Castel Volturno is a small town in the Province of Caserta in the Italian region Campania, located about 35 km northwest of Naples on the Volturno river. Once considered as a resort town for the Neapolitan middle class, today Castel Volturno is one of the poorest cities in Campania. As a result of decades of unauthorized
building, severe environmental damages, real estate speculations and abuses, the territory has been devastated, turning into a wastelands with an intense concentration of toxic wastes in local soilsand water.
Castel Volturno counts today some 24.000
inhabitants as legal residents. The local population has undergone a dramatic increase in the last 30 years: since the ‘80, a massive number of immigrants - attracted by the opportunity related to seasonal harvesting work, has settled in the region.
Today, the percentage of foreign citizens is the highest in the South of Italy. About 15.000 migrants, coming from Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Liberia, Burkina Faso and also from Ukraine and Poland, live there with their families.
For this project, I turned my attention on the second generation of black migrants, particularly on teenagers.
Born and raised in Castel Volturno, they have spent all their life in Italy, but they don’t have Italian passport.
Italian law does not automatically recognize citizenship to immigrants’ children born on Italian soil. Thus, starting from their 19th birthday, they must apply for citizenship not to miss the possibility to become Italians.
As soon as they turn 18, these young women and men have also to apply for their own individual temporary residence permit, to avoid to be deported to countries where they have never lived. Their feeling of belonging to a national community is continuously betrayed by a sense of displacement, by the refusal of institutions in define their status.
They don’t belong to their original communities either: as a second generation, they are challenging their own culture, trying not to collide with the host society.