Francesco Pistilli



Riace is an Italian village abandoned by locals, adopted by migrants. In the past 18 years Riace has welcomed more than 6,000 migrants. As they arrived in Riace, an aging place with high unemployment, the mayor sensed an opportunity to revive what was quickly becoming a ghost town. He offered refugees abandoned apartments and job training. Every afternoon youngsters in Riace play soccer in the field restored with UE funds for refugees and asylum seekers. The re-population of Riace is solving the problem of derelict housing and old infrastructures, and many feel it gives the town a new lease of life. This soccer field is an example of what a tiny and quiet town like Riace could provide to its community thanks to international refugee funds. This is what the mayor called “The utopia of normality”. Kids from Ethiopia are playing with local kids. They are grown in Italy, they speak a fluent Italian, they speak also English and their homeland language. Riace calls itself a Global Village, whose residents come from more than 20 countries beyond Europe.


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