From over the Aterno Valley, Abruzzo…

Santa Maria Assunta, Fossa, AbruzzoThe steeple of Santa Maria Assunta in Fossa… the church that sits opposite my family’s house in Abruzzo. It was lovely to walk along the lanes below and listen to the bell tolling the time of day or to hear it from afar when you were on your way back to the village.

When I took this in 2005, it was a beautiful, serene day with no hint that just four years later the steeple’s turret would be gone when the earthquake caused it to crash down through the church roof.

Originally built in the 1200s, the church was expanded during the 1400s and then partly rebuilt following the earthquake of 1703. (At this time, my family’s house was about a decade old and had experienced its first terremoto.) I took this photograph with my old Pentax camera on black and white film. Although just over a decade ago, I didn’t yet have a digital camera then!


Filed under art + photographs, italy

5 responses to “From over the Aterno Valley, Abruzzo…

  1. Such history in your family village, Zoe. It is sad that the steeple has gone after all these years. Earthquakes are a facet of life, but still so unexpected when they come. I can well hear the sounds of the bells your described as if I was walking along the lane with you. A wonderful atmosphere that is hard to find here in Australia. Do you think the villagers might rebuild the steeple?

    • Hi Amanda, I admit when I started writing about Fossa in my books, I was stunned by how much history there was in such a small village that most would never have heard of. And yes, to live among such beautiful, tall mountains means there is always the danger of earthquakes and central Italy has certainly been copping it in recent years. The steeple is currently supported by scaffolding and has a temporary roof so fingers crossed it will be rebuilt…one day. Zoe x

      • Thanks for the explanation, Zoe. And good news that the steeple will be rebuilt! I guess living there is a bit like a double edged sword, at least that is what my friends and relatives tell me, ( they live in Wellington, NZ, and Iceland – both earthquake prone areas), and one does adapt to living with the ever present danger to some extent.

  2. Cindy Lazzaro Queen

    My first visit to Fossa was in 2011. I feel so deprived that I did not get to experience the village where both of my parents were born. But I did have the pleasure of meeting cousins and other family members …so sad that they can only “look” at their beloved Fossa.

    • Hi Cindy, I do feel for you that you didn’t get to experience the village before the earthquake yet it is still so wonderful that you have been to see Fossa and to walk the lanes and most especially to meet other relatives from your parents’ village. I think perhaps just being in a place where you have an ancestral connection is such a unique and meaningful experience that can have a changing effect on your life. Zoe x

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