Italy – From the limit, the more

Understanding and overcoming the limit >> VIDEO (Direction: Donato Chiampi)

The protagonists of this film (titled “Opportunity) are people who carried out a living lab called “From the limit, the more”. In the film, they share their experiences of understanding and overcoming limits. Here is the full transcript of the video with textual descriptions of the scenes (which can be also downloaded >> PDF DOCX)


Description of the images appearing during Antonella’s speech: A woman with short brown hair. She is wearing a blue and white striped blouse. While she talks to us, from the balcony of an old palace, scenes from Marostica, an Italian city, are presented: 1) Top view of old houses, their roofs and the green area. 2) A large staircase in front of an old building. 3) In the distance, two women are walking on the sidewalk of a courtyard and one of them is leaning on a walker. 4) Steps around a square surrounded by houses. 5) Men on scaffolding are setting up stands on the square. 6) Inside a museum there are mannequins in historical dress. 7) Antonella walks with the support of a walker 8) Terraced houses seen from afar and up close. 9) Towers, castle walls appear in the trees. 10) View of the old city from the top of a tower.

I am Antonella, married to Maurizio and we have a daughter. We live in Marostica and I work as a clerk. I like to travel and get to know things. I love nature, its colours and its landscapes. My life is normal and a bit special, because since I was a child, I have had a progressive disease that takes my strength and physical abilities.

I remember one particular time when I was a teenager. Because of a surgery, I remained bedridden for months. And I remember this as a time which was both dark and full of light. Dark. Because in a moment all autonomy was destroyed. I experienced being dependent on others. I felt myself alone. But it was also full of light. Because I looked inside myself and I discovered the beauty of life and the courage to live despite everything.

My life is an uphill climb, because every day I am confronted with my physical limitations and a reduced autonomy. When faced with a new difficulty I experience all my weakness, anxiety and fear. This struggle starts because my spirit rebels, but my body speaks another language. This struggle lasts as long as I cannot listen deeply to my body and welcome that new limitation. Then I find myself “new” and “different” from before, but always the same Antonella.


Description of the images appearing during Claudio’s speech: Claudio is sitting in his electronic wheelchair. He is tall, has grey hair and wears blue clothes. Around a table some men are playing cards and Claudio is with them. The scene focuses on him and while he talks to us other images scroll: 1) Claudio while traveling in an electronic wheelchair a path among the trees. 2) A stream, green plants with red fruits, branches, a stream of water. 3) A stream, some wood, a path surrounded by greenery and plantations.

I’ve known disability my whole life, ever since I was a child. And for 18 years I’ve been in a wheelchair.

Here, as I said to the elementary school children who asked me the question: “What are limitations?” I would use this image: a funnel is made of two realities. It is made of a cup and a stem which narrows and we in life like those poured into this funnel. When the funnel narrows, that’s limitations, that’s suffering, that’s pain, that’s the difficulty. Maybe you stumble over everything, and life no longer flows into the funnel.

“What can you do?” I said to the kids, “You have to loosen up yourself.” The only reality that helps you to loosen up is to focus on the other person, his needs, his desire to be heard and to be loved. Only love can loosen you up to become so fluid that you can overcome and even cross the narrow threshold of limitations.


Not everyone wants to get to know their limitations. Sometimes I found myself uncomfortable or not accepted. This is a wound that remains. Among friends of the Workshop in exchanging these feelings, it was strengthened in me the discovery that accepting our limitations is the secret to finding new freedom, strength and joy. It is a result not only of my life but a shared life..


If I live my life by putting others and my relationship with others at the centre of my life, that’s probably how I can understand why God love me so immensely. My limitation is the chance to give myself and to recognize the fullness of the freedom of others who give themselves to me.


Description of the images appearing during Chiara’s speech: Chiara is a woman, physiotherapist, with short blond hair, wearing blue pants and a white blouse. In a physiotherapy room there are some physiotherapy equipment such as a mirror, a handrail and a ladder. In this environment walks a woman helped by Chiara. She is thin, tall, wears beige pants and blouse, short black and grey hair. During Chiara’s speech, we see scenes of her nursing intervention with this lady and finally pushes her in a wheelchair.

