Small owners, profiteers, unknown inhabitants: a series of short-sighted actors, without a global view on the city, left alone by the lack of a real public governance, who have -between the twenties and seventies of the twentieth century- step by step built a piece of Rome, which has today assumed peculiar traits, raising at the same time fascination and rejection. Is it a piece of the old town -where some of its inhabitants were born- which has moved to the outskirts or is it an outskirts - a piece of Italian peasantry - absorbed inside the urban area? Actually it is the portion of a ring that cross-cuts the main streets of the city, today neither centre nor periphery. This territory has acquired - somewhat suddenly and by chance- a brand new identity in the eyes of inhabitants, of immigrants, of travellers. “Est” relates this territory of the middle, agglomeration almost inadvertent of areas originally separated such as Quadraro, Pigneto, Torpignattara e Casal Bertone. After 60 years, it connects pieces of a mosaic stratified in a century, according to a strange effect of overall balance, given by alchemy of new migrations, internal and international, and by new political dynamics. The territory of “Est” (East) is that of “another” Rome, where any flânerie is definitely waned, and which is at the same time far away from any underclass poetry about the margin. Away from the definitions of the common sense, as from the expert knowledge of academic disciplines, "Est" swings in a balance that has to be constantly reinvented -where new exploitations replace the old ones but also where significant self-produced projects take place- without having yet, a century after its birth, a political project for the future to lead the collective development.

Text by Pierluigi Cervelli, Research Professor at Sapienza University of Rome