Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

La Follia di Giovanni (the Folly of Giovanni): A Tuscolano Story


We were walking around the back of the Basilica di San Giovanni Bosco, the enormous mid-century modernist cathedral in the quartiere of Tuscolano, when we saw it: a "container"--likely a simple shipping container--in a small park (Piazza Quinto Curzio) behind the basilica.  The sides were painted--on one side a portrait, on another vivid lettering of the standard graffiti kind.  And the words "La Follia di Giovanni" (the folly, the madness, of Giovanni).
The container in 2016.  Compare with the 2014 photo at the bottom of this post. 
For a few afternoons and evenings each week, the container is occupied by Antonio Calabrò, a physician who works a regular job at hospital Fatebenefratelli, on the
"One fights the abundance of misery by sharing"  

island in the Tevere.  On those days, the shipping container functions as an ambulatory care center for those who might find it difficult to access standard facilities: rom, the homeless, the elderly, and

The doctor at work.  Photo Daniele Malajoli.  
"clandestini" (undocumented noncitizens eager to keep knowledge of their activities from the government).

Dr. Calabrò and his equipment.  Photo Daniele Malajoli.  
Dr. Calabrò chose the name: "follia" to represent the sheer craziness of the undertaking; "Giovanni" for a variety of associations it had for him, bringing to mind the Vatican Council of Pope Giovanni XXIII; Saint Francis, who was called Giovanni; San Giovanni Bosco, the patron saint of the church next door, and a formative influence for Calabrò in his youth; and San Giovanni di Dio, founder of Fatebenefratelli.

Between its founding in 2006 and 2012, the center had 800 medical visits.  Photographer Daniele Malajoli brought the facility considerable attention with a photo exhibit on "La Follia di Giovanni," prepared for the Rome International Festival of Photography and on display in November 2014 at the Centro Culturali Gabriellae Ferri.

Bill

As the container looked in 2014: "Ambulatorio Medico."  That's the doctor at his desk.  Photo Daniele Malajoli.

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