I am a physiotherapist and I’ve been working for several years in a nursing home with old people and adults with severe psycho-motor disabilities.

Joining the adventure of the workshop was as if a world was opened in front of me, which at first, I could see only a part. It was putting myself in front of the fact that I also have to recognize and accept my personal limits. With patients I’m experiencing how important it is to always look for the way of reciprocity that makes me discover what the other has given me at work.


Description of the images appearing during Maria Daniela’s speech: Maria Daniela is a woman with straight, short brown hair. She wears glasses and wears dresses with a white background, with flowers and shapes in shades of beige and brown. She speaks in front of a lake and in the background, there is a building among the trees. During her speech, other images scroll by: 1) Trees, a stream and an arch bridge. 2) Maria Daniela walking with her husband in front of the facade of an old house and along paths, where you can also see grass, a stream and small bridges. 3) Aquatic plants with yellow flowers in the stream. 4) Maria Daniella and her husband in town, in front of a pond and in front of old buildings. 5) Scenes inside her house with her two daughters arranging items in the kitchen. 6) Two young women who leave the house walking a dog. 7) The daughters who arrive at a gate and are greeted by another young woman who comes to meet them.

I’m Maria Daniela. I am married to Paul for 25 years and we have two girls aged 14 and 17. I work as a computer programmer. We had been married for two years and I lost the use of my right arm in a car accident.

In the workshop we confront ourselves, we exchange experiences, and there I focused on a couple of things. The first is that having accepted my limitations right away was exactly the turning point of my life. So, what I am today, also what I have, depends on this experience. Then my relationship with my husband, Paul and with our daughters has been tested by this, but it has also been deepened.


Description of the images appearing during Giusy’s speech: Open area with lake, green plants, and mountains in the background. In this environment Giusy speaks to us, a woman with long, curly brown hair. During her speech we see the lake with flowers, trees, and mountains. On the lake Giusy practices rowing.

I am Giusy. I am married with two children now grown up and I work as a nurse for over thirty years. For some years, however, I had to leave my work in the ward for health reasons and that is why now I carry out a task that is more in contact with my colleagues, rather than with patients.

Since starting work with the Workshop, I wondered in what capacity I could participate. I as a nurse, with my limitation of not being able to work in contact with patients. I could be like that person who feels in his own person the limitation of not feeling adequate enough to help my own sister who is not fully able. And still, I could be that person who lived his limitation of illness, the limitation of all those diseases that are not so evident, but that mark everyday life.


When the children were small, giving them always a half embrace was not easy. They held out their hands, but I could give them only one. Then they grew up, started going to school and their classmates began to ask questions, maybe even a bit insolent. I remember the eldest coming home not having the answers to these questions. So, we looked together for the answers.

We found them in all the good things that we have in our family. I remember the youngest. She was four years old and had just learned to tie her shoes. I cannot tie my shoes, so I buy only shoes without shoelaces. So, she comes and tells me: “Mom, now you can buy all the shoes you want because I’ll tie them for you.” Now they are grown up teenagers and some time ago, they told me: “You’re the most beautiful mother in the world as you are, and we wouldn’t want you to be different.”


Description of the images appearing during Giuseppe’s speech: Giuseppe is seated at a table with many scattered sheets bearing sketches of sculptures and drawings. He is a man with light eyes and grey hair, he wears glasses and wears a blue shirt. In the garden, in the midst of so much vegetation, there is a bench and a chair. Joseph walks with a stick, goes to this chair, sits down and speaks to us from this place. During his speech, other images appear: 1) Sculptures with rounded and elongated bodies; 2) Inside an atelier Giuseppe organizes various sculptures (like tall vases) in sand and white tones; 3) His hands move as they speak and remain folded at the same time; 4) In the studio we see sculptures in the shape of hats, also in sand and white. 5) Giuseppe draws a sketch of a sculpture representing the embrace between two people and, in sequence, this sand-coloured sculpture is shown. 6) White angels surround the brown cave where are Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. Giuseppe organizes the pieces that are part of this nativity scene. 7) Walking with his stick, he enters the door of a house with yellow walls and red flowers in front of the open windows.

