The tragedy of the Genoa bridge, which had killed 43 people, occurred a year ago to the day, August 14, 2018. A commemorative ceremony is scheduled in the morning.

Italy is preparing to commemorate Wednesday the first anniversary of the collapse of the Genoa Bridge. A year ago to the day, August 14, 2018 at 11:36, a part of the Morandi bridge collapsed causing vehicles and passengers to fall. The tragedy, which had killed 43 people, continues to mark the spirits of the Genoese.

A minute of silence at the hour of the drama

This Wednesday morning, the city and its inhabitants will pay tribute to the victims. A commemorative ceremony is being held in the presence of many Italian politicians, including President Sergio Mattarella and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

"I invite all citizens of Genoa to participate in the ceremony in memory of the victims of Morandi Bridge and I ask those who can not participate, to observe a minute of meditation, wherever they are, at 11:36 am" the time when the bridge collapsed, said the mayor of the city, Marco Bucci.

The ceremony, which is held almost below the site where the bridge collapsed, will include a mass to be celebrated by the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, speeches by the mayor, the head of government and representatives families of victims, a minute of silence and then the city will ring the bells of the churches of Genoa that will join the sirens of the port.

"The symbol of a country crumbling on itself"

The disaster was perceived as the result of poor maintenance of road networks in the country, especially bridges. "Genoa gets up but it really was the symbol, the metaphor, of a country that collapsed on itself," says Paolo Levi, correspondent in France of the Italian Ansa agency.

© Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Many families have accused the company Autostrade per l'Italia, manager of this road viaduct and property of the Benetton family, to have privileged its profits to the detriment of security. "The Morandi Bridge", named after the architect who designed it in the 1960s, "collapsed because it was no longer able to stand up", recently summarized the prosecutor of Genoa Francesco Cozzi.

"The hope is that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, even if they are rather diluted responsibilities, that is to say that it can come from the highway society, but also from the Ministry of Transport. very complex, "Paolo Levi added. "It's an injury that will remain forever in the imagination and in the collective consciousness of Italy."

The lawsuit (s) are titanic, with 71 people surveyed, including leaders of companies in the Benetton group and officials of various administrations, more than 100 lawyers, 120 judicial experts, 75 witnesses and tons of documents and physical evidence.

A building site in the heart of the city

Under the bridge, there was a district, now uninhabited, where 600 dwellings are still empty. Today it is a building site in the heart of the city. At the end of June, the last pillars of the Morandi bridge were destroyed by explosives, and concrete and steel were cleared to make way for the reconstruction project.

But the new building designed by the architect Renzo Piano, author among others the Center Pompidou and the new Palais de Justice in Paris, should not be completed before 2020, at least. The famous Genoese architect has proposed a bridge drawing that will have "something of a boat, because it's something of Genoa", in his own words. "These are three ships that rise to the sky and unite to form a unique structure of more than one kilometer long," Renzo Piano told the newspaper La Repubblica Wednesday, while warning: "It is necessary do it fast (...) but you have to take the right time, be careful not to fall in haste. " It will be built by a group of several Italian companies.

Il nuovo Ponte cresce # Genova piange, prega e riparte.

- Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) August 14, 2019

"The new bridge is growing, Genoa is crying, praying and starting again," the vice president of the Council of Ministers wrote on Twitter.

The motorway viaduct of Genoa was a major communication axis, the city being the first port of transalpine containers. For a year, Genoa suffocates in monstrous traffic jams. "I hope that [the] government crisis [that Italy is going through] will not slow down the realization of this important infrastructure," Federico Romeo, mayor of the district, told AFP. produces the drama.

The bridge affair is one of the issues that has poisoned relations between the League and the 5-star movement. The latter urgently wanted to remove the concessions that ASPI enjoyed, even if they then curbed the risk, in the event of a breach of contracts, of expensive compensation claims, while the League, which is close to industrial circles in the north of country, has always remained cautious.