"Riace: City of welcoming and humanity" - is written on the town sign of the small village in southern Italy. In a climate of isolation, in which aid organisations are prevented from rescuing drowning people from the sea, in which the Italian government sends refugees back to the Libyan torture camps or has them poverty-stricken as farm slaves on tomato plantations, it is worth telling this story a thousand and a thousand times. It is living proof that it is still possible to breach the wall of fortress Europe. Riace has not disappeared from the map, in spite of a strong exodus of its population. It has remained alive thanks to its openness towards migrants.
When in 1998 for the first time a refugee ship landed on the coast close to the village the people in the village were ready to receive the refugees. In Riace it is still known what it means to go away, lose one's roots and arrive in another country without means. Thus the idea was born to renovate houses that had been empty since the departure of their inhabitants and to make them available to those who were stranded off the coast. At the same time, the idea arose to revive the old agricultural and handicraft activities in order to escape the seemingly inevitable fate of extinction as a village.