During my last holidays in Italy I decided to retrace some of the stages of Wandering Italia to revisit places and, mostly, to meet again those people who made my experience even bigger and unforgettable. Nothing physical this time, specially because the freezing cold of this winter in Italy, just some road trip by car, one day at the time, to don’t be apart from my beloved.
I had to restart from the beginning, meeting Angelo di Mambro who, with two other members of CAI (Italian Alpine Club), faced with me the first stage, from Val di Canneto to the village of Opi, in the middle of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. It has been a real pleasure to meet him again, to talk trying to explain in just few hours all the memories, emotions and feeling of my long journey, while from the city of Cassino we were traveling to Opi, crossing Forca d’Acero pass.
The day was perfect: mild temperatures, blue deep sky, the mountains covered by the snow at the top and then the beechwood with their purple reflection; and then the grass, yellowed by the frost, between the characteristic white rocks which make this land, Abruzzo Apennines, even more wild, harsh and charming.
It has been really emotional, I can’t deny it, finding again these places and then mentally going over again everything I’ve done and faced since the beginning of the journey, the 14th of May 2018.
From these mountains I started my journey, to them I came back: I have been a part of them, they will always be an important part of me…
On my second stage retracing Wandering Italia, I decided to go back to those places which had a huge emotional impact on me, definitely not only for the beauty of the landscape.
I drove from Rome in the morning towards Campotosto Lake. At the beginning everything has been only about the astonishing view over the imposing Gran Sasso, and luckily I had the time, and a fantastic weather, to find the better spots to enjoy the view and take pictures. I then stopped to greet the lady at the hotel where my family made me a surprise coming and visiting me during the trip, and it has been a pleasure to meet again and have a chat.
Then I drove towards Amatrice where, unfortunately, I couldn’t find those people I wanted to meet again, and later on, in Accumoli, even my friend Pasquale wasn’t there. I was very sad because I have such great memories with this people and the time we spent together, and I wanted to know if things are getting better now, even if looking around, it didn’t look so.
So I drove forward, towards Castelluccio, passing by Arquata and some small villages, which are still completely destroyed: the road goes trough high piles of rubble and gutted houses where is still possible to spot pieces of that daily life which was erased in a moment. Some houses are fine and people live there: the life goes on, despite everything…
Then I reached Forca di Presta and so the plateau of Castelluccio: I stopped for some pictures to the snowy landscape, I had an amazing encounter (on this article) and then I arrived at the village. I found some news: first at all, the removal of the rubbles is still on and not much seems has been done since May, 7 months ago; but this time I found Frankie, and the others locals, working entertaining the tourists not anymore in caravans but, finally, in prefabricated small houses. But there is still a lot to do and, listening to their stories, I had again the impression that this people has been left completely alone, forgotten: the public bathrooms, the only ones, are out of order because of the snow, and who is left here is still waiting – SINCE 29 MONTHS! – the 8 prefabricate houses to move in (most of them still live in caravans). In winter the temperature in Castelluccio drops often below zero: what do we want to do? Do we think about them only during the Christmas holidays because of the reports in the news? Or should we do something to help this people for good, all year around??
Once again it has been a sour experience: if I was happy to meet again people who meant so much to me and to Wandering Italia, on the other end it has been painful to see these places and this people still on their knees. Also this time, out of respect for this people, I didn’t want to take picture of the damages and destruction that the 2016 earthquake left behind. I can just say it’s incredibly painful and almost unbelievable if you don’t see with your own eyes.
I will never get tired to send my message: if you can, please go to those places, go there and meet the people, help them buying even small things or just bringing them a smile… They really need it!