Now hoteliers lock themselves in: “Without tourists, there is a risk of occupations”


The comings and goings of tourists with the extra large size trolleys, the livery receptionists and the sound of plates and glasses that wobble on the trays are only a distant memory. The Covid has changed the face of our cities. The center of the capital is no longer the same. The streets are empty and many, too many shutters have remained lowered.

Even the hotels they are armored. Large iron padlocks seal the gates, while the entrances, in many cases, have even been walled up. Out of 1200 hotels in the capital, only 80 have reopened. The rest remain tightly awaiting the return of foreign visitors. It is a surreal, unprecedented scenario. “Not even during the war did we witness such a situation”, tell us Giuseppe Roscioli, president of the Roman section of Federalberghi.

For generations his family has handed down this job, but no one had ever been faced with one catastrophe so imposing. “According to the studies of the major international chains – he explains – to return to the 2019 turnover, it will be necessary to wait at least 2023”. “Many colleagues – he bet – will open directly in September, others even in March”. After all, July and August are dead months for Roman tourism.

In the meantime, the fear of the owners is that the facilities can be targeted by stragglers and social center activists. This is why there are those who fortified the entrances with large wooden panels and those who even improvised vigilantes. “I have a gun, sticks, so if someone enters we are ready to defend ourselves”, the caretaker of a hotel in the Termini station area tells us. “We do not trust those who gravitate around here, and then you know, wolves when they go out of their lairs”cut short the employee who has been spending day and night inside the structure since the lockdown began.
It is not the only one. Like him there are also many others who have chosen to supervise their activities by personally settling in one of the rooms to monitor 24 hours a day. “In Rome it happens in at least 50 percent of the structures, especially in the family-run ones”, confirms Roscioli. In the city of occupations, sometimes even blessed by the Vatican, the concern, in fact, is that abandoned hotels can turn into the home of dozens of desperate people.

“In the past it has already happened, they are things studied at the table, when they arrive they already have the map of thehotel with the surnames of the people who have to go to the rooms – says the representative of the Roman hoteliers – and then they present themselves with children, the disabled, pregnant women, so once inside it is difficult for them to be cleared “.” A colleague of mine in the Tiburtina area – continues – she has been in this situation for six years and has sent up twenty million euros “.

Roscioli is one of those who sealed the entrances of his hotels with wooden planks. We are in viale Manzoni, in the heart of the capital. A few hundred meters from here, in via di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, there is the former Inpdap headquarters which became famous for the intervention of the Pope’s almsgiver, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, who personally spent himself to help the occupants squatters who had accumulated a dizzying debt with ACEA. “Yes, I am afraid that someone will be able to get inside by taking advantage of this situation,” he confesses. “Private property in Italy is not protected, this is the truth”, complains the entrepreneur.

Across the historic center, in the neighborhood Prati, Ms. Loredana Mariani has chosen to move to her hotel: an ancient inn dating back to the mid-nineteenth century that has been managed by her family for decades. He has been sleeping here for 84 days now. “Don’t think it’s easy, even if I was born and raised here it’s painful to stay away from your home and children,” he confides. “I do it out of necessity – he explains – we have sent all employees to layoffs and we are afraid that someone might break in to spite or occupy”.

“An activity closed for months – he adds – can tempt many people”. Even a colleague of his at Borgo Pio made the same choice. “Unfortunately – he vents – we are disappointed and embittered”. “From the government – underlines Loredana – there have been many words and many promises, but few results”.

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