WRECKERS

FIRST REACTIONS IN THE CRATER

 

The storm of explosions, flames and roars has ceased. Darkness and silence loom over the crater. Life seems over.

Whoever has not fainted is silent; immovable; until he regains the consciousness of being alive. Who can, begins to move; groping. Shadows (1); into the dark; mute.

The complaints of the injured manage to insinuate themselves into the deafness of the stunned ears: they are the first sign of residues of life.

We realize that we are not left alone.

There is a need to help, to know: life must go on!

A whispered moan is ventured - help! - bouncing off the dust in front of the mouth, confirming the existence of oneself. One takes courage; help is asked louder and louder; the supplications are mutually reinforcing with the others, which come from the dark, all around. They become cries: a chaotic chorus of cries.

The dust settles slowly, giving way to the light that descends from the sky and gives increasingly harrowing contours to the catastrophe: the heart of San Giovanni has collapsed into a couple of meters of debris. Only a few spiers of the wall have managed to oppose the force of gravity and hint at the houses where, just a few minutes ago, life flowed.

 

Too huge the horror / that closed the air around / Too greedy the fire / Atrocious the torture / High the flames / in the blocked pupils. / And slow / for one meal / unlimited. / The blood dripped / like moaning sap / Acre the smoke / to devour / the screams. / We wish we had / so much blood / to put out the fire. / ... / The arms are too sweet / from which we were torn / Fate is too bitter / the tears froze / The veil is dark / above the clear eyes. / It is burning / of pain / unlimited. / He tortured the mind / a whirlwind of images / Infinite the moment / before the / fiery gash. / We would have liked to have / so many tears / to drown death (2).

 

Immediate relief

Like rats, from the burrows, the survivors emerge from hell: life, incredibly, managed to resist. Unharmed men bring help to those close, hurt, buried, or just in distress. To the moans and cries for help, the voices of the rescuers are added (3).

 

In Via Cibo

Gigetto (Luigi Gambucci) emerges from the door of the Post Office, where he had remained a prisoner, thinking it was over! His mouth is full of dirt. He caught a glimpse of some light. .. a blush: he was refreshed. It leads home, a few tens of meters, at the beginning of the bridge. But there, at the end of the street, at the corner of Via Spunta towards the Tiber, the hill of rubble into which the house of Concetta (Villarini) was reduced spilled onto the row facing, up to the architraves of the doors, obstructing the passage to the bridge. Muffled cries for help are heard from under the rubble. They begin to dig with their hands. "Take it easy ... that everything falls ..." recommends the buried woman, who has heard them and tries to guide them. It is the Gigina (Mischianti). She is almost on top of the pile of rubble, saved by a beam that has made a hut, protecting her head; in the rest of his body he has severe injuries (4).

With his hands, Gigetto manages to dig a small hole, freeing the woman's head, unrecognizable but alive: he breathes. Tonino (Grilli) (5) and Remigio (Tonanni) (6) help him. The latter, skimpy, has just managed to sneak, through a hole, from the door in which he was imprisoned, with two other companions in misfortune (7).

Running from Santa Maria comes Guerriero de Schiupitìno (Gagliardini), the child with the telescope, after having almost bypassed Pazzi's wife, who died in Via Grilli. He climbs into the rubble thinking that the living head belongs to his mother, who owns a shop nearby. Crying he tries to help free her; when he realizes that he has a bun (8) - it is not his mother - instinct leads him to flee, to look for her elsewhere (9).

The Gigina becomes the destination of a pilgrimage of many who - in turn, in a chain of solidarity - try to free it: it is the first symbol of reaction, of hope. Tonino (Taticchi) (10) is added; arrives Lellino (Raffaello Agea) (11). Fernando de Bargiacca removes the stones from around her, from the waist down (12).

Mario (Destroyed), a boy, helped for a moment to free the trapped woman; then he runs away, looking for his father and brother, looking only at the people standing, because he does not want to see any dead (13).

This conflict - between solidarity and selfishness - involves everyone, even adults: the bare essentials are helped to wait for the generous neighbor, in a courageous and selfishly cruel relay race at the same time.

Everyone - in the face of the most inhuman horror - above all has his family members in mind, he wants to find them again (14). The instinct is to go away to look for them. Then, coldly, remorse (15) emerges for having helped only that much that could not be done without.

First of all, you think about saving your own skin.

La Stella (Bottaccioli) was left alone in the house. Swallowed by darkness and dust, her son Lazarus felt as if he had gone mad and fled, remembering her only when hell was over (16).

On the mound where Gigina's body emerges, Egino (Villarini) arrives, escaped from his hiding place in Via Roma; that pile of debris, up to the height of the first floors, is what remains of his house. It climbs on the rubble, when the dust has not yet completely cleared up. He finds some objects belonging to Bruno, his brother: the keys to the Celio office, a bayonet, rolls of cotton and tailoring accessories. Shortly after, her mother Concetta arrives from Piazza San Francesco, who throws herself (17) to scrape on the rubble with her hands, screaming in an almost inhuman way (18). They can't take it away.

On the same stone hill, another mother, Annita de Baldrighèlla (Boldrini), who had remained unharmed in the nearby saddler's shop of Carlo (Ciarabelli), on her knees invokes her daughter Cecilia (19).

The dust is clearing.

An elderly man can be glimpsed, as if dazed, on the bed in the room on the top floor, without the wall facing west (20).

Two friends of Bruno and his schoolgirls arrive upset: Amelia (Lozzi) and Gigina (Vestrelli). They hug (21). Lowering their eyes, they see Bruno's scissors: "Oh my God ... they're all dead!". For heaven's sake ... for heaven's sake ... what a tragedy (22)! Gigina is barefoot and struggles to walk among the stones; only now does he realize that his shoulders are all dead. When she heard the increasingly deafening noise, she ran to the attics; then instinct had made her run down the stairs to the exit. At the bottom of the door she was paralyzed, while outside it seemed that the world was coming down: her apartment had come down, unloading itself on the barn of Fiordo, and only one room remained standing. Then, when silence returned, he opened the door: it was all dust and nothing could be seen ... rubble everywhere, dangling light cables, beams .... (23).

