Rome, for the court the MAAM is abusive: asked the state for 28 mln compensation

Rome court says MAAM, Museum of the Other and Elsewhere, is abusive: asked for 28 mln euro compensation from the state for failing to prevent occupation.

For the second section of the Civil Court of Rome, the MAAM (Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove Metropoliz), one of the capital’s most appreciated cultural experiments, is squatters: in fact, the museum is located inside a former delicatessen, which, according to the ruling filed yesterday (it is 13719 of 2018) and signed by Judge Alfredo Matteo Sacco, was squatted. The court then ordered the Ministry of the Interior to compensate, to the tune of 27.9 million euros, builder Pietro Salini’s Ca.Sa srl, which owns the property. The magistrate found that the responsibility for the occupation falls on the Viminale: according to the court, in fact, the state should have prevented the occupation of the building, and the judgment therefore complains of “the deficient prevention activity and the equally deficient repression of squatting,” both of which were due to the “omissive conduct of the authorities which not only, at the administrative level, failed to independently order the eviction order (and execute it), but also failed to execute the aforementioned preventive seizure order, and this despite the favorable opinion expressed by the Provincial Committee for Public Order and Safety.”

According to the judge, the squatting of the property, in addition to harming the owner’s interests, also harms “the general interest of the consociates in orderly and peaceful coexistence and takes on an unequivocal subversive value,” adding that “the protection of property and private economic initiative is not an alternative to the protection of public order and public safety but constitutes one of its most significant manifestations together with the protection of security and freedom of persons.” Again, the ruling reflects that “the execution of forced evictions can certainly result in immediate, but obvious and limited, disturbances of public order, the toleration of squatting, on the contrary, may result in less obvious but definitely more serious dangerous situations in the medium and long term.” “Tolerating such squatting,” the magistrate specifies, “may allow the formation of ’free zones’ useful for all kinds of illicit traffic.” The recent history of the former delicatessen dates back to 2003, when the current owner purchased it for the sum of 6.85 million euros, with the intention of reclaiming it and making it into a residential complex, with part of the housing transferred to the City of Rome. However, the city council did not approve the deal until ten years later: in the meantime, in 2009, the building had already been occupied, first hosting “Metropoliz,” a “mestizo city” inhabited by people from all over the world and providing a housing solution to many people in need. The experience then led to the birth of MAAM, directed by Giorgio de Finis, who from October will become the artistic director of the Macro in Rome.

As of yesterday, therefore, the MAAM is, by a ruling of the Court of Rome, abusive, despite the fact that it is a cultural experience that has received several appreciations. The museum also appears on Rome’s official tourist website, where it is described as a space where “art is made collective” and as a museum that, “initiating a virtuous relationship between art and the city,” “competes with the great Italian and capital city museum institutions (the MAXXI and MACRO), making its peripherality, its total lack of funding, and its non-asepticity its great strength.” Moreover, MAAM insists in aperipheral area of Rome, where it has brought art and culture, in an area where there are few landmarks and gathering places.

Giorgio de Finis lapidarily commented on the news with two posts on Facebook, first stating that “Democracy is measured in its relationship with the weakest, not in protecting the interests of the strongest,” and then asking, “Should the city and politics be enslaved to rent?”

Pictured is one of the rooms at MAAM in Rome (the playroom).

Rome, for the court the MAAM is abusive: asked the state for 28 mln compensation
Rome, for the court the MAAM is abusive: asked the state for 28 mln compensation

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