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Pictures | Fri Feb 7, 2020 | 10:10am IST

'Chef of the poor' cooks for Rome's homeless

Dino Impagliazzo dices onions like a master chef and makes a mean vegetable soup, but most of his loyal "customers" can't afford to buy even a bread stick. Sprightly despite his 90 years, Impagliazzo is known as Rome's "chef of the poor."

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo dices onions like a master chef and makes a mean vegetable soup, but most of his loyal "customers" can't afford to buy even a bread stick. Sprightly despite his 90 years, Impagliazzo is known as Rome's "chef of the...more

Dino Impagliazzo dices onions like a master chef and makes a mean vegetable soup, but most of his loyal "customers" can't afford to buy even a bread stick. Sprightly despite his 90 years, Impagliazzo is known as Rome's "chef of the poor." REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Three days a week, he and other volunteers of the RomAmoR (RomeLove) association he founded make the rounds of food markets and bakeries for contributions from retailers who help him live out his dream of feeding the homeless.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Three days a week, he and other volunteers of the RomAmoR (RomeLove) association he founded make the rounds of food markets and bakeries for contributions from retailers who help him live out his dream of feeding the homeless. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Three days a week, he and other volunteers of the RomAmoR (RomeLove) association he founded make the rounds of food markets and bakeries for contributions from retailers who help him live out his dream of feeding the homeless. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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It all began 15 years ago when a homeless man at a Rome train station asked him for money to buy a sandwich. "I realized that perhaps instead of buying one sandwich, making some sandwiches for him and for the friends who were there would be better, and thus began our adventure," he said.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

It all began 15 years ago when a homeless man at a Rome train station asked him for money to buy a sandwich. "I realized that perhaps instead of buying one sandwich, making some sandwiches for him and for the friends who were there would be better,...more

It all began 15 years ago when a homeless man at a Rome train station asked him for money to buy a sandwich. "I realized that perhaps instead of buying one sandwich, making some sandwiches for him and for the friends who were there would be better, and thus began our adventure," he said. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Now the RomAmoR volunteers cook the food on the other four days of the week and serve it in various places in the city, mostly near train stations. "We try to involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other, you know?" he said while preparing soup in a professional kitchen. "It's solidarity."

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Now the RomAmoR volunteers cook the food on the other four days of the week and serve it in various places in the city, mostly near train stations. "We try to involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other,...more

Now the RomAmoR volunteers cook the food on the other four days of the week and serve it in various places in the city, mostly near train stations. "We try to involve more and more people so that Rome becomes a city where people can love each other, you know?" he said while preparing soup in a professional kitchen. "It's solidarity." REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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On Saturday nights, they set up under a portico outside St. Peter's Square to feed the growing number of homeless who sleep in the area, where Pope Francis has also opened medical and bathing facilities for them.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

On Saturday nights, they set up under a portico outside St. Peter's Square to feed the growing number of homeless who sleep in the area, where Pope Francis has also opened medical and bathing facilities for them. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

On Saturday nights, they set up under a portico outside St. Peter's Square to feed the growing number of homeless who sleep in the area, where Pope Francis has also opened medical and bathing facilities for them. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Impagliazzo, who once worked for Italy's social security department, launched his mission to feed the needy with a handful of fellow pensioners.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Impagliazzo, who once worked for Italy's social security department, launched his mission to feed the needy with a handful of fellow pensioners. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Impagliazzo, who once worked for Italy's social security department, launched his mission to feed the needy with a handful of fellow pensioners. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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They quickly graduated from making sandwiches to cooking hot meals, first at home and then in a convent, and the group now numbers 300 volunteers, both young and old, and uses its own fully equipped kitchen.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

They quickly graduated from making sandwiches to cooking hot meals, first at home and then in a convent, and the group now numbers 300 volunteers, both young and old, and uses its own fully equipped kitchen. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

They quickly graduated from making sandwiches to cooking hot meals, first at home and then in a convent, and the group now numbers 300 volunteers, both young and old, and uses its own fully equipped kitchen. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Impagliazzo, who received a honorific award from Italian President Sergio Mattarella recognizing him as a "hero of our times," never dreamed his initiative would become so successful, or generate such good will.

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Impagliazzo, who received a honorific award from Italian President Sergio Mattarella recognizing him as a "hero of our times," never dreamed his initiative would become so successful, or generate such good will. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Impagliazzo, who received a honorific award from Italian President Sergio Mattarella recognizing him as a "hero of our times," never dreamed his initiative would become so successful, or generate such good will. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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On a recent Saturday night near the Vatican, four extra volunteers showed up. "I am happy because we never tell anyone 'we don't need you tonight'," he said. "They stay among us."

REUTERS/Remo Casilli

On a recent Saturday night near the Vatican, four extra volunteers showed up. "I am happy because we never tell anyone 'we don't need you tonight'," he said. "They stay among us." REUTERS/Remo Casilli

On a recent Saturday night near the Vatican, four extra volunteers showed up. "I am happy because we never tell anyone 'we don't need you tonight'," he said. "They stay among us." REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Dino Impagliazzo stirs a saucepan of soup. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo stirs a saucepan of soup. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo stirs a saucepan of soup. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Dino Impagliazzo sits in the 'RomAmor' kitchen as he cooks. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo sits in the 'RomAmor' kitchen as he cooks. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo sits in the 'RomAmor' kitchen as he cooks. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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Dino Impagliazzo gives food to homeless people living outside the Vatican colonnades. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo gives food to homeless people living outside the Vatican colonnades. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Dino Impagliazzo gives food to homeless people living outside the Vatican colonnades. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
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