Nello (Phlegm) and the Armida de Caldàro saw some light through a small crack opened by the explosions following the one that had demolished the wing of the Vibi Palace, where they had taken shelter. Then they climbed on the debris and managed to break through to salvation (24).

From a nearby hole appears Silvano (Bernacchi), slightly wounded; he tries to get away from the crumbling walls, descending from the rubble hill where his house has been reduced. He is rescued by Doctor Porrozzi, who takes him with him to his temporary home, near the iron bridge of the Rio. Silvano's grandfather, buried to the waist, died shortly after; the grandmother is seriously injured (25).

It was only by chance that La Palma, in charge of cleaning the railway cars, and the children who lived on the first floor escaped: Don Anfilza, a long bladder; Giovanna, with her blond braids, thick woolen socks and flat shoes; and Bìa, so renamed for the refrain with which he never missed an opportunity to recommend to everyone: "Bìa [you have to] stay low when the bombs fall". None of them were home.

In Lisetti's shoe shop, Antonio Mischianti sees a glimmer of light opening up. Whispers: "If pole runs away ... [you can get out]". The others close to him do not have to repeat it twice: they jump towards the door, from where more and more light is coming, and go out among some debris. Not far away, the rubble is so high that the Adriana and the Menchina del Sellaro (Cecchetti) were trapped inside the father's shop. The shoemakers try to escape towards Piazza San Francesco, as they had advised if a bombing had come, but there is a great deal of dust; they then turn towards the bridge over the Regghia, turn at the corner of Palazzo Reggiani, towards the Collegiata.

Everyone finds himself where his legs have taken him (26).

 

In Via Mariotti

Alfredo (Ciarabelli) comes out of his hiding place as a reluctant, in the Grilli house. He hears Uncle Brutus upstairs; he climbs gropingly and finds him standing at the top of the stairs with his nephew Giovannino (Grilli) a few months old in his arms, crying. Brutus tries to make him breathe by putting him outside the window, in the illusion that there is less dust (27). Alfredo helps them get out of the door, in Via Cibo. He realizes he is in pajamas and goes up to put on something; he no longer worries about the risk of being arrested as a dodger. From the window on the first landing he can see - the dust continues to thin out - that the houses of San Giovanni have all fallen. He sees people, alive, on a pile of rubble: they are the relatives of Simonucci's wife, displaced from Manfredonia. Jump from the window onto the debris, which almost reaches the windowsill; leads those people, dumb and dazed, on the Corso passing through the same window. Together with `l Bove (Antonio Taticchi), he frees Maria (Brunori) who is buried to the waist; they place it in the dark of a window to transport it to the Corso; others take her to the hospital. While they are digging, Maria's sister - the Bruna - screams from under the debris that imprison her, recommending not to let everything collapse (28).

La Pompilia (Locchi), sitting on the rubble, all dusty, is beside herself: she sings "Bandiera rossa", like a crank turntable with an unloaded spring (29).

 

In the alley of San Giovanni

In the house opposite that of the Brunoris, Elda (Bartocci), without knowing how, found herself on a higher floor than the entrance hall where she had taken refuge, in the dark, among the smoky dust of the bombs. It's a terrible time, because she thinks she is buried alive. She finds it hard to breathe, she no longer believes she can save herself, until - thanks to the wind - the dust clears and she sees the sky: a beautiful sky, also because it makes her think she is safe. Trying to move among those rubble, he realizes that he is on the opposite side of the building, on the side of the railway. When she reaches a crack in the wall, she starts screaming to get someone's attention; after a while he sees Osvaldo (Baroni) in front of the saddler's stables along the Regghia. He asks for help; he brings her a ladder, leans it against the wall; the Elda, from a crumbling window, dangles down ... down ... until it touches the first rung with the tip of its toes: it is safe (30)!

 

In Via Alberti

The gardeners who were selling vegetables in Via Alberti - Annetta, Annina de Caprone and Suntina de Saltafinestre (Assunta Fortuna) - took refuge inside the fruit shop of Pierina del Pilide. They came out alive, thanks to Cència (Valdambrini) - employed on the telephones - who had suggested to lift their clothes and breathe through the fabric in order to block the dust: "Breathe calmly ... You can see a little light. .. we are saved! ". They climb, up ... up, through the rubble. A companion in misfortune, hunchbacked and lame, cannot climb; among all, they bring her to safety (31).

 

In Piazza delle Erbe

At the first glimmer of light towards the Piazzetta delle Erbe - it seems an eternity has passed - Nino (Egidio Grassini) runs away, running wildly: "Better he died in the open than under the stones", he thinks. He crosses like a bolt of lightning the small tunnel that leads to Via Grilli, used by everyone as a urinal, without in the slightest noticing the wife of Quinto (Pazzi), the butcher, who was hit by a splinter at that point (32). Those who enter the town from Piaggiola see her but do not stop, believing her to be dead.

 

In Via Guidalotti

From a cloud of dust and rubble, the Franchi family comes out of the Venanzia inn. They come down from a pile of rubble which, on the road, reaches the middle of the door. The mother, slightly wounded in the forehead, helps herself by clinging to the grating of the rear window above the door. With the other arm he holds the bundle of his daughter of a few months - Giuliana - all white from dust. They enter the fortress. The girl is choking; the father suggests to the mother to clean her mouth with saliva (33). Parents are unsure what to do. Franco of the head guard (Anastasi) takes care of cleaning her mouth, removing the earth (34). Then she goes upstairs to get a glass of water from Olimpia's mother (Pieroni), who helps her clean and quench her thirst (35).

The Commissioner arrives shouting: "Calm down, calm down!". Dina (Tosti) rails against him:

"Go and died killed!".

