“The Magic Labaro Moms” (Rome, Italy)
Feb 22, 2024

Latitudo Workshop Labaro MCY2023 © Paola Farfaglio Courtesy Latitudo Art Projects

Labaro is the 57th zone of Rome. It is located 11 kilometers north of the city centre, along the Via Flaminia, just outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare, in the XV Municipality.

It is one of the most densely populated areas in the Municipality with more than 22,000 inhabitants. 19.41% of the local population are foreigners living in the district who are really integrated and part of the social daily life of the neighborhood. Furthermore, in Labaro the population is relatively younger than the city average.

Labaro is also called between the inhabitants: “15-minutes city”.

The 15-minute city is a residential urban concept where the majority of residents’ daily needs can be met by walking or biking directly from their homes. Popularized by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and inspired by the Franco-Colombian scientist Carlos Moreno, 15-minute cities are built on a series of 5-minute neighborhoods, also known as complete communities or walkable neighborhoods. The idea behind the 15-minute city is to encourage human relationships within one’s neighborhood, replacing the commodification of the city. It demonstrates how urban redevelopment, especially at the cultural level, is one of the successful tools to combat degradation by encouraging the population to take active actions towards our ecosystem. Labaro, as a “15-minutes city” is rich in green areas, parks, and schools. However, a significant drawback that all residents encounter in the neighborhood is the almost total absence of cultural, artistic, recreational, and educational activities for children, teenagers, and adults. Unlike other peripheral areas in Rome known for the strong presence of organized crime (such as Corviale, Trullo, Laurentino, Tor Bella Monaca, etc.), Labaro is a quiet and welcoming neighborhood but lacks incentives that promote a culturally active life. Some of the problems encountered in Labaro, talking with the people there are: lack of meeting places and educational and cultural poverty. There are no squares that can be experienced as such. From part of the inhabitants there is a low participation in open school activities that would deserve more attention and involvement to create the conditions for an educating community.


“Magic Carpets” project:  “We Are All Enea” (by Filippo Riniolo)

During the Città Foresta – Le Cosmicomiche Festival, to foster exchange and collaboration between local artists and associations, the Magic Carpets platform activities were held. From July to October 2023, in the open spaces and in the Public Libraries, which are part of the Biblioteche di Roma circuit, the Magic Carpets Italy project, entitled Meet Game, took place in:

  • Labaro
  • Spinaceto
  • Corviale
  • Tufello.

The project was carried out by the visual artist Filippo Riniolo and the theater director Julia Jenewein (Austrian artist in residence for Openspace.Innsbruck). One of the main goals of the residency was to transform unused open and closed spaces into centers of aggregation, sociability, meeting and play through the analysis and investigation of our history and myths. Filippo Riniolo and Julia Jenewein, with the participants of the several workshops organized, starting from classical mythology invented characters, stories, legends to give new life to the new myth of Rome. With children and teenagers, the artists analyzed different Gods and Goddesses from classical mythology, telling their main characteristics. Filippo and Julia held the attention of the young participants and together they succeeded in transforming these classical characters into new contemporary Gods and Goddesses. Venus and Mars, Pluto and Proserpine, Mercury and Medusa, Jupiter and Juno helped us to tell the adventures of Aeneas (Enea in Italian), who is history’s first refugee and migrant. The Deities taught us the meaning of: peace, love, welcome, community, togetherness. They taught us to send messages to our communities, to become as the several Gods and Goddesses and to help to construct together a new city and a new world. With the artists, we saw that war is fought with love and peace and that we have to go deep into the stories because even the most evil characters hide stories of pain. During the engraving and theater workshops, the artists animated these imaginary contemporary Gods and Goddesses through the creation of masks and performative actions, thus building the five acts of the theatrical and itinerant final performance. During the whole project the participants learned new concepts, integrating different disciplines, creating moments to learn how to be together, get to know each other and share. The final restitution of the Magic Carpets Y2023 project was a performance in 5 stages entitled “We are all Enea”. Filippo as a contemporary Homer and Julia as a contemporary Virgil, the crew of the young participants, and the Deities who arrived at the chosen location (the VIII Lotto in the Trullo neighborhood) brought to life a collective and itinerant action. During this event, they explained and narrated the long journey to all those who followed and accompanied us, eager to finally see this new city. They taught us that together we can change our city, transforming it into a better and welcoming one, because “We are all Enea”.

This performance was held on Saturday, Oct. 14, during the closing event of the Città Foresta – Le Cosmicomiche Festival, through the spaces of the Polisportiva Trullo and in the common area the VIII Lotto.

It was an afternoon full of performances, installations, music and more during which all those who took part in the previous workshops and meetings animated the Trullo neighborhood.

Number of community members included in the project: 50

Reasons for participating in the “Magic Carpets” project: 

Our collaboration with the Labaro community, and especially with the Labaro moms, began a year ago when we started working with the Public Libraries and with the local artist Filippo Riniolo especially in Labaro. The bond we formed within almost a year with the Labaro residents was remarkable: spending time together, sharing ideas, indulging all of them in activities, helped them to foster a sense of unity and helped us to feel part of the community itself. The moms and the parents in general expressed their gratitude to us, emphasizing the significance of our (Latitudo) projects in a community that lacks sufficient activities. They particularly appreciated our unique approach: creative, funny and educational to involve people, especially children, as it resonated with their dreams and aspirations. These activities, as the mothers themselves have reported to us, have contributed to the personal and creative growth of the children. After our project the moms made a public petition to the Public Libraries and the City Council in order to get more projects and more activities related to art. Our commitment is therefore to create a positive impact through collaborative efforts that continue in doing workshops together with the young participants and artists. Their emphasis, their enthusiasm and the real bond of mutual trust that unites us, pushes us to look for more and more opportunities to develop initiatives and spend creative time with the Labaro’s moms, kids, parents, teenagers and seniors.