Seven Years Later For Federico Aldrovandi

It's four in the afternoon.

The little courtyard just inside the racetrack in Ferrara.

The stage has been set up a few meters away from the entrance, near the stretch of asphalt where the body of a poor 18-year-old boy was photographed up and down, back and forth.

Exactly seven years ago. Blood, countless bruises.

The marks on his face and legs have an unmistakable form. They reveal beyond the shadow of a doubt, stealing the breath away from anyone who dares to look closely, that this boy was beaten to death with police clubs.

They were beaten against the boy so violently that two broke in half.

That boy is still there.

On the wall nearby there's a plaque with a photo of him that bears his name. A bouquet of flowers lies on the ground.

The stage upon which lots of young bands will take turns playing late into the night is turned away from him. But the audience looks out towards him.

Everything is about to start. The crowd is still thin. Silence and the sound of shoes crunching across the gravel are an invitation to reflect.

His parents are there. Lino stands, silent. Patrizia is tense.

It's an important day: his day!

The day of Federico Aldrovandi

The name is connected with freedom, with life and not death. With justice, truth, civil rebellion. With good that triumphs over evil, with God.

The bands start to play. Hard core rock 'n' roll, all in his name.

As more and more people show up to listen, Federico's closest friends -- Andrea, Paolo, Marco -- climb up onstage between one performance and the next to speak.

Then the family's lawyer, Fabio Anselmo, and the journalists who spoke up to denounce the disgrace and insult of the diversions and lies produced by Checchino Antonini, Cinzia Gubbini and Dean Buletti.

Lucia Uva and Patrizia climb onstage as well, united by their shared experience with this terrible, unacceptable tragedy. It has struck them as well. I climb up too.

Then Luigi Manconi, then Patrizia and Lino.

Journalists and TV crews watch, record, participate.

The atmosphere is indescribable.

Federico is still alive inside everyone. Everyone says his name. Everyone loves him for what he was and for what he was able to express today through his sacrifice.

Everyone feels that for once truth has been given, justice achieved, dignity restored. Everyone feels proud, important, alive.

Everyone feels that they are part of a magical, just whole.

The music drags people in, overwhelming them. Simple words, never formal or empty utterances but honest, heartfelt words express along with images and emotions a long battle fought and won.

Patrizia is happy. In that moment, Federico is there among them.

She walks proudly through the crowd, shaking hands, hugging bodies, transmitting and receiving energy.

People give interviews, provide testimony. Others drink beer, play music, dance.

People listen, reflect, enjoy one another's company.

This evening is a victory for everyone.

This evening is the final destination for an incredibly difficult, tragic journey that began here with the end of Federico Aldrovandi's life. It began when he was murdered by four police officers without any explanation, without any reason, without any pity.

Without any remorse.

The evening rushes past.


Incredibly beautiful.

Lino continues to walk around with a piece of paper full of notes detailing the things he wants to say, but he never quite manages to say them.

Patrizia's look is alive, intense.

She looks but doesn't see you.

She hears but doesn't listen.

She sees and hears her son, still so very alive in everyone's hearts and memories.

One wishes that overwhelming moments like these -- never sad -- would never come to an end.

Emptiness will win over again, but not tonight.

That unbearable void that is impossible to fill.

But not right now. The evening rolls along and everyone enjoys it in full, untouched by sadness and melancholy.

There will be time enough to go back to crying.

But not right now.

Right now Federico is here with us. Let's live every moment of this evening.