Wednesday 17 December 2008

An abondoned Calabrese village

Finally the internet seems to allow me to post some photos...why I have no idea but I may as well take advantage of it while I can!

All is well here in Calabria...well besides the horrible weather. Bel ragazzo and I were meant to be in Puglia and Basilicata this week. Celebrations for my birthday *I am now the big 30*, Christmas and our soon approaching 2 year anniversary were going to be in the form of a road trip through my grandparents village (San Marco in Lamis in Puglia) and some other places of interest but after the 3 days on non stop rain last week that plan went out the window. Many schools have been closed in Puglia and Basilicata, roads have been damaged and lots of villages are still under water...not the best conditions for site seeing. So here were are still in Malito.

Even Malito was featured on the local news as a pipe in the river up in the mountains above the village burst and on Saturday morning the whole entrance of the village was full of mud, stones and debris all swept down from the mountain side. We were even meant to go and visit some friends in my dads village, Policastrello which is only about 40 minutes from here, but they called to say a road has been damaged and that it was near impossible for cars to get through!

Speaking of damaged roads let me tell you about my very exciting visit to an abandoned village here in Calabria / CAVALLERIZZO. Thankfully we had one day of clear skies last week and our tour guide and friend Alfredo was down from Rome for the weekend and took us to visit the village where he grew up. He comes from an Albanian village and I have always been so interested to learn more about these towns and the people. (Photos and story of this town will come another day.)

On the way Alfredo pointed out an abandoned village down the road and I of course just had to see it. Bel ragazzo thought I was a little crazy, but then how many amongst us have seen an abandoned village...exactly!

We drove up to the town and as you can just make out in the small photos there is a big locked gate stopping people getting in. As we pulled up the gate was opened and Alfredo said we had to make sure there were no Carabinieri inside as they would give us a hefty fine if we entered as understandably the village is not safe.

Why is it abandoned you ask...why is it not safe to enter and why on earth is there a big locked gate which makes it seem like a set from a movie.

Well let me tell you a story. A true story (although I may not have all the facts correct.) Some time in 2005 a resident from the village was on his way out of town when he saw the road beginning to crack. There was no earthquake, no rain, no unusual weather conditions, but as he watched the crack in the road it began to expand towards the village. He raced back into the village as fast as he could and began knocking on the doors yelling for the towns people to get out of their houses immediately as they were in danger. Luckily the people listened as shortly after his warning this is what happened to part of the village.

The road literally caved in destroying many houses in its path.

Since then the village has been closed and all of the people relocated to a make shift village down the road. Engineers are still surveying the village to see if it safe to let the towns people back in.

I was desperate to enter the village and have a look inside! Once we saw the Carabinieri drive out of the village Alfredo sweet talked this man who guards the gate by saying that I was an Australian who had travelled to see this village as I had family there. A big lie of course but Alfredo had friends from the village so when he asked who my relatives were he rattled off some names and low and behold we were escorted through the village by this man!


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Sometimes it really pays to be furba...auguri to you and your twin :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting! It's a shame you couldn't take your road trip...I've been hearing all kind of stories about the weather there...hopefully it improves!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (when was it exactly) Welcome to the 30s!! :)

Monika said...

happy Birthday!! Too bad about your trip but have a merry Xmas!

Anonymous said...

Wow...can't wait to hear more about the village.

Gil said...

It always helps to have friends and a good tale. Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Michelle,
It certainly does pay to be a little sly at times!

Hi Lulu,
My actual birthday is the 16th, but I opened some gifts on the night of the 15th as technically it was my birthday since I was born in Australia and they are 10 hours in front!

Hi Monika,
Hope you have a merry Xmas too!

Hi Gigi,
I'll have some more tales about other villages when the internet works a little better.

Hi Gil,
Merry Christmas to you too!

Jewel said...

Sounds exciting, was it a little eerie walking around?

Happy 30th birthday Leanne (and Leanne's sister).

How long before you have to go back to work?

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Jewel,
Thanks for the b'day wishes!
I am back at work in March I think but am coming to your side of the world first!