The new bridge of Genoa. A Protestant reflection on the day of the inauguration

On  August 14 2018, 43 people died because of the Morandi Bridge's collapse. After almost two years, and much controversy, the "Genova San Giorgio" viaduct, designed by the star architect Renzo Piano, was finally finished

Rome (NEV), August 8, 2020 – Almost two years after the collapse of the Morandi Bridge, in which 43 people died, the new viaduct that replaced the Genoese structure was officially inaugurated on August 3, at 6.30 pm. The work, designed by architect Renzo Piano, is called “Genova San Giorgio” and is open to traffic since Wednesday August 5.
Giovanna Vernarecci, Genoese, lawyer, has been the Methodist pastor since 2006 of the local Spanish-American church, which has about 150 members and shares spaces in the temple of the city’s Waldensian church. Here, were the Waldensian community has existed for 150 years and has about 500 people. The pastor speaks about the great difficulties of the last two years, from the devastating impact of the collapse and the subsequent mourning, to the economic and practical difficulties for carrying out daily activities. There has been much controversy over contributions to displaced citizens, the role of the Autostrade per l’Italia  (Aspi – the company that has the administration of Italian highways), and on the judicial front linked to ongoing investigations. “But our city has always been characterized by a strong desire to recover, Genoa is a city that has always met and still meets many problems and every time manages to get up again. And we are proud of this today”, underlines pastor Vernarecci.

After the collapse of two years ago, the Protestant communities of the city of Genoa gave their contribution. The Lutheran Church of the Ligurian capital, for instance, financed the purchase of a car equipped for the transport of the sick and disabled persons, making it available to the Red Cross of Genoa to ensure that the inhabitants of the neighborhoods near the Morandi Bridge could reach the city’s hospitals and outpatient clinics without too many inconveniences for visits and treatments.
The inhabitants of Genoa, in particular those who are part of the Committee to remember the victims of the Morandi Bridge, choose not to be present at the official opening ceremony of the bridge. But they met  the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, privately. The chairman of the committee, Egle Possetti, said: “It is a difficult day for all of us. It could all have been done before our loved ones lost their lives. This day is very distressing for us”.

But what lesson can be learned, what could be – beyond the news – the “moral” of this sad story? On a more symbolic level, when a bridge falls, a link is broken. In addition to the pain for the dead, the injured, the displaced, Genoa was “interrupted”, as it were. And the bridge is a central idea of ​​Christianity. As pastor Luca Baratto said precisely in those tragic days in the Worship Radio Program on RaiRadio 1, “every Christian and every citizen must be a pontiff, that is, a builder and a guardian of bridges, so to allow people to move and meet in peace. To all Genoese I wish to be builders of bridges”.