Occupy Turin: refugees find a home in Italy's abandoned Olympic Village


The 2006 winter Olympics was a symbol of Turin’s regeneration – but since then, many buildings have been left to crumble. Now migrants and refugees occupy the deserted athletes’ village, turning it into a ‘symbol of their protests’

Ten years ago the sprawling Olympic Village in Turin housed figure skaters, hockey players and other athletes from dozens of countries during the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Built specifically for the event, the village includes a series of large, modern concrete buildings painted blue, orange and grey, lined up alongside the train tracks on the border with Lingotto – a former industrial area in the southern part of the city.

Today, it is the site of one of the largest housing occupations Turin has ever seen. Once again it is home to dozens of nationalities, but now the village’s residents include more than 1,000 refugees and migrants from Libya to Somalia who are squatting four of its buildings. On the side of one orange seven-storey block of flats, the words “humanity is not for sale” are painted on the wall in turquoise, along with the declaration, in black capital letters, that “there won’t be a country that is distant as long as there is a friend nearby”.

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