In the list of the most overused words from recent years, alongside “honesty”, “scrapping” and the new entry “post-truth”, it would not be surprising to find “cultural and creative district”, “cultural and creative centre” and a lot of other “cultural and creative” somethings. Portuense201 is a “cultural and creative” something that, like few others in Rome, manages to not disappoint expectations. Created inside the former “Vaccheria Riccioni” complex, it is a “diffused studio” where artisans’ laboratories, architects’ studios, startups and graphic design and communication studios stand alongside each other.
I meet Manuela, one of the heirs of the Riccioni family, key players of the requalification of these spaces, at number 201 Via Portuense, not far from Piazzale della Radio. The first thing I notice is the chromatic range: one more step is enough to abandon the grey chaos of Viale Marconi. The second thing is Aria, a young lady, 30 days old, in her mother’s arms. The rest is a long story, from when at the start of the twentieth century, her great-grandparents started to build those areas to look after seven cows and sell milk; to when blacksmiths, carpenters and coffin makers took the place of the animals; up to the half-abandonment that came at the end of last century.
Then in 2011, during an exhibition of Fotoleggendo — one of the most important photography festivals in Italy — the buildings began to be resurrected. The spaces were renovated and refurbished and then rented, one at a time. It is Manuela herself who chooses who can make Portuense201 their new home and this selection process has created a highly synergic ecosystem where all the realities are truly involved, in a game of growing interconnections: «Now we want to strengthen our involvement with the local area, then with the city, and lastly with Europe. We are a team of twenty people that work in synergy. Our goal is to find similar realities and create an international network».
The story has been written by Andrea Pergola, writer.