We are speaking with Caroline Caporossi, the creator of Roots, the first social restaurant in Modena that opened two years ago, while seated in a unique area of the San Paolo complex, beneath the enormous spreading tree in its courtyard. She informs me that the location of the San Paolo church, which Roots managed to obtain, has great meaning under the peaceful tree.
The church, which was originally associated with the worship of young women, is currently a part of the social services organization that was established in 1998 as a result of the conversion of the San Geminiano girls' orphanage and the San Paolo provincial girls' school. The convent of San Polo was utilized as a school for underprivileged girls after 1816, and it became the San Paolo Provincial girls' school in 1859.
When Caroline talks about how she spotted the possibility for immigrant women in Modena, she does so with an eventually serene and favorably benign smile, making a connection between the need for trained labor and the desire to improve the lives of those brave people who need to be properly integrated into society.
Originating from a Calabrian family that immigrated to New York in 1902 and went on to open restaurants, Caporossi took a significant turn in life while maintaining a precise sense of sensitivity. Following her Italian spouse to Emilia after completing her studies in international affairs and working with immigrant communities in the US, she finally found herself involved with Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore's non-profit initiative, Food for Soul. Through this ground-breaking opportunity, Caporossi met Chef Jessica Rosval, who is now her friend and partner in The Association for the Integration of Women (AIW). And there's Ella, the Nigerian refugee lady whose story of struggling to find employment in the restaurant business inspired the original concept for Roots.