How SanPa the docu-series about San Patrignano was born

The docu-series arrived on Netflix on December 30 has generated a heated debate online: here's how it was born and why to watch it

SanPa: Lights and Darkness of San Patrignano is the first episodic documentary produced by Netflix Italy. It tells the story of the recovery community for drug addicts founded by Vincenzo Muccioli at the end of the 1970s and destined to become the largest in Europe.

The docu-series was launched by the platform on December 30, 2020 and in just a few days captured the attention of the public, generating a heated dialogue on social networks, blogs and other online channels. In fact, it narrates a cross-section of Italy that characterized the 1980s and beyond. And above all, it tells the ideas and actions of a character like Vincenzo Muccioli, a charismatic and determined man but characterized by lights and shadows. The series begins with the birth of the Community in 1978 and continues until 1995 with the death of the founder. The Community of San Patrignano itself intervened and defined the docu-series as a "one-sided, summary and partial story". But how did the idea of creating the series come about and why is it important to watch it?

SanPa: Lights and Darkness of San Patrignano what is it about?

SanPa tells the story of the first 15 years of life of one of the most famous recovery communities in Europe, founded in Coriano, in the province of Rimini in 1978.

The series is divided into five episodes: Birth, Growth, Fame, Decline and Fall. There is no voiceover, instead the narration is entrusted to videos, photos and other materials that tell, step by step, the foundation of the community and try to make a portrait of the founder Vincenzo Muccioli. In fact, the series goes up to 1995, the year of the founder's death.

It traces a difficult twenty years for Italy, characterized by the plague of heroin that invaded the cities and beyond, breaking an entire generation. Muccioli's will was to save the lives of the many boys and girls who became drug addicts, through very harsh methods. The series alternates 25 testimonies, consisting of more than 180 hours of interviews and photographs taken from 51 archives, in order to tell the stories in the most multifaceted and accurate way possible.

There is a question that is repeated insistently throughout the series: "To do good, is it permissible to use any method?" An absolute answer probably doesn't exist but everyone can mature their own opinion by watching the series. It is for this reason that the documentary has generated a heated debate online. It's no coincidence that the title refers to the lights and darkness of San Patrignano.

How was the series SanPa born?

SanPa is not only the first docu-series produced by Netflix Italy but it is also the first documentary made by 42, a production company founded by Gianluca Neri. And it is he who wrote the series together with Paolo Bernardelli and Carlo Gabardini.

The author wanted to tell an important fact of Italian chronicle within a series. Initially, he had thought about Yara Gambirasio's crime that didn't go through. Later, the author has the idea to talk about SanPa, he proposes it to Netflix Italy that produced and distributed it. The direction is by Cosima Spender.

The docu-series SanPa is then available on the streaming platform from December 30, 2020.