Until a few decades ago, the northern and central italian rural society was based on the sharecropping, a type of farming in which tenants rent small plots of land from a landowner in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land at the end of each season.

The noble family of Francesco Saverio Castiglioni who became Pope Pius VIII in 1829, owned most of the lands of Botontano, a small fraction of the hinterland in Marche region. Such lands, together with the main villa, were administered by my grandfather from the 60s (years during which sharecropping was abolished) to the 90s.
During my childhood I frequently visited with my grandfather the rooms of the villa and its park. That is where during the summer cereal harvest, I got to the heart of what was the last years of the family's agricultural activity. The end of everything begun with the sale of most of the land and continued with the deterioration of the villa caused by time, the continuous thefts and earthquakes of 1997 and 2016.

Botontano, can be considered as a reference point to describe the disintegration of the sharecropping society. The deterioration affecting the real estate of the papal family during the second half of the 20th century describes the change in an area which can be seen as a "model" which fits to the centre and north Italian territorial context. A phenomenon of change that affects the environment as well as the people who live it.

This photographic project aims to document through a metaphorical language what remains of a transformation, mixing my childhood memories with a concrete and current vision of a well-established context. A story that wants to show the meaning of the apex and the consciousness of the decline.


Shortlisted at Urbanautica Institute Awards 2020