Images of sikh peasants in the Bella Farnia residence (photographer Martino Di Silvestro)

The development of a landscape: a Little India in the Pontine Plain

A paper presented by Silvia Boca at the 3rd “Changing Cities. Spatial, Design, Landscape & Socio-economic Dimensions” conference held on the Syros – Delos – Mykonos islands in Greece, on 26-30/06/2017.

The conference was dedicated to “European cities & Migration; Spatial impacts of immigration and out-migration”.

The full paper is now available as:

BOCA, S. 2017. “The development of a landscape: a Little India in the Pontine Plain”, in A. Gospodini (ed.), Changing Cities III. Spatial, Design, Landscape & Socio-economic Dimensions [CD-ROM], Thessaloniki, Grafima Publications: 2109-2117 (9 pages). ISBN: 9786185271121

More details on the conference are available here


If the environment of Pontine Marshes was the stage for the forced colonization and foundation of new cities made by Mussolini under Fascist rule (1922-1943) today we have new scenarios: the new migratory flow of Sikh community from Punjab (India) is running over this landscape. New migration flows that choose not the city but the rural areas, driven by affinity with the land of origin, and that become fundamental economic support, especially in agricultural sector, but living a rural isolation and lack of dedicated services.
All this in contrast with the policies and land reclamation schemes desired by Fascism, borghi di servizio (service districts, in some case villages) and Casa del Fascio with their essential services for the community represented the basic urban unit to set up new settlers (from Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions) in the new-modern rural landscape.

In the province of Latina and in Sabaudia, especially in the district of “Bella Farnia”, we can find the beating heart of this new community (about 12.000 people) that has re-colonized the Pontine Plain, among Indian shops, workers in the countryside and gurdwara much more than places of worship but places for socializing and connecting with institutions. The contribution aims at clarifying the relationship between the contemporary and its needs and the Pontine landscape, structured since its inception to accommodate migration flows, in which the change is necessary and has already started.

 Keywords: Rural landscape; Migration; Pontine Plain; Landscape planning; Urban Planning.

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