Danilo Garcia Di Meo


L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy

Quatrani (kwah-trah-nee) is the for “youngsters" used in the italian city of l'Aquila.

It has been ten years since the earthquake that shook l'Aquila, causing people to end up homeless, injured or dead.

The children of what it is now known as The Forbidden City are now 18 years of age and have grown up without a hometown, a safe place they can call ‘home’. Nevertheless, these children have managed to find a sense of belonging in the bond they share with one another. They started calling ‘home’ the solid friendship they built by going through the same experience with remarkable strength.

‘When an earthquake takes away the place you are from you need to find it again. Find it where there not a thing in sight but you have nothing more to ask for than the company of your family and friends. Find it in those who love you.’

‘The earthquake was sort of a Year One. People don’t mention 2006, they either refer to ‘pre-earthquake or post-earthquake.’

‘It's about relying on one another, it really is all about that.’

‘Blood is irrelevant when it comes to who I think of as a brother. Those who have gone through my same experience and have stood by me are my brothers.’

‘Parents would try their their best to make the best of the situation, they did what they could for their children, all they possibly could.’

‘I came to realise how it is to talk about it. It meant the world to me to be able to talk about it to my teachers at school.’

‘They say L'Aquila was beautiful, but how can I ever imagine it?’

‘We had to cross over the barriers to find what was left of our city. We would see things we had forgotten or things we never knew about.’

Voices of the young people who lived through these times.

This natural catastrophe changed the land, the sense of awareness and the stories of the few and the many who were involved.

Young people from a whole generation, shattered by a devastating earthquake, found themselves looking for a way to fight back, a way to pick up the pieces and move on. And they did.

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  • A scar on Enrico's chest who had an open heart operation as a child

  • l'Aquila is the largest construction site in Europe, but for these guys it's normal, they don't have memories of how it was before.
    Here, on the "Belvedere Bridge".

  • a basketball court near the houses where many families were displaced and moved after the 2009 earthquake. This field, as well as many other places for children, have not always had excellent maintenance.

  • a marble structure with arches in a public park on the outskirts of the city

  • a sheet of sheet metal reflects the sunlight on an earthquake-stricken building still to be dismantled and rebuilt on the outskirts of L'Aquila

  • these kids live the street much more than today's teenagers, they don't have specific meeting points. Here you lean on a structure for a billboard that obviously is not there.

  • these guys are represented by rap music, many of them practice it when they see each other all together doing freestyle.

  • The guys with the new town on the background

  • Enrico looks her girlfriend.

  • the boys, having no meeting points, also spend time at the park

  • Enrico in his kitchen. he lives with his mother in the so-called "case projects", temporary houses brought by Berlusconi between 2009 and 2010 for citizenship, but still live here and who knows for how long.

  • "Tuft" that jumps on the city walls

  • Enrico with Emma, one of his dear friends

  • Francesco with Enrico's grandmother, they grew up as brothers. Today, Enrico's grandmother lives in a retirement home for elderly people, but Francesco often goes to say hello.

  • A palace in the center of the city. This is the condition of many buildings in the city ten years after the earthquake, Enrico is in front of it

  • Enrico with a tent of his house

  • the boys in front of their school, as you can see is a temporary structure and is called "MUSP". for these children the school has played a fundamental role in the years following the earthquake.

  • driving school days for the new 18-year-old Enrico

  • the boys all together lying on a lawn of a festival that has just ended. For them it was a unique experience to have the chance to see a festival in their city for two days.

  • the boys, with the dog of one of them, in the still earthquake city