Houses of the people of Romagna, the whole story reconstructed

“Ideas in circulation. Review of documentary and photographic sources about people’s homes in Romagna” Curated by Tito Menzani – Homeless book.

With the publication of this volume, the long work of research and excavation in the archives, which lasted over three years for knowledge of the history of the people’s houses in Romagna, which had already led to the publication of the volume edited by Tito Menzani and Federico Morgagni “Nel the heart of the community. The story of the people’s home in Romagna” (Angeli, 2020). The research was promoted and supported by Circolo Cooperatori, the cultural association of Romagna, which was founded in 1993 with the specific purpose of disseminating and promoting collaborative values ​​(at www.circolocoop.ra.it on the page “Houses for the people of Romagna”, or also on the website www .casedelpopolo.it, all information and photographs of the census house; see also the YouTube channel www.youtube.com/c/CircoloCooperatoriAPS).

Thanks to these works, 570 Folk Houses in Romagna have been registered, have historically existed or still exist throughout Romagna’s territory. Of these, 330, or 57.9%, were of socialist or communist tradition. Then the Republicans house with 223 experiences, corresponding to 39.1%. And again the 5 Catholics, corresponding to 0.9%. And eventually 12 it was not possible to put them in the hole, but there was a strong anarchist presence in them. 216 Case del Popolo are those built in Ravenna province, 151 in the Forlì area, 146 in the Cesena area and 57 in the Rimini area. 208 were built before 1922, 362 after 1944.

Tito Menzani, professor of economic history at the University of Bologna, tells us in this new book about the Romagna archives, where the documents about the people’s houses are kept, and presents a selection of 23 people’s houses, whose story he tells us and attaches a photographic portfolio. The main archive of the Rimini documents is the Institute of the History of the Resistance Movement and contemporary Italy in the province of Rimini, where the documents of Rimini’s political parties (PCI, PSI and DC) are kept. of the people. The two Rimini offices that have been studied and with a rich photographic material are the offices of Antonio Gramsci’s cultural recreation cooperative in Viserba and Casa del Popolo in Riccione.

For Riminese Menzani, he used extensively the material I had developed for regional research on the 100th anniversary of PCI, “Participating in Democracy. The History of PCI in Emilia-Romagna” edited by Carlo De Maria, visible in “Places” section dedicated to the party headquarters (visible at www.parteciparelademocrazia.it).

Menzani notes: “The House of the People is a space governed by a community within which political, cultural, recreational and more generally association events take place. It is configured as an important place for the aggregation of the territory with mutual and participatory implications, as the property is almost always cooperative or in any case collective. The history of the people’s houses begins in the late nineteenth century and continues to this day, but in this abundant century, full of events and economic, cultural and institutional changes, they have changed skin more than once.

And the two houses of the Rimini people mentioned by Menzani undoubtedly had these characteristics, places of politics but also of entertainment. We remember that on March 31, 1957, the Casa del Popolo in Viserba was inaugurated by Palmiro Togliatti, but the dancing Sirenetta was active here for years, but in 1980 was replaced by Slego. Here was the headquarters of PCI, PSI and PSIUP.

Whereas the Casa del Popolo in Riccione was inaugurated in 1952 by Giuseppe Di Vittorio, and inside it was a large popular ballroom active, which later became the Perla Verde ballroom in the late 1960s, and later became the Maxi Club and Punto Club In 1988, the place was closed, and by agreement with the municipality, it was transformed into a theater room first called the Casbah and then the Teatro del Mare. Here were the headquarters of PCI, PSI, CGIL, ANPI, UDI, ARCI.

The story of the dance halls of Casa del Popolo in Viserba is told by Vinicio Vergoni in “Origin and Death of a Siren. Tales and Poems” (Raffaelli and Hostaria del Terzo, 2018), while the events of Casa del Popolo in Riccione are told in volumes by Rodolfo Francesconi “From Maison du Peuple to Cooperative Case del Popolo” (Raffaelli, 2003) and Daniele Montebelli and Ezio Venturi in “Viale don Minzoni 1” (Casa del Popolo in Riccione / La Piazza, 2015).

Giancarlo Ciani, President of the APS Cooperators’ Club, writes: “The goals of our association are clear: historical-social research and the promotion of collaborative values. And the houses of the people are a full expression of this, the archetype of the development of a cooperative movement that has produced progress and liberation, places of social and societal cohesion, the affirmation of democracy, political participation, the birth of mass organizations and trade unions ” .
And this new volume is proven proof of this mission statement.

Paolo Zaghini

(Service note. Several friends have asked me why there are words with red in the reviews. Since, including myself, not everyone is born digital native, they have reason to ask. In fact, clicking on these words with red links to previous articles, allowing for links to themes and authors previously covered by Chiamamicitta.it).

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