GIOVENTU » Young Italian couple among the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze

Young Italian couple among the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze

There was a young Italian couple among the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

As the main newspapers reported, Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi, both 27 years old, called parents from 23rd storey flat as they watched flames rise towards them. The couple had planned to go back home the week after to celebrate Marco’s 28th birthday on Monday the 26th of June.

Marco and Gloria met at “Iuav university” in Venice, from where they had just obtained their degrees in architecture, with the highest results. They had decided to improve their English by living for a few months in London, but they soon found a job, Marco in an architectural firm dealing with flat restoration and Gloria in a studio specialising in landscape architecture.

Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi were in their 23rd-floor flat when they became aware of the blaze. The 27-year-old architects phoned their parents, telling them they could see the flames raging up the stairs.

Gloria’s father told the newspaper “La repubblica” that his daughter had phoned them at their home in Padua earlier on to say that they had heard there was a fire on the fourth floor, but she reassured her parents that it appeared that firefighters would be able to extinguish it. Then she called again and as it was reported by the newspapers worldwide she said: “I am so sorry I can never hug you again, I had my whole life ahead of me” and also, “It’s not fair. I don’t want to die. I wanted to help you, to thank you for all you did for me. I am about to go to heaven, I will help you from there.”

Marco’s father, Giannino Gottardi, told the newspaper “Il Mattino di Padova” that his son Marco called his family twice at 2.45am and again just over 15 minutes later, at which point he said the apartment was “filled with smoke” and the situation had reached emergency “. In the first call, Marco told us not to worry, that everything was under control, that basically we must not worry. He was trying to minimise what happened, probably not to unsettle us”.

Every year many young Italians like Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi go to London to learn English or look for better job opportunities. After Brexit, the migration flow from Italy has considerably reduced. Before last years’ referendum “L’approdo”, the Italian consulate project to provide information and assistance to newcomers in London, registered on average 60 people per day. Now they are about 6 per day. Given the uncertain future for EU citizens in the UK, young Italians choose different destinations to migrate to. 

In London, there are 330 thousand Italians officially registered, half a million in total if we consider also those who didn’t change their residency. Many of them don’t feel welcomed anymore and are considering moving away.  

Giulia Lombardo

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