What are pietre d’inciampo and why we should care?


If you walk along the Lungotevere riverside in Rome, or Via Carlo Alberto in Turin or through the Cannaregio district in Venice you may spot something glinting on the pavement. A little brass cobblestone or plaque set into the concrete outside an old door. And if you look closer there is writing engraved on the surface. “Qui abitava..,” here lived, and a name. Or “Qui è stato arrestato….” here was arrested and a name. These are pietre d’inciampo, stolpersteines or stumbling blocks. And this is their story.

pietre d'inciampo stolpersteines 4 pietre d’inciampo at 1223 Calle Ghetto Vecchio in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio

The origins of pietre d’inciampo or stolpersteines

Pietre d’inciampo, or stolpersteines to give them their original German name, were first conceived by Berlin artist Gunter Demnig back in 1993 as a quiet, unassuming but vital art project. The aim is to commemorate of the lives lost by Jews…

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