“Borgate”: portraits of redemption

A journey through the suburbs of Rome (so called borgate) in order to explore a more authentic, less known side of the city. “Borgate” takes inspiration from the English gate, often used as a suffix to refer to political scandals while as a noun to signify the entrance, both metaphorical and physical to the most vivid sections of the city.

The lack of a general knowledge of the city is widely found in the average citizen being focused on its own micro-city. Recent urban studies have defined Rome as a metropolitan area, spread on a very large and articulated territory, where people live without a direct connection with the city centre due to last decades of urban speculation and inefficient planning.

Given such complexity, the focus of the photographic exploration shifted to the places where the fascist regime had established the “official” borgate painfully designed to be located far from the centre of Rome. Over the years, these districts have turned into fundamental parts of the city for their capability to adapt themselves and promote change though neglected and kept far from the public eye.

The reportage captures the structural dimension of the contemporary suburbs, and particularly, the humanity that lies underneath it. Snapshots have been performed at the dawn of wintery Sundays in which the housing density was at its highest: a peculiar time with buildings crawling with life on one hand, and empty and deserted streets and squares on the other.

The environmental degradation is here told with no sugar coating on it, but it is not intended as the core of the story: the viewfinder was rather pointed at the powerful energy that distinctively flows from opportunity.

The antagonisms and the racisms, the conflicts and the struggles seem to show out of focus, almost neutralised. Instead, what is predominant is the dignity, bothindividual and collective, that can be found in these complex housing arrangements. The pictures in this collection represent a sincere tribute to those who live in the portrayed places. At the same time, they want to be an invitation not to forget our common values, and to dearly treasure them instead.

About the author:

Pasquale “Pas” Liguori was born in Naples. He’s been living and working in Rome for years. A communication and strategy advisor, he has been practicing photography for a long time, mostly focusing on his research on the suburbs, both from an architectural and a socio-anthropological perspective. His most recent work on the housing conditions of Rome, Naples and Berlin is centred on the analysis of places and living arrangements, where the human presence is portrayed through its eloquent traces, in an original approach that combines reportage and urban studies. He made several exhibitions and authored papers on suburbs renewal and social photography.

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