I am Giuseppe. I am married and I’ve had the gift of three children. I am a potter and craftsman by choice. I encounter limitations, I can say every day, from the moment I wake up: the effort to get up, make the first steps and get dressed.

For me it is important to know my limitations and know how far I can go. But I wonder: What are limitations? I think limitations are part of nature. Instinctively, the first thing we do is to reject them, deny them. Limitations are the difficulties, my inadequacies, my feeling that I’m inferior, not feeling up to it, but a limitation is the lack of knowledge, the fear, the uncertainty, but it is more than these… It is also sadness, closing in on myself, hopelessness. Having limitations is not feeling loved and feeling rejected.


For me this is the richness of this Workshop: to be there as I am and to find in the path trodden together with others the power to light up these steps of our life. Limitations remain; they are not erased, but they are transformed, as if illuminated, by a strange alchemy.


I think that a limitation is an inadequate response to a wish: “I’d like to, but I cannot.” The greater the distance between one’s desire and the response, the greater the pain. It is a discomfort that I can experience. Combining my desire with my ability to respond. Or rather, combining my desire with my own means. I cannot find freedom in the “ability to do anything,” but in “doing all that I can.” Loving, going a little further, loving my limitations, going a bit beyond them. And in this case, when I succeed, freedom coincides with my human fulfilment, with the joy and satisfaction of a full life.


Description of the images appearing during Laura’s speech: Laura drives a tractor in a rural area and approaches a yellow building with orange doors. She has short grey hair, wears an orange blouse and a burgundy apron. She manoeuvres your tractor with a trailer loaded with grapes. The trailer lifts up to unload the grapes. In front of a vine Laura is standing and talking to us. During her speech we have the following images: 1) Laura who picks grapes in the vineyard, sometimes alone and sometimes with other people; 2) A large red bucket where the grapes are deposited; 3) Photograph of a race with tractors; 4) Photo of Laura receiving a trophy and a newspaper front page with the news of her victory; 5) Library with many trophies; 6) Laura starting the tractor with an aid that helps her hold the key.

I’m Laura and I’m 55 years old. I live alone in Cadine, a town near Trent. Being born in a family of farmers, at a tender age, I was going with my dad to the countryside. My passion, however, is the tractor. Even as a child, I remember that my father came to get me on his motorbike when I was in kindergarten and then in elementary school and took me to the countryside to drive the tractor. He needed it and for me it was like a game.

I couldn’t wait to be 18 years old to get my license and join the races. For five years I’ve competed in the whole Trentino region winning immediately, and soon becoming regional champion of the tractor gymkhana. I had the will to live, the will to work and was always attentive to others.

At thirty years old, I had my first impact with the disease. Suddenly I get aching joints in the knees, with severe pain, which prevents me from walking and climbing stairs. I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. The doctor says that I will have to keep it for life. For a moment I saw my life crumble.

I begin visits to the doctor, taking medicine and undergoing treatment. The first year was very hard and difficult. I was recommended some devices which are very important and useful for daily living. Also, very important for me are the custom-made shoes. Used to fending for myself, I feel like crying, seeing myself in this condition.


Description of the images appearing during Giovanni’s speech: An image of a person in a white coat walking down a hospital corridor. On the floor, in front of a glass door, it says Occupational Therapy. The door opens. Sitting at a table with a computer is Giovanni, a doctor, in a white coat, with brown hair and glasses. On the other side, two women with short brown hair, one dressed in white and the other in red, talking to each other. You can also see the wheels of several wheelchairs.

I am a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine. From the start of my profession, I have always been fascinated by the world of disability, without really understanding why I was attracted to it.

