© Damiano Oldoni
Luigi was born in Ortona, a small village in eastern Italy, and studied engineering
sciences in the port of Ancona, which is not much bigger. He surprised many people when, eight years ago, he came to the ‘big city’ of Ghent to apply for a PhD position at the university. Luigi went to seek his fortune at a foreign university because there are not many opportunities for young researchers in Italy. In Belgium not only is there more research but it is also better funded. Today he still works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Ghent Faculty of Engineering, where he is developing ‘intelligent clothing’.
Luigi finds a Ghent a wonderful city. Students give it a youthful ambience and he likes
this. Also, there is always something to do. For years Luigi has been a loyal Ghent Festival-goer and like many other citizens of Ghent, he likes to spend his summers at the waterside on the Graslei. Although as a real Italian he will never renounce his pasta and pizza, Luigi also enjoys Flemish food. His time in Ghent has made him a true gourmand: stew with chips, ‘waterzooi’ (chicken casserole), chocolate, pies ... He misses the Italian sun more. Indeed, he still remembers the misery of the first few days he spent in Ghent, when the city was struck by a huge rainstorm. ‘Fortunately, that was an exceptional case,’ he winks in relief.
When Italians speak of ‘home’ they mean the place where they were born, and where
their ancestral home is located. Ortona will always remain home for Luigi. However, he has to admit that after all these years Ghent feels like a second home. His friends, his daily life ... it is all here in Ghent. Whether he will in the future return to Italy or stay in Ghent is not really of importance to him: ‘Both have a place in my heart and do not I feel a stranger in either.’
(Luigi Vallozzi, °1980, Ortona, Italy)