And he: "Who did it ?! How dare you!" But Mr. Locchi manages to smooth out

the question: it is not time to think about respecting the authorities (36). Olimpia

(Pieroni) tries to get closer to Flora's house, passing through the alley

of the Balille; but it is completely blocked by the rubble of the Marzani house

and from the corner of the one in front, towards Piazza delle Erbe. It then goes down along

the stretch of road that goes towards the bell tower of San Giovanni; try to switch between

the Venanzia house (left) and Marzani house (right). While also being

this street blocked by rubble, can see, between the smoke and the dust,

Flora, Bice and their niece Bettina, just outside the door of their house.

He tries to call them, but they don't hear it, because they are completely stunned;

manages to reach them, passing over the rubble.

The three women, together with some other inhabitants of the house (Duranti and Natali),

they had repaired themselves, at the request of the owner of the stationery, in

very small back room of the same, communicating with the stairs of the building

and considered by him to be safer.

They spent those tragic moments among the ink bottles and

other stationery items falling off the shelves (37). Now they go up

in the house to see in what state it is reduced and to close it. In front of the door,

Piazza delle Erbe is strewn with stones. They realize the gravity of the disaster

when they see that the external wall of the house, towards the square, is detached from the internal walls by almost half a meter (38).

Among the debris of the Tommasi house, the stump of a leg, with the boot, of Sora Rosa appears (39).

 

In the Collegiate Church

While the other fellow refugees weep and continue to recommend themselves to God and to Our Lady, the Archpriest has the impression of having been buried in the rubble. Take a few steps in the dark to find the nearest exit, heading towards the outer door of the sacristy; but, falling several times, he realizes that he cannot stand up. When he comes to light again, he notices that he is wounded in the left leg; blood gushes everywhere. Meanwhile his comrades have fled. Except one, who is wounded: he lies in a pool of blood and strongly complains. Don Luigi can't really walk; he drags himself on all fours over the rubble and looks out from the only door left open towards the square to try and escape. From there he sees people fleeing scared. The houses opposite, including the parish one, are mutilated or dismantled; a huge chasm created by the bomb was created on the square; the rest of the ground is all upset (40).

From Via Roma comes Natalino (Lisetti) running in his underwear. He had returned to Umbertide on military leave, after having witnessed the terrible bombings in Rome with 7,000 dead: "I go to die 'at my house", he said to himself. This morning he did not wake up at the usual time, but only when he heard the explosion of the bombs; now he runs towards the barbershop where he should have been working. From the center there is a stampede of upset people. Meet the teacher Rondoni who wants to go back to class to see what happened to his pupils (41).

 

The escape after the storm

Those who are not in a position to help others, because they are wounded or out of their mind, try to get as far away as possible from the hell of the crater.

... And then outside / in the alley / the hot air / heavy with dust and sulfur ... (42).

From the historic center there are two possible escape routes, the Piazza bridge and the Piaggiola, because the exit towards Piazza San Francesco is almost prevented by the heaps of rubble that obstruct both the Corso and the alley of San Giovanni.

 

From the square bridge

From Via Mancini, through the "Arches of the Priest", a flood of people fleeing, across the bridge in the square, pours towards the Collegiate Church. All the plaster on the ceiling between the arches has fallen to the ground.

From the door of the teacher Lina peep out those who had gathered there, covered with dust. They face a body, supine, with one leg slightly reclined, dressed in dark gray, with a bodice. Simonello's (Simonelli) legs are not long enough to climb over him; raise the child; in front of Codovini they cover his eyes so as not to make him look towards that slaughter. In front of the shoe shop they see Selleri, standing, gesturing for a few steps, limping. Blood is dripping from his head. He cries out: "Lord, Our Lady, help me!" (43). It drags itself up to the Regghia wall; he leans on it, spindled towards the stream (44). Then he goes back into his shop.

Mariolina (Rapo) and Lea came out from under the bed, which saved everyone, because the roof landed on top of the mattresses. "They tried to escape through the arch that connects Via Mancini with the alley of San Giovanni, but it is obstructed by rubble. They found a free way in the arches of the square, where a terrible scene was presented, full of bodies (46); they had to climb over that of Baldo (Gambucci) (42). body also Dina (Batazzi), who fled from the same alley with the two younger brothers she found just outside the door (48).

Elsa (Caprini) and mamma come out of the bottoms of the same alley. An all-white-faced German signaled that they can go. Behind them Vincenzo (Rinaldi) escapes, just out of the public toilets. He stumbles upon Virginia, his teacher. Grab the hand of the blond (Umberto Bellarosa) who had run against the tide towards hell. Only under the tower does it begin to revise a bit of sulùstro (49).

On the bridge of the Regghia the head of the Registry, Porrini, all dusty and distraught, tries to run; it also looks bloody (50).

From the basement under the tavern where he had taken refuge, Vittorio (Giornelli) looks out from the arch of the tobacconist's that leads to the square, just when a verge falls in front of him. In the square, the grave silence after the din was replaced by moans, screams, calls of people running from all over (51). Nothing can be seen: everything is submerged in smoke (52).

Lorenzo's mother descends, walking on the rubble of the Corso, convinced that her son has remained underneath. Hope pushes her to join the river of people pouring towards the Tiber, to travel backwards along the road along which her son might be. She screams her name, until a friend reopens the world to her: "Giuditta, she's from here" she shouts, showing her Lorenzo. He goes back to the Collegiate Church with his son; she pulls him by the hand in the midst of the fog and the people, all white, running like crazy. The child, in the other hand, is still holding the celery that he had gone to fetch from Aunt Lucia's garden (53).

 

From Piaggiola

In a rush, down the Piaggiola, people run away. A distraught man screams that he has landed everything, while from the center of the town he is running towards Santa Maria (54).

Doctor Trotta drags his dazed wife by the hand, drier than ever, her hair matted white with dust; they seem to be headed for the hospital (55).

