'Memoria e Luce' – Padua, Italy - Atlas Obscura

'Memoria e Luce'

A twisted steel beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center is the centerpiece of this memorial for those who died on September 11, 2001. 


The terrorist attacks on four targets in the United States on September 11, 2001, shocked the world. In the years since the tragedy, numerous monuments have been erected in the U.S. and other locations around the world. One can be found in Padua, Italy, a glass sculptural installation known as Memoria e Luce (Memory and Light).

The location is not as surprising as it may initially seem. The U.S. has maintained military facilities in Italy since World War II, many in the Veneto region where Padua is located. In the Venice Biennale of 2002, a steel beam that was completely bent and recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Center was exhibited. The steel beam is 19.6 feet long and has construction number 408. The first ideas for erecting a memorial came up at the Biennale. At the end of the Biennale, the U.S. State Department gave the Veneto region this steel beam as a gift.

The Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind was commissioned to create a monument using the steel beam. He designed Memoria e Luce as an open book, which also reflects the facade of the World Trade Center. Steel beam No. 408 is incorporated on one page of the book. The open page of the book, which is meant to recall the book in the hands of the Statue of Liberty, points in the direction of New York City.

The monument was inaugurated on September 11, 2005. Since then, it has been a reminder during the day and radiates the light of hope at night.

Know Before You Go

The memorial can be visited at all times.

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April 7, 2022

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