The tragedy of 14 August 2018, when 43 people were killed by the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, was a heavy blow to the city, to Italy, and to the prestige of Italian engineering. So the recent inauguration of the rebuilt infrastructure – two years after the disaster took place– was an injection of optimism in a nation that has like few others faced the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, yet proven efficient in battling it. It comes as no surprise, then, that the viaduct’s reopening was a state event graced by President Sergio Mattarella and other leading figures, and of course the architect Renzo Piano, the dedicated Genoan who offered his services in the wake of the catastrophe.
They are right to be proud. It took just two years to demolish what remained of the fallen infrastructure, draw up a project, and raise the new structure employing 1,200 workers who rested only on Christmas Day. A formidable record considering the time it usually takes for works of such dimensions to be executed. “I have designed the bridge as a slow passage between the two parts of the city, which are now again connected,” said Piano on the day the infrastructure reopened to traffic. In an emotional remembrance of the victims, the architect expressed his wish that the bridge, with its slender pillars and nautical forms “of steel and air,” will reenter the everyday lives of the people of Genoa.