chapter  4
68 Pages

1953–1970: Modernization of the Vernacular City

Talk of change and of ways to solve the Sassi Question transformed into physical action in the 1950s. The intent of the risanamento program-activated at last-was to solve the worst of the Sassi living conditions by building new houses for affected occupants and by renovating salvageable houses to meet the norms of modern living conditions. The expectation was that the building project would come to completion within the decade (the Sassi Law allowed six years for expenditure of the state funds to realize the project); however, the project increased in scope and duration. Six years grew to several decades, and the accommodation in new housing of an ill-defined number of residents among the Sassi’s 16,000 inhabitants grew to the accommodation of 20,000. This not only elicited physical and demographic changes within the city and altered lifestyles for former Sassi residents but also brought citywide social, cultural, economic, and even moral changes.