Giorgio de Bellazzùcca (Toraci) runs, in the middle of the thick smoke. At the bottom of the railing of the stairs in Misquicqueri (Nello Migliorati), there is a woman standing, clinging with her hands to something behind her head: her belly is torn and her guts out (56). At the bottom of the slope, near the "pompina", Evans (Leonardi) passes by the house of his grandfather Pasquale, who is going down to the street; with him he continues running towards the Roccolo (57). His friend Stefanino (Marsigliotti) takes refuge in the crypt of the church of Sant'Erasmo, which is full of people (58).

Franco (Mischianti) at the Lazzaro ditch finds his aunt Marianna (59).

Marisa, the girl who had made the salt, joined the many others who flee towards Lazzaro's ditch; but the more she runs, the more she feels like she is going back. After a while the Steak arrives, holding Gabriella (Pazzi) in her arms. Everyone cums in order not to be understood by the children, showing great dismay. They speak of Gabriella's mother: perhaps she is dead (60).

"Many dozens of people screaming for the pain of their wounds and for terror, made unrecognizable by the blood, dust and rags they found on them, cry out for help along the road that passes near the Lazarus ditch: they are looking for children, mothers, family members...

One of these, with a screaming and tormented voice, accuses: "Ramiro, everyone is crying and why don't you cry?". It means: "You knew that, you are in contact with the British! The fault is yours." Ramiro, in a loud voice, yells at her: "I have been crying for three months ... I have run out of tears." Then it becomes silent in the midst of so much pain and so much torment that it cannot be described "(61). He heads towards the center of the town to bring help.

 

From outside the walls

In the neck of the mother who runs away from Piazza San Francesco, the fiolìna of the Jone de Caino yells,

because he is looking for the shoe he has lost.

Elsa de Sciuscino (Bartoccini) pulls the heavy mother who cannot run. They are desperate

for the fate of Rina, the sister, because she went shopping at Quadrio's; instead

they see her return all ancenderàta (62).

People come from the center smeared with blood. They take Tomassino away, paralyzed by the

birth, in his three-wheeled pram: it's all bloody. The Eva (Rondoni) has come down

for the funds of Gaetano (Severi); the plate with the meat, which he had placed in a cool place in the window,

fell below. He cannot go towards the square, because all the stones are falling down. It goes from

part below, towards the nuns, saying: "Will the fioli be found this morning?" (63).

Commissioner Ramaccioni passes through the Tiberina and returns home seated on his seat

rear of a motorcycle driven by a military man. At the end of the Corso, Ramiro gets up

for a moment his head from the rubble he has begun to dig and shouts at him: "You saw

he disaster have you made? (64).

The Giovanna del torroncino goes up the Reggia stream, with sandals in hand to run more

expeditiously; he climbs it for a long stretch upwards, until he reaches a field a

Civitella; exhausted, she lets herself fall on the lawn. A farmer approaches her; says that Umbertide

there is no more. In fact, looking downstream, you only see a white cloud: nothing else ...

not even the bell tower ... nothing (66)! The whole class of Maestro Santini headed towards

the Pinewood; at the intersection of the road to Civitella, Peppino da Milano (Giuseppe Feligioni)

he reunites with the teacher Santini and his schoolmates. Among them is Polenzano, which leads

all in the house of the farm under the Castle, led by his family (67), where they are

welcomed and refreshed (68). From school many teachers, surrounded like hens by schoolchildren,

they continue to move away from the country, still feeling in danger (69).

A janitor runs along Via Roma with a small group of elementary school children (70). Of aprons

whites swarm the banks of the stream (71).

The janitor's sister runs away from the school lunch to check the conditions of the house

grandmother paralyzed in a chair; he finds her weeping for the worry of fate

it fell to the family '(72). Emilio (Baldassarri), escaped from the rear stairs of the Goodwill,

he ran across the Tiber to get as far away from hell as possible; is revised a

school to take the bicycle to return home towards Montalto (73).

Giuseppe (Golini) also rides a bicycle along the same road. Shortly before the Corvatto, towards Camillo, he improvises a slalom between the traces left on the road by the bullets of the machine guns: holes of a palm, at a distance of about ten meters from each other (74).

An unexpected game! Rolando (Tognellini), once hell finished, resumed the road to Pierantonio; he joins two friends - Marisa (Fanelli) and one of her companions - who come out of a chiavicotto under the railway, where they had sheltered (75).

A girl tries to cross the Tiber at Salcetta, to return home without going through the center; at one point the water reaches her neck and she is about to drown. Francesco Marignoli saves her. She arrives home all spring and cold (77).

More judiciously Rori (Astorre Ramaccioni) fords the Tiber where the water is low, at the radius of Trivilino: in terror he ran away from school without ever raising his eyes from the ground (77). Menco de Trivilino retraced his steps after fleeing to San Benedetto; to return to

home, in his underwear he crosses the river at the Corvatto radius (78).

 

1) Silvano Bernacchi.

2) Maria Letizia Giontella, "Poetry for three voices and three choirs", Municipality of Umbertide, National Competition 25th April, S. Francesco socio-cultural center, 1983.

3) Silvano Bernacchi.

4) Franco Mischianti.

5) Luigi Gambucci.

6) Fabrizio Boldrini, Luigi Gambucci.

7) Warrior Boldrini.

8) Emma Gagliardini.

9) Warrior Gagliardini.

10) Fabrizio Boldrini, Mario Destroyed.

11) Mario Destroyed.

12) Orlando Bucaioni.

13) Mario Destroyed.

14) Domenico Mariotti.

15) Warrior Gagliardini.

16) Class III A, Mavarelli-Pascoli State Middle School, Grandfather, tell me about the war, 2004. Testimony of Giovanna Bottaccioli.

17) Egino Villarini.

18) Ines Guasticchi.

19) Fabrizio Boldrini.

20) Egino Villarini.

