The ghost town after the earthquake…

Town disappeared overnight (lives lost and homes destroyed)This is the most recent footage of Fossa since the Abruzzo earthquake of 2009. It is called, Town disappeared overnight by Broken Window Theory and shows the ghost town that Fossa tragically is today. I admit, I did find it hard to watch at times – so many of the places that I’ve walked and lived, and of course written about in both my books. It gave me goosebumps to see and I felt bewildered, sad, captivated and protective all at once. For this is not just a curiosity, it is where people’s lives were lost and for others where life as they knew it ended.

I look at the streets overgrown and neglected and at the same time I see in my mind back when they were well-kept and clean and full of people, cats, dogs, cars and vespas. Incredibly, at 18 minutes into this 20 minute footage, my family’s house with its little balcony fills the screen. It is deceptive because from that side wall the destruction inside the house is concealed. If you have any link to Fossa, I feel I should warn you that this footage may be hard to watch at times, especially as those filming go right into the most intimate parts of homes, which may just happen to be one of yours or someone you know. That said, the young men filming have done so with respect, have only entered houses where the doors were already open and have concealed the name and whereabouts of the village. (Considering my own family’s house is one of those looted since the earthquake, I appreciate this.) By the end, they also appear to be overwhelmed by all they’ve seen.

I have always held hope to return to Fossa and my family’s house, despite all else, even if it is still a ghost town when I next do. However, most of all, I hope to see Fossa again as it was, at its best. Vibrant, full of people, of all ages, cooking aromas, vespas going past, cats asleep in doorways, women shelling peas, tvs blaring, kids playing football in the piazza, birds chirruping among the lanes and the church bell clanging, everything that was beautiful and glorious about Italian village life. xx

To watch footage… click here


Filed under inspiration + history, italy

6 responses to “The ghost town after the earthquake…

  1. Brian

    Thanks for providing this insight Zoe. It raises the heartache of personal and inter-generational memory with the integral and un-avoidable relationship of tangibility in the process. Hauntingly beautiful and soulfully sad at the same time. Brian

    • Hello Brian, yes, I found myself ricocheting through many different emotions while watching this. It is true, one one level it is incredibly sad and yet, on another, so beautiful in a curious way. I found myself thinking I was glad my Nonno wasn’t alive to see what had happened to his beloved Fossa, but then, his causing me to come to love it too elicited in me such similar emotions he may have felt. Zoe x

  2. Glenn Ingersoll

    My family, too, is from Fossa. My grandparents on my mother’s side were born in Fossa and emigrated to the United States. Not long ago I visited Fossa, found family, and walked the very streets depicted in the video. I saw the abandoned house of my great grandfather. Molto triste.

    • Hi Glenn, as well as those who emigrated to Australia, I also have relatives from Fossa who emigrated to the United States, perhaps at a similar time to your grandparents! From what I know, they ended up in New York and Pennsylvania.
      It is indeed quite an experience to walk through Fossa as it is now and I imagine how it must have been to see the abandoned house of your bisnonno. So many emotions. They’ve rebuilt the town several times over the centuries after earthquakes, am holding onto hope they will do so again. Warmest wishes, Zoe x

  3. Luciano Di Marco

    Gut wrenching. My father’s family are all from there Zoe , as are my in-laws. I’m sure their names will ring a bell with you , Eligio Di Marco , Domenico Mariani and Sofia Di Marco . Thanks Zoe

    • Hi Luciano, yes, it’s hard to comprehend it is the same vibrant village that we know so well! I hold hope that it will come to be so again, one day. (And knowing the Di Marco surname well in Fossa, it’s possible that we may even be distantly related in some way at a guess!) Tante belle cose, Zoe x

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