Our Project

The project “In strada caduti, in strada rinati” (i.e. fallen in the streets, in the streets reborn), comes from the desire make accessible and well known two episodes linked to the city’s historical memory. Through artistical and enhancing interventions in its spaces we recount the sites of the Barricades during Parma’s resistance in 1922 and the events involving Jewish citizens, partisans, and anti-fascists during the deportations.

The paths dedicated to its Resistance movement

1922 Barricades

1922 Barricades

1922 Barricades sites

In August 1922 fascist aggressions worsen. To  oppose the new-born fascist party “L’Alleanza del Lavoro” (i.e. Work Alliace), they organise for August 1st a legal, national strike. In Parma, to crush the strike, the PNF* sends 5000 squadristi. 300 members of “Arditi del Popolo” (i.e. “The People’s Daring Ones”), only half of which were armed, mobilize in order to push back the fascist advance. Citizens flood the streets with makeshift weapons (pikes, shovels, metal bars); women prepare scorching water and oil to defend the besieged neighbourhood. The Oltretorrente and Naviglio-Saffi neighbourhoods resist the invasion and, organised in teams, fight as they can to stop the fascist advance. In the neighbourhoods, inhabited by the working class, the fighting intensifies. A massacre must be avoided: the Prefecture, “Comando di Piazza” and Italo Balbo (leading the squadristi) agrees on declaring a state of siege. With the Royal Army intervention, the uprising is subdued, and fascists withdraw, ravaging several meeting places in the city.

Explore the sites of Barricades

During the 1922 fascist invasion, the Oltretorrente’s defence becomes a struggle of the people. 22 squadrons from the Arditi del Popolo are stationed in the Oltretorrente neighbourhood, helped by the citizens in the erection of barricades. Using wagons, benches, and beams, uprooting the sidewalks, the streets are blocked to hinder the access of fascist squadrons.

The idea: BURLA

During the 1922 fascist invasion, the Oltretorrente’s defence becomes a struggle of the people. 22 squadrons from the Arditi del Popolo are stationed in the Oltretorrente neighbourhood, helped by the citizens in the erection of barricades. Using wagons, benches, and beams, uprooting the sidewalks, the streets are  blocked to hinder the access of fascist squadrons. The artist chooses to represent the wait behind the barricades. A farmer and a young railway worker surrounded by poppies, a symbol of the resistance that took place in those August days. The use of vinaccia (a shade of red-purple named after wine) recalls the wine drunk in inns, where the plans for the city’s defence were agreed upon.

Today, the stream running through the city does not mark any form of border. However, 100 years ago, it used to represent a boundary between two realities which differed in daily life, the thoughts, and the language of their people: it is said that on the two sides two different dialects were spoken. Most alleys were quite narrow, and the streets were only 5-6-7 metres wide. People spent most of their day in the streets creating a sense of community, a community which defended itself  from outside threats. This dynamic will come back in 1922 with the certainty that the existing reality could be changed.


The artist likes to think that each work should be looked at through the viewer’s eyes. In the centre there is a badger, surrounded by some wooden beams recalling the barricades construction. The animal is a symbol of perseverance aimed at a final recovery, of  change in negative circumstances, of channelling anger and of all those destructive emotions towards a constructive goal. 

Guido Picelli, PSI’s* secretary, founds with Agro Secondari and Giuseppe Mingrino (who were already members of Arditi del Popolo) a Proletarian Army intended to defend Parma and nearby towns from the 1922 fascist invasion. Having gathered all the anti-fascist forces in a single coalition, Picelli leads the victorious resistance of the nearby working-class alleys against the camicie nere (lit. black shirts, as fascist militants were often called.)

The idea: BLUXM

With his work, the artist remembers Guido Picelli, an emblematic character in Parma’s anti-fascist history. Wooden pieces of different shapes and colours recall the various objects used in the barricades’ construction. The pieces outline Guido Picelli’s profile, a symbol of the fight for freedom

In 1922 Oltretorrente is the home of proletarian, working-class people, and immigrants. The neighbourhood already has a long tradition of barricading; to name a few instances where this happened: the uprising organised against the bread tax in 1868-1869, the 1898 revolt, the farmers strike of 1908, and the demonstrations in favour of the war in 1915. During the 1922 events, the Oltretorrente’s defence is a real working-class fight. As a matter of fact, almost all the population (consisting mostly of day labourers, artisans and cart drivers) stood alongside Arditi del Popolo.

