On a broad plain some 55 km south of the capital between the Alban hills to the north and the Monti Lepini to the south; at a crossroads between the A1 motorway, the Via Casilina, the historic Via Cassino railway and the mighty high-speed TAV, lies the town of Colleferro.

Home to around 21,000 residents, 258 small and medium sized factories, two rubbish incinerators, one landfill and a giant cement plant, Colleferro is one of the few cities in Lazio with a skyline.

It is also one of the few places in Italy without a trace of ancient history and no local identity to speak of. Colleferro grew up in the early 1900s, founded by workers from around Italy who came to work at a local explosives factory, making Colleferro a kind of melting pot. Three generations on, their descendents are simply Italians, with no marked accent, no typical dish or style of cooking, no folksy traditions, maxims, proverbs or rivalries. Surrounded on all sides by mediaeval hamlets, Colleferro is younger than most towns its size in America.

While at first glance, Colleferro may appear to be a quintessentially un-Italian place, a closer look reveals some very Italian qualities. The global economic crisis has accelerated the decline of local industry leaving a legacy of unemployment and pollution. Poor, and in some cases, criminal waste mismanagement has lead to the area