21) Gigina Vestrelli.

22 Amelia Lozzi, Gigina Vestrelli.

23) Gigina Vestrelli.

24) Anna Caldari.

25) Silvano Bernacchi.

26) Giuseppe Lisetti.

27) Fabrizio Boldrini.

28) Alfredo Ciarabelli.

29) Marino Giulietti.

30) Elda Bartocci.

31) Giovanna Nanni.

32) Egidio Grassini.

33) Franco Anastasi, Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

34) Maria Chiasserini.

35 Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

36 Franco Anastasi.

37) Ornella Duranti.

38) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

39) Mario Alpini.

40) Don Luigi Cozzari, letter for the 1st anniversary.

41) Christmas Lisetti.

42) Mario Tosti, The day of the bombing, poem taken from "National Competition XXV Aprile", Municipality of Umbertide, S. Francesco socio-cultural center, 1984.

43) Simonello Simonelli.

44) Luisa Cecchetti.

45) Lea Rapo.

46) Elsa Caprini, Maria Luisa Rapo.

47) Maria Luisa Rapo.

48) Dina Batazzi.

49) Vincenzo Rinaldi.

50) Francesco Martinelli.

51) Vittorio Giornelli.

52) Romano Baldi.

53) Class III A, Mavarelli-Pascoli State Middle School, Grandfather, tell me about the war, unpublished 2004. Testimony by Lorenzo Andreani and Giovanna Bottaccioli.

54) Warrior Gagliardini.

55) Maria Pia Viglino.

56) Giorgio Toraci.

57) Evans Leonardi.

58) Renato Silvestrelli.

59) Franco Mischianti.

60) Marisa Pazzi.

61) Ramiro Nanni, How I, Ramiro, lived the bombing ..., 1979 manuscript.

62) Elsa Bartoccini.

63) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

64) Luigi Gambucci.

65) Mario Tosti (curator), Beautiful works !, Municipality of Umbertide, 1995, p. 132; detail of a photograph from the CGIL Alta Valle del Tevere Archive.

66) Giovanna Mancini.

67) Giuseppe Feligioni, Bruno Tarragoni Alunni.

68) Bruno Tarragoni.

69) Giovanna Mancini.

70) Isotta Baldelli.

71) Pia Gagliardini.

72) Cesira Baldelli.

73) Emilio Baldassarri.

74) Giuseppe Golini.

75) Rolando Tognellini.

76) Giuseppa Ceccarelli.

77) Astorre Ramaccioni.

78) Domenico Baldoni.

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ALL IN THE CRATER

 

The ebb

A residual of life sobs, convulsed, in the crater: ghosts, white with dust and terror, flee in search of themselves and their affections; they intersect with those who, for the same reason, arrive running into the cloud that has swallowed up his house.

The reciprocal, obsessive request for news is matched by silences or vague, confused, often elusive responses; pitiful lies that prolong hope for a while. The screams fade more and more into soft, whispered words.

With the passage of time, the ebb towards the crater becomes a tide, to see, know, help, in any way.

Balducci, the medical officer, interrupted his escape. Astonished, he retraces his steps, occasionally photographing the profile of the tormented town that the wind, dissipating the cloud, slowly brings back to the light.

The immense cloud of dust, blown by the wind, spread over the people who fled to the Tiber downstream of the bridge: we do not recognize each other, due to the dust and terror.

Reassured by the silence of the engines and machine guns, with their hearts in their throats, they all leave the patóllo and venture towards the country, after hell. They find a tremendous silence that hangs over the frantic work of the rescuers. Reason has taken over from terror. In a few minutes they realize how many have passed away who, until recently, lived next to them.

From the hills above the town - towards Roccolo, San Benedetto, Civitella - a ghostly scene appeared: a thick smoke covered all the houses. Then, slowly, we begin to glimpse the turret of the Municipality (1). "The tower is on ... and the Collegiate Church too" - thinks Spinelli (Renato Silvestrelli), who is returning to town - "So ... they didn't do anything ... it didn't go so badly".

 

The dead are revealed

The hope - opened by the sight of the tallest, intact buildings - that the damage will be limited, soon leaves the people who go back down to the town. Under the tower there are people crying, dirty with dust; someone is with blood on their face. Near the tub with the fountain, poor women and men - foreigners from the Roman dialect - console each other; perhaps they are guests of the Venanzia hotel, who have come to Umbertide as usual to get some flour and other things to eat; someone is full of blood.

He almost stumbles upon the corpse of the shoemaker Pierucci. She has a horribly torn thigh, as if dogs have eaten it (2). At that sight, Spinelli (Renato Silvestrelli) whining in the square, towards home, where he meets his older brother, Stanislao (3). Another little boy at first impresses himself; but he gets addicted almost immediately: luckily at fourteen he doesn't realize it (4).

But for adults it's different. There are dead! So many deaths! It was a slaughterhouse (5), a huge disaster. Anguish is rampant (6).

 

In the square

Arriving in the square, still shrouded in smoke, the dimension of the disaster is evident: it is a massacre. At the corner towards the Regghia, many white bodies, stripped (7). A terrible sight. Those who arrive remain petrified in front of the tragedy (8).

It is the whole country mortally wounded. The San Giovanni district is torn apart. It is traumatizing to see from the square, towards Montaguto, the facade of the Capponi hotel: a large part of the post office building and the whole row of houses in the vicolo di San Giovanni, towards the north, have collapsed (14).