The idea: URBAN KOFA

Bozzetto-Borgo-CocconiRegarding the 1922 events in Parma, the artist chose to represent the involvement of the whole population in the Oltretorrente and Naviglio-Saffi neighbourhoods. In the sketch we see a re-elaborated mapping of the barricades themselves with a red background, in memory of the blood shed by people of every age. The twisting hands are a symbol of the citizens’ unity against the intruders.

Extra-Stop – Black Blood was realized in collaboration with artist Osvaldo Neirotti

The harshest attacks are carried out in the Naviglio area, whose defence is entrusted to captain Antonio Cieri. Due to its particular location, the resistence in Naviglio is considerably more complicated : after several hours of fighting, the area is almost completely surrounded. Worker Giuseppe Mussini and fourteen-year-old Gino Gazzolaof many armed men behind the barricades, eventually pull back.


The work “Nero Sangue” tells the story of the two young men killed during the barricades’ defence. The story is told by the tree itself, acting as both the main character and the keeper of their lifeblood. Giuseppe Mussini, 25 years old, and Gino Gazzola, barely 14, are brutally murdered by fascists. Their names are stampedon the bark in white, a symbol of their souls’ purity. Red-paint symbolizes blood, dribbling on a black background representing the camicie nere (lit. black shirts, as fascist militants were often called) advance.



Deportations sites

In Italy, the deportation phenomenon developed uniquely in comparison with the rest of German- occupied Europe. Signing the 1938 racial laws, Jews and other ethnic minorities underwent many limitations and restrictions. The persecution of their daily lives took the shape, as it is commonly known, of segregation and mass deportation. This began on September 8th, 1943, when the alliance between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany broke as a consequence of the armistice signed by Badoglio with the Anglo-Americans and of the creation, in the northern part of the peninsula, of the Salò Republic led by Mussolini. The deportation of Italian citizens began in the Salò Republic’s territories through the collaboration between the fascist Militia and the SS. Amongst the Italian deportees there were at least 8.600 Jews and approximately 30.000 partisans, anti-fascists, and workers (of the latter, most had been arrested after the strikes organised in 1944 strikes); furthermore, around 5.000 were Italian Military Internees, imprisoned soldiers, anti-fascist officials. Around 90% of the deportees lost their lives in the concentration camps. The others, Jews and politicians alike, were gassed, annihilated through deprivations, inhuman punishments, wearying and backbreaking work.

Explore the sites of Deportations

The day after the introduction of the 1938 racial laws, the main obstacles for expatriations have to do with financial difficulties and bureaucratic duties. Lawyer Giacomo Ottolenghi, supervisor of the delegation for migrants’ assistance, offers to help those who needed to escape from Italy; he even organises the shipping abroad of personal belongings.


The artist tells stories using a concise geometric sign capable of representing the concepts of rebirth, transformation ad journey. The work places at the centre the broken down human figure: it shows its hands, symbolising help, and its feet, moving towards distant lands. Through a universe of symbolic elements such as stairs and arrows, the work recalls the theme of the journey and hints at the Jewish world.




The artist narrates in a simple style, intimate and straight to the point, the story of the figures linked to DELASEM (Delegazione per l’Assistenza degli Emigranti Ebrei i.e. Delegation for the Assistance of Jewish Emigrants) who sacrificed themselves to save other human lives. A crowd of individuals, hunted down and waiting to cross the border; swallows; thanking letters sent by expatriates; an almost transparent door which appears as the beginning of a new path leading to safety.

The Pozzi family is a point of reference in the organisation of the city’s resistance. Their house, apart from hosting anti-fascist meetings and offering shelter to victims of persecution and wanted people, is also the location of a library collecting forbidden books. The members of the family (Secondo (Ernesto), Ida, Primo (Manetto) and Lina) are arrested and deported in the concentration camps. Only Laura (Mirka), taking refuge in the mountains, escapes the arrest. At the end of the war all of them will go back home except Ernesto, who will not survive the camp’s atrocities

The idea: RISE

The artist tells the story of the Polizzi house; this was a point of reference in the organisation of the city’s resistance, being a hiding place for partisans and members of the anti-fascist movement. In the first panel we meet the father, Secondo (Ernesto), his wife Ida and their daughter Lina, represented before the deportation. In the second panel the children Laura (Mirka) and Primo leave to fight in the mountains joining the resistance movement’s ranks. It’s the story of the members of a family divided by their different experiences in the fight against fascism, yet always united by the great love for culture permeating their house and their immense private library.



