Like Tom Hanks in the film ‘Terminal’. Arnaldo, an elderly man, has been living in Bologna’s Guglielmo Marconi airport since July 2023 because he could no longer afford to pay rent once he retired.

During the summer months, he slept outside the Bologna airport, but with the arrival of cold weather, he moved to the check-in area. He was a good and kind person, so much so that he was looked after daily by airport workers. At the airport, the staff gave him meals and a sleeping bag. Occasionally, travellers also left something at the terminal, such as a blanket.

 

Every day Arnaldo shaves in the airport toilet and chats with the Marconi security officers.“A coffee with the pilots, a chat with the ground staff and even a permanent seat on one of the red chairs in the check-in desks”, is how ‘La Repubblica’ described the daily life of 83-year-old Arnaldo who is fascinated by the stories of those who pass through the airport every day and fly to exotic destinations. He secretly dreams of a trip to Iceland.

Marconi Airport reported Arnaldo’s situation to the Bologna social services. who, having heard the 83-year-old’s story in the press, took action to find him accommodation immediately.

“Arnaldo decided to move to Bologna, where he immediately took up residence at the airport, without any contact with the social services on his or anyone else’s part”, explained Welfare Councillor Luca Rizzo Nervo, adding, “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who spontaneously offered help”.

The 83-year-old is now hoping that the media attention will increase his chances of getting a new rental flat. “Possibly, someone will come along and offer me a studio apartment, a room, a shower, a small kitchenette, and I’m happy”, he said. While he is waiting for that to happen, Bologna social services have now housed him in a city hotel.

One airport worker said, “We are all happy for him even though we will miss him as he enriched our lives”.