo.
Valerio Muscella, 1985, Italy. He held a degree in psychology and transcultural studies and he has been working for an Ngo in South America and in the Balkans in the international cooperation for development field. He became a self-taught freelance photographer specialized in photographic reportage focusing his attention on social issues and borderline stories. He is currently collaborating with an audiovisual archive documenting social movements and issues related to migration.