I joined this group of people with limitations a bit like an associate, but along the way I became a full-fledged member. Because I have also undergone an experience of illness which was sudden and unexpected… Among friends of the Workshop, little by little we have also come to deepen some elements of the reality of disability.

Every man, in fact, even in health, experiences during his daily life moments of limitation. Because we get tired, have headaches, have a fight with someone, get scolded by our boss… In moments like these, we are not at our best, we work in subhuman conditions, we make an experience of limitations. Here then it seems that the reality of illness and disability, can be considered an open book where we can understand many things about human life. It is an open book that we have always had with us, but in reality, never read enough, caught up as we are in our problems, in the realities of life.


Description of the images appearing during Lauro’s speech: A playground with a game that runs at full speed, several balloons and colourful toys, people playing and a couple, with a child, on a Ferris wheel. Lauro has short brown hair, wears glasses and a blue dress. He talks to us sitting in front of his kitchen counter. Meanwhile, some scenes are shown: 1) a couple holding hands in the park while the kids play in the wagons. 2) Scenes of carts colliding 3) A family that walks between games. 4) The father plays ball with his son on a lawn.

My name is Lauro. I am 51 years old and work as a nurse. I live in Rovigo. I’ve been living with Rita for four years now, after being married for about 11 years. For the past 2 years, we have been making an experience of foster care. An 11-year-old boy has been entrusted to us by the Social Service.

My experience of limitations is that of a continuous falling and rising, starting again, slowing down, resuming dialogue and doing everything to save the relationship.


At this point in life, I thought I was serene. However, there was another strong blow. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I talk about it with friends in the Workshop where I feel accepted and understood, and I see also a treasure in others. As if it came out that my life could shout to the world that life was worth living.

In January 2014, another tumour was discovered, this time in my bones. It was a tough blow, but I tried to deal with it immediately, having had a strong experience last time. I find this strength in my fighting spirit, but also by sharing with friends in the Workshop. And I realize that I can also be a gift to others the way I am. 


A significant and fundamental point of the experience that I made with limitations is that of sharing. Finding myself with others, communicating my difficulties, I find the strength, the way to start, to start again.

How do I answer those who ask me: “What are you going to do at this Workshop? With whom will you meet? What do you get from it?” This is my answer: “Sharing is a fundamental experience, an incredible alchemy that gives light and gives hope when you feel distressed”.


Description of the images appearing during the speech about Marco: A family consisting of a couple and three children stands in front of a forest and large mountains can be seen in the background. The older boy is sitting in a wheelchair. At home, the couple is sitting in the kitchen with the fridge in the background. Francesco, the father, starts the conversation and then alternates with Patrizia, the mother, and subsequently the brothers Alberto and Elisa. During the conversation we see: 1) Marco, surrounded by a group of people, typing on his computer with the help of his mother. 2)The mother holding Marco’s hand while her index finger types on the keyboard. 3) The brother (Alberto) reads a writing by Marco 4) In front of a bookshop, a trophy, a red pickup truck and Marco’s photo; 5) Photograph of Marco with his brother 6) On the shelf a soccer ball and a photo of a team with a blue shirt 7) Photo of Marco in the field and trees in the background. She is with his brother and sister aside. 8) Elisa (sister) reads a message written by Marco. She is at a pink-coloured table. 9) Photograph of Elisa kissing Marco 10) Photo of Marco next to her and in her arms with an adult man, participating in the workshop.

Francesco (dad): When Marco was born, there were difficulties immediately. And over the years, they have increased, and the disability became more severe. He was not speaking but at 8 years he was able to communicate using a computer.

Patrizia (mum): Since then, with the help of a computer, Marco has always been able to express his needs. But most of all, he was also able to open his heart and make us understand what was inside of him: an incredible treasure.

Alberto (brother): 13 February 2010. “Dear Albi (Alberto), I send you my best wishes on your birthday, … It is up to you to do what you think is right and find your way realizing that, whatever you do, the thing that should never be lacking in a happy life, is the will to love and the confidence to let people into your life. Have a happy celebration and all the best in your journey, Marco”.