After they encountered the Polizzi family’s story, the artist sees symbols dominating their imagination. Thus, they envisage the family as a great constellation made of symbols marking their life: Remo’s brushes, micche (i.e. bread rolls typical of Parma) yearned for by Manetto, Ernesto’s carpenter saw, red tringles assigned to political prisoners. In the background, the Appennine Mountains where Mirka and Manetto served as partisans.

Giorgio Foà is a Jewish boy studying at Romagnosi High School. Forced to abandon his studies after the racial laws were passed, he starts working in a shop selling seeds in Garibaldi square; in this very shop he is later arrested. He is deported and killed in the Auschwitz – Birkenau extermination camp.


Giorgio Foà is a Jewish boy studying at Romagnosi High School. Forced to abandon his studies after the racial laws were passed, he starts working in a shop selling seeds in Garibaldi square; in this very shop he is later arrested. He is deported and killed in the Auschwitz – Birkenau extermination camp.

In the beginning of the 1800’s, the San Francesco del Prato monastery is converted in a prison. From that moment, the building keeps this function; in what is now known as San Francesco prison men and women alike are confined. These are partisans, Jewish people and former prisoners waiting to be interrogated, convicted or moved to the concentration camps.


BOZZETTO PIAZZALE S.FRANCESCOThe artist draws inspiration from the stories of the prison officers Giuseppe Patrone, Gennaro Capuano and Enrico Marchesano; working in secret with the Resistance movement, they were the middle-men between the secret organisation on the outside and the imprisoned anti-fascists. Beyond the bars a letter is shown, as if it were coming out of the prison cell; the letter says “Dear Maria, here I am, close to irreparable harm. I am about to leave for Germany. Alone, without any farewell, just like a dog. You can imagine the torture I’m living in this moment. It’s inevitable.” (cit. resistenzamappe.it) . A second piece of paper flies towards the viewer; it carries the words of Petrone, a murdered prison officer: “Tell my son I’m dying for an idea”.


The artist uses shapes and simple colours to tell the story of Primo Polizzi and Luigi Mascherpa; they both got to the internment camp for the same reasons, but their stories ended in different ways. The artist wrote their names in considerable size and depicted their portraits along two QR codes holding their experiences, a great example for all of us.

Giuseppe Fragni was a worker and partisan from Parma. He worked at the Barbieri factory when, as WW2 began, he was forced to enlist. After the Armistice he manages to run away and decides to join the partisans from the 12° Griffith Brigade. Captured in the mountains with 50 of his companions and sentenced to death execution, he manages to have his life spared thanks to the local population’s objection. Fragni, like many of his companions, will not be released but deported to the Graz-Eggenberg concentration camp; he was set free in May 1945.

The idea: MUZ

Bozzetto via bixio FragniThe artist tells the story of the partisan worker Giuseppe Fragni using two images: on the left, we find a representation of the Oltretorrente’s map; on the right, a group of workers recalling those of the Officina Bariberi where Fragni was employed. A star appears on the map in the point where Barbieri Square opens today. In that square, in fact, were conducted after the arrest the members of the 12° Griffith Brigade, which Fragni was a member of.


The artist represents the determination and the strength of all the women committed in the fight against death penalty, guided by the love for their relatives, friends and partners.

After the Armistice signed on September 8th, 1943, Rolando Vigevani and Enrica Amar are forced to flee from Italy and seek refuge in Switzerland to survive. Knowing that as the Alliance overturned the persecutions would have worsened, they decided to cross the border without Tullo, their first-born who was barely one at the time. The child is left under the care of his nanny, Tina Baldi; he will manage to reunite with his family only in February 1944 with the help of magistrate Pellegrino Ricardi, who had organised the whole family’s expatriation. All kinds of people in Italy were touched by the tragedy of deportation, by the terror of lagers: intellectuals, workers, artisans, from the poorest to the richest, from the youngest to the sick and tired old ones; women, children, and men.

The idea: COWART

An old legend says that when a robin peeks out from a window it announces the beginning of the cold season and the first snow. At the same time, the animal is a symbol of life getting through winter, of renewal and rebirth. The robin brings hope, optimism, good omens for the new year. A small animal known for his perseverance and strength, allowing him to survive in harsh climates and through endless migrations. Starting from these words, it’s easy to symbolically relate Vigevani’s life with the robin; resting on barbed wire, the bird recalls the escape from terror, separating to then return.

This project would not have been possible without the support of

Comune di Parma
Parma 2020+21