In front of the Codovini hat shop, the women of the Ceccarelli family who lie face down have been mowed down (15). The mother is on the ground at the entrance to Via Alberti (16), all covered by a gray dust, next to a basket of grass left in the balance (17). A daughter is near the window; one even more inside the shop (18). The Marianella, the youngest, still gives some signs of life (19). A school friend of hers recognizes her, annihilated (20). On the side wall, towards the Town Hall, stands the poster "The two orphans". The live rerun, unscheduled, of the previous evening's film has a very bad ending: it's over for the two orphans. Pouring on the threshold, Giulia (Bartoccioli), the maid, stammers as if to say something to Rolando del Buffè (Fiorucci), who has just arrived by bicycle (21). He breathes, but he no longer has a leg (22); one piece is a few meters away, with a clog still inserted with the little strap (23); is dying. The accountant Martinelli for a moment has the instinct to give her absolution "in articulo mortis"; but he realizes that, not being a priest, he cannot do it (24). It is a chilling situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the billboard of the cinema, some banknotes for salaries are scattered on the ground, around the counter abandoned by Elda (Bebi Ceccarelli) (25). Nobody cares to waste time collecting all those belleróni who have suddenly regained their natural paper value (26). A few minutes ago, Rosanna (Ceccarelli) was with her aunt Dina (Bebi), at home, above the post office. From the window they had greeted Giuseppe (Chicchioni), the latter's boyfriend, who was leaving in Annibale Trentini's car to return from a license to his place in the Navy. When they heard the planes above the square and saw the two long bombs they dropped, they started shouting to the other women of the Ceccarelli family: "Let's run away, let's run away!".

Reunited, they ran up the stairs. They were fleeing towards the Regghia bridge, when Virginia, from the window of her uncle Archpriest, advised herself: "Wait, I'll come too!" (27). At the first roar, Elio (Renzini) - who was at her math class - had immediately fled like a bolt of lightning towards the "case nóve", abandoning the books and the teacher with his mother Geltrude (28).

La Dina (Bebi) had continued to run towards the Collegiate; Riego, the hat seller, who had difficulty walking, had clung to his hand (29).

Instead, the friends had stopped to wait for Virginia, who had come down to the ground but had stopped standing in front of the door of the house under the arches of the priest: she was still uncertain what to do, because she had left her mother at home, who did not he could run like her. The friends tried in vain to insist: "Come away ... let's run away! (30).

They are all dead now. The Virginia lies at the corner of the square (31), between Via Stella and the arches of the priest (32); has swollen lips (33). She was the twenty-year-old niece of Don Luigi, graduating in mathematics at the University of Rome (34). Poor daughter! What a sad end has been reserved for her! ... (35).

Mother Geltrude has come down from the house; asks those present if they have seen where the daughter has gone; he does not notice that she is at his feet, dead; with a pretext they try to remove it (36). "She is the daughter of Giovanni (Cozzari)", whispers a neighbor from Virginia (37). They cover it as best they can with a bandone (38), from which a leg protrudes askew. Close to her, on the corner towards the Regghia bridge, is Baldo's body, with zuava trousers; he is all curled up, folded in two, with his legs under his torso facing upwards, one hand on his chest. He is barefoot (39); near the leggings (40); one leg resting on the wall (41).

Nearby, a tall man, without a hair, is kneeling over the head of a lifeless young man (Licinius Leonessa). He lit a candle near his face, which he tries to clean up from the very thick dust that covers the whole body, making it unrecognizable: you cannot even see if it is a boy or a young girl (42). They were guests of the Capponi hotel: a tall boy with a distinguished father (43).

Gianna (Nanni) was with the other schoolgirls of the Terni seamstress who had been displaced on the third floor of Marcello Pucci's house; they had all fled for Piaggiola, towards the Holy Fountain. But she retraced her steps when she heard them say: "Those pore gardeners ... all dead in the square!". His mom is one of them! On Via Alberti, turning after the Bucitino bakery, you cannot reach the end of the alley towards the square, where the herbivores arrange their baskets of vegetables, because it is blocked by rubble. With yes and one shoe, Gianna passes through the tower, along Via Guidalotti and arrives in the square. Baskets of grass are overturned at the beginning of Via Alberti (44). Where Mom should be there are many dead women, one on top of the other. He recognizes Virginia, close to the charities of the grass. She remains paralyzed, frightened: no one understands anything anymore. Fortunately, his father arrives, trying to verify if among those poor mangled, unrecognizable bodies, there is his Annetta. Raise the skirts of the women to see if they have varicose veins, which the mother has very evident from the knee down: "Shut up ... - he whispers after the pitiful check - ... because your mother is there "(45). Hamlet, the radiotelegraphist husband of Tecla, died behind the house, near the Maurino staircase under the vault to the left of the Post Office. He had escaped many battles; instead, now, after having rescued others, he found death to return to the house, where his wife and daughter had remained. Nino de Capucino (Domenico Mariotti) touches him, trying to stick his head in that alley, to see the back of his house, through the arch They yell at him: "Watch out! Far away! Everything falls! ". The house where his parents lived is no longer there. Where the Quadrio oven was, muffled screams can be heard rising from the rubble (46).

 

 

Next to the arch, groups of men try to free the people who have been imprisoned at the bottom of the stairs of the building above Galen's barbershop.

Someone places the cinema billboard over Hamlet's body.

Mario Donnini, head of the Cassa di Risparmio office - a tall dark-haired man - screams, his hands and eyes turned to the sky: "Help! ... Are you there?" (47). Look for his wife and children who lived in the post office building, reduced to a pile of stones. With his hands he scrapes among the stones inside the door and throws them into the square (48). Don Giovanni helps her dig. He brings to light a woman with a child in her arms from the debris: she is Donnini's wife and one of the children. The priest lifts the little body to hand it to Guerriero de Schiupitino (Gagliardini), the Oratorian with the telescope, with the precaution that is reserved for those who are still alive; the boy in turn passes it to another person (49). No one has yet realized that the baby is dead. Another corpse is extracted shortly after. Almost immediately the mother Lodina is freed, still unaware of the tragedy that destroyed her offspring. As soon as she sees the light, she worries about the fifteen-year-old who was helping her to look after her children: they heard each other from under the rubble. "Hurry to save Mary, who is still alive", he recommends. The buried girl can hear her, but she no longer has the strength to answer: she is wounded and fainting (50).

