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Igiaba and Termini’s hidden colonialism

Who knows what that obelisk is about? Anybody has an idea why the square in front of Termini is called like that? Igiaba Scego unveils a bit of history about it.

Igiaba Scego is an Italian author or Somali origin. She wrote, among others, “Denied Rome” and “Adua”, where Termini train station plays a central role, as an often unknown albeit familiar place. “I pass by Termini everyday, I am a bit obsessed about including it in my books”, Igiaba tells us.

In her stories, another recurrent theme is Somalia and an often overlooked historical period: Italian colonialism, including that which happened before fascism. Italy was born in fact as a military conquest, as a taking hold of symbolic places, as was Rome for the newly established Kingdom of Sardinia, with capital Turin. Conquering Rome meant creating Italy.

Within the frame of this symbolism, Termini, whose birth almost coincides with the birth of Italy as a country, was a sign of progress. The possibility to travel, the link from Rome to the rest of Italy, starting from the new centre of the town, the Esquilino neighborhood.

Igiaba talks to us about a part of history related precisely to Esquilino, in particular to that little nameless square between Piazza della Repubblica e Piazza dei Cinquecento. Two pieces of Rome that are new, compared to the rest of the town, because they date back to exactly to the birth of Italy as a country (1861). The memory of these places as they were before is completely lost, as is lost the memory of this little monument that Igiaba describes to us in this video.

The monument, also known as Stele di Dogali, is one of the least looked at monuments in Rome, yet it has a peculiar story, which Igiaba tells us in detail. This monument was in fact at the centre of harsh debate, and it sparked controversy about Italian colonialism itself. Igiaba explains to us why, in this first video of a series of insight into the Esquilino neighborhood.

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2 comments

  1. Il video molto interessante e bello…mi lascia sconvolta che ci fosse una persona stesa con un sacchetto in testa a faccia in giu` vicino alla partenza dei pulman e nessuno si e` fermato, neanche la scrittrice o i cameramen…perche`?

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