In October 18, 2013 the Italian government started a humanitarian and military operation called Mare Nostrum. In summer 2014 the refugees arrived by sea were about 150.000. Generally migrants come from Sub-Saharan Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, India and Sri Lanka. They flee from wars, dictatorship, religious persecutions and hunger. For most of them Italy is just a place of transit, for some others it is the final destination of a desperate voyage. The town of Taranto sheltered 15,000 people which were distributed between Pala Ricciardi, a deserted gym, and the former local fruit and vegetable market, another place deserted for years. Despite the commitment of volunteers and activists from the Ionic town, a sense of discouraging precariousness is still evident: thousands of migrants travel through such non-places where sometimes they stop for long and tiring periods waiting for different destinations. In Autumn 2014 the reception centres for immigrants were closed but in April 2015 the gym Pala Ricciardi was reopened to face up the reception of new migratory flows. In November 2014, operation Mare Nostrum was replaced by operation Triton which was conducted by Frontex, an EU-managed agency aiming at controlling the national borders.
Vincenzo Montefinese is a freelance photographer, born in Taranto (Italy). After studying at the Faculty of Physical Education, he graduated in 2015 with a master’s degree in photojournalism from ISFCI (Advanced Photography and Integrated Communication Institute) in Rome. His documentary work focuses on social, humanitarian and geopolitical issues.