Elisa (sister): Baptism of Elisa, 26 September 2004. “Among the tender clouds of an uncertain spring, a pink cotton ball came as a gift from God, she gave us a new dream. I ask you, Jesus, to give her more, more smiles and more of Paradise. Grant her your Love and hold her close to your heart. And design for her a future in a less cruel world. Marco.”

Patrizia (mum): And since the age of 15, Marco started to attend the Workshop “From limitations something more” until the age of 18 when he went to heaven.


Description of the images appearing during Chiara’s speech: On a path in the woods Chiara, a woman with short black hair, drives her electronic wheelchair. During the walk, she meets a couple with a child, and continues her journey. On a sunny day, Chiara in her wheelchair admires the view of the mountains.

I am Chiara and I live in Trent. I worked as a registered nurse in the city hospital until a series of events brought me to “the other side.”

I’ve always had a penchant for this type of profession. However, despite this, I have learned over the years that what you study as a health worker, does not actually lead to that special and profound knowledge of pain and suffering until one has experienced it personally.

I remember the first times I was admitted in the hospital. It was a horizontal view, as I like to call it. From this perspective, everything takes on a different dimension. You’re in your pyjamas, you have left out your identity, you become a number, a diagnosis, if you are lucky enough to have it.

You have plenty of time to observe, listen, think, suffer and experience solitude. The day is marked by gestures, glances, words, sounds and scents.

The doctor who enters the room is automatically “X-rayed.” His facial expression, the tone of his voice and his gestures. When he comes in and says “Good morning” to all without exception. I feel the difference if he says it to me while approaching my bed. Because that “Good morning” is “for me.” I feel that I’m a “person” at that moment. Or the smile that a nurse gives me when she comes to run some tests, turn the pillow and take my blood pressure, is a caress that rings deep inside you.

The warmth of such a gesture when, for instance, a negative examination report is delivered to me, or a difficult and even painful future reality is presented to me, is worth much more than many speeches. It humanizes the harsh reality.


What would the world of education be if we were to put the concept of limitations first? Wouldn’t it help the younger generations to welcome one another and accept themselves as they are with their psychological and physical limits? Wouldn’t it help to simply accept the other when you meet him?

And the world of health, what would be if we centred on the idea of limitations, limitations that a health care worker experiences, when he has difficulty in finding the diagnosis and therapy, limitations that a patient deal with personally. Wouldn’t it help to bring the caring relationship more towards a reality of relationship and reciprocity?

And the reality of politics, how would it be lived and adjusted if this experience of limitations were at its heart? How would the communal life of a human community be organized? What would social service be if it focused on limitations?


I loved to move about, run, climb, and a thousand other things. But life is not just poetry and I found myself in a shattered dream. I had to pick up the pieces gradually, with difficulty and sometimes rebellion, trying to re-compose something completely different from what I imagined.

Meeting friends of the Workshop has made me mature in the awareness of the importance of what society considers ‘different,’ the richness and the potential of each one of us.

I like to think of ourselves as a kaleidoscope. Little pieces of coloured glass, distinct but united, which when light passes through them are able, at the slightest movement, to make new and wonderful designs, full of harmony and ready to be given as a gift. 

Description of the images appearing during the finale.

In the historic city of Marostica, in the centre of the square, surrounded by stands, two women (Antonella and Chiara) enter with their wheelchairs. Actors in medieval costumes perform and the audience cheers. The protagonists of this film are scattered among the audience. As we listen to the song, the images move between the actors and the audience. The laboratory group meets and talks with some actors. After a final view of the square and the castle in the background, the screen fades into the credits.

Transcript of the final song (by Chiara Grillo)

Along the new lands, the moments you loved flow,
profound joy that gathers in itself the pearl of your heart.
And everything grows around us in one truth:
only love remains.
In this song we are here, in your new freedom:
spread wings to fly with you.
People pass by and already see
that paradise that love brings here within us.
Are you that song that flows between us,
it is you who leave behind you the beauty you have.
As if by magic you are here in the soul.