Other people, nearby, extract the body of Lina (Violins) who expired under a beam, on the door of her house; they take her away lying on a makeshift stretcher, followed by her father Severino completely beside himself (51). Her feet are broken, at the ankles, like Virginia (52).

Maria, the girl who helped Lodina, was right under the body of Lina, who shielded her, saving her. Pacieri, del Niccone, tries to get it out, but the more he digs, the more stones come down, instead of those removed. While he does his best, he holds her hand tightly to give her courage and to feel if she is still alive, because she no longer responds to any call. He manages to free her from the rubble after almost half an hour, around 11. She is unconscious. It comes to its senses by the rebounds, on the curbs of Piaggiola, of the cart on which it rests. It is serious and they take her directly to the hospital in Città di Castello, because in Umbertide there is no longer room for anyone (53). Donnini, the head of the Cassa di Risparmio office, has meanwhile realized the terrible tragedy that overwhelmed him: that father comes down from the dilapidated house with his two dead creatures on his arms; and screams and cries (55).

A little later a sound of bells is heard: people think it is the signal that all is over; instead it is he who is ringing the big bell, perhaps to ask for help or perhaps because he is out of his mind for the death of his two little children. Madonna (56)!

At the base of the same mountain, Natalino (Lisetti) helps to remove the debris, in search of the friends of Galen's barbershop (57).

 

Someone begins to take care of the corpses freed from the rubble, unrecognizable for their wounds, dust and burns.

They drag the bodies of the Ceccarelli and Giulia, the maid, who is expiring at this moment into the post office (58). She chose to die right in front of the blowjob in the square, where she used to fill jugs with water for those who asked her in exchange for a few coins or a "thank you" (59).

Don Giuseppe della Serra bends the black cassock over the corpses to bless them; he gives holy oil and absolution to the dying (60). The Salesian Don Giacomo (61) also does his utmost.

As they carry the dead to the Collegiate Church, lying on makeshift stretchers with doors and shutters (62). A wooden ladder is also used. While waiting to be taken away, they cover them as best they can, with what is there (64).

 

 

 

On the Regghia bridge

Pompeo (Selleri), having escaped from school, enters the shop of his father cobbler. She finds him sitting behind his work desk. Wounded and bleeding, he looks at his son, recognizes him and asks him: "Go and see 'de la tu' mamma and your 'brothers ...` n du enno [where they are]. "The son would like to help him, seeing him in those conditions (65). "I'm fine ... my leg hurts ... go and see your mother and your brothers" insists father. Pompeo obeys reluctantly. He doesn't want to leave him alone. of the rescuers who drag the poor man out by the feet, crawling him on the ground; a man passes by, with the yellow band of the rescue workers on his arm, covering the eyes of his granddaughter to spare her the horror (66). on the road, in front of his shop (67), towards the wall of the Regghia where he remains lying motionless: they leave him there, believing that he is dead (68), near the pit of an unexploded bomb (69). signs of life (70), but leaves little to hope; they lay him on a frame and take him to the hospital. Shortly afterwards his son Pompeo returns, c he just saw his house destroyed. He no longer finds his father. Then she starts to cry, desperately. "I am armed alone! My house has fallen", he explains to the Meoni - the family of Doctor Vitaliano - who approached him to ask him what he does when he is so young - he is seven years old - all alone (71). They keep him with them, who already have ten children, until they manage to track down his cousins: Giulio (Guardabassi), Wanda, Linda (72).

 

In Via Grilli

Quinto (Pazzi), beside himself (73), has laid his already dead wife on a cart, which he desperately pushes towards the hospital. The body - a big woman, all full of blood (74) - jolts inert on the stone curbs of the Piaggiola descent, lying on the same platform that the butcher uses to bring the animals back from the slaughterhouse. It is the terrifying symbol of humanity's degradation in warfare, condemning innocent victims even to the humiliation of animality. Pass through Piazza Marconi, invoking the name of his wife; due to the jolts, Maria's arm slips over the edge of the platform, dangles towards the wheel, where her fingers get caught, mangling. Ines brings Maria Pia (Viglino) back into the door so that she does not witness that torment (75).

At the hospital they make the poor husband understand that there is nothing more to be done. Then Quintus goes towards the nearby ditch of Lazarus. It's all bloody; he washes himself with water from the stream (76). He turns upset. He has a bag with butcher's tools, from which a cleaver comes out. He is beside himself. He shouts: "The amazon everyone !!! ... Thugs !! Murderers !!" (77).

 

In Via Mancini

On the other side of the ditch, the butcher is echoed by Lina (Silvia Cambiotti), who shouts with her hands in the air, as if she were alone: "... these criminals ... who have played the alarm! So much the madman all ... I as I will do! ... "(78).

When she heard the deafening noise of the airplanes, Lina had been the first to escape from the Tobacconists, without asking for permission as it must be done strictly. Seeing them fly very, very low, she ran towards the fields; to try to hide, she had taken refuge in a ditch.

Then, having seen them fly higher, he had thought that by now they had finished bombing and that they were probably moving away; then she ran towards the town, imagining that she would find the bridge over the Tiber destroyed. She was dazed; she thanked God for being saved and thought of taking Amalia and her mother-in-law to escape out of the country.

Arriving in the square, she saw a dead woman in front of Codovini's shop: "Uh, Sora Maria is dead!" he thought, believing she was the owner of the hat shop. Then, turning his head in the direction of home, he saw that it had become a mountain of rubble on the front towards the alley of San Giovanni!

For the Arches of the Priest she went towards the entrance, located at the back, in Via Mancini; she ran up the stairs. Having made the first row, he saw everything open in front: towards the alley of San Giovanni the house had been gutted! She was shocked. From that moment on he didn't understand anything. Marshal Onnis, having seen that she was beside himself, decided to take her over. He took her to drink in the Roscia box office, at the bottom of the Piaggiola. He did not abandon it until he handed it over to his mother, who had left San Cassiano on foot when she learned of the bombing. In Montecastelli he had obtained a lift from Prince Boncompagni of Fontesegale who was headed to Umbertide with the carriage, to look for Maria Renzini and her family, at the request of her parents (79).

 

In the alley of San Giovanni

Nina (Concetta Ciammarughi), her daughter Pierina taken to safety, ran towards the town to check the fate of the other family members. She didn't realize she was barefoot; it passed over stones, glass, debris, without feeling any pain or getting hurt. Arriving at the house of her brother (Luigi Mariotti), who lives in the same house as the Cambiotti, she sees that the external wall towards the Vicolo di San Giovanni has collapsed. But the bed, intact, gives hope that it has been saved (80). Lying on another bed, Sergio, the young son of Busabò, glided over the rubble unharmed (81).

He tries to go back to his house, in the alley of San Giovanni - Via Petrogalli 20 - Paolino, the railway worker: the door is blocked by the rubble of the row of houses in front. He doesn't know how to get back into the house. It goes to the other side, the one that overlooks the Via Tiberina. He runs along the railway, towards the station, to take a long ladder. He comes back, puts it on the wall of the house, goes up to the window, manages to look inside: he sees the bloody mother. "Oh my God, what do I do!" he thinks, shocked by the emotion and the urge to help her. He makes her put her feet on the first rung, supporting her from below, pointing to the rung below; he descends it, slowly, and takes it to the Tiber to wash it. "'N du' enno [where are they] Argentina and Graziella?" he asks. 'It's ita a pià' `` l salt; pu 'is arvinuta; he took my daughter and flee away! [She went to get the salt; then she came back, took her daughter and they ran away] "(82).

In the alley of San Giovanni a girl cries in silence. The Nunziatina is also dead. The Nunziatina! The classmate, the classmate! It is not possible that it is no more (83).

 

In Via Cibo

Raffaele Pambuffetti arrived in the village from Colle with his wife (84), Sora Maria, who has no breath left to run, barefoot, and to invoke the name of her daughter Giovannina, asking everyone if they have seen her. Giovanna del torroncino and Carla, the same age as their daughter, reply - lying - that perhaps she is higher up, together with others. The two parents are divided in the search. She goes to call a friend, Ines (Guasticchi), to accompany her. In the square they find everything in the air: curtains, threads of light, shutters, rubble ... Sora Maria begs everyone, continuously: "Have you seen my Giovannina?". She climbs the stairs of the house in Via Cibo, where she knows that her daughter has gone to class. He claps his palms on the door at the top of the first flight of stairs, untouched. Keep calling her: "Giovannina! Giovannina!". Only the dull thud of the rubble pressing on the wood from the inside responds: together with the arch that spanned Via Mancini, the other dark staircase (88) collapsed with access from Via Mariotti, where Remigio (Tonanni) kept the trestles and pails soiled with dye (89). There the teacher and pupil remained buried (90). At the same time Giovannina's father looks for his daughter towards the Regghia (91). "Pora Cici!" Whispers Lidia (Tonanni) looking at the mountain of rubble, at the end of the Corso, who buried her friend (Cecilia Boldrini) (92).

 

 

 

 

The first care

A new chaos has taken over the agonizing silence of the instinctive first aid: orders from those who organize, pleas from those waiting for help, harrowing calls from those who are desperate. The rubble is swarming with rescuers, hiding other dead and buried alive. He still digs with his hands, looking for someone alive.

Doctor Balducci put down his camera and ran to the scene of the disaster. Aided by Memmina (Boni) (93), the pharmacist gives the first treatments among the debris of the square. Both appear desperate and upset in white coats, soiled with dust and stained with blood (94).

A wounded man - that Ricci who sells at the market on Wednesdays - staggers supported in the armpits by two rescuers; one eye dangles on his cheek (95). «The Armida de Caldaro was brought down by the Carbonari, the peasants under the nuns. She is pregnant: the time runs out in a few weeks. Just think ... she was trapped under the bombing: a bomb covered her and a bomb discovered her "(96), opening a way out for her from under the rubble near the stairs of Bruno's tailor's shop, from where he heard muffled screams coming. It is unrecognizable: the black dress has turned white; seven holes on her head trickle down as many streaks of blood onto the dust. Doctor Lupattelli, who cries: he has just separated from his fiancée, Rosanna (Ceccarelli), lifeless under the dust in front of Codovini's shop (97). Don Luigi complains, sitting outside the door of the Collegiate Church: "Help me, I have a broken leg". Everyone is deaf. They flee: white, dusty, weeping (98). "I can't escape ... I have a broken leg!" (99), he pleads. Giuseppe Rondini, the father of the guard, and Valerio (Valeriano Valeri) help him. The archpriest leans behind them; a German soldier kindly helps him. Hopping on his right leg, he reaches a carriage; with that he is transported to the Civic Hospital, where he receives the first treatments for his bleeding face and a tetanus injection. Numerous injured and dying arrive, without the Archpriest, nailed to his bed, being able to do anything for them. All the priests, after having brought first aid and administered the SS. Sacraments, reach Don Luigi, exempting him from his part of responsibility in the management of the parish (100). German soldiers are the most efficient points of support; they help transport the wounded (101) to the hospital, where the doctors - Migliorati and Valdinoci - do the impossible. There are a multitude of wounded bloody, dusty, who complain, carried on the shoulders' (102), on carts (103), on reclining chairs held on either side by two people (104). The mother of the warehouse manager, about eighty years old, Neapolitan, dragged herself there alone with one arm in tatters (105).

With the caretèlla and the horse, Giangio Ramaccioni carries the wounded Gigina, which they managed to extract from the rubble (106).

Silvana (Bartoccioli) arrives out of breath, so upset that she could not find the hospital. He asks about his sister. Doctor Sandrino Burelli signals to her that she is on the first bed of the ward, covered by a bloody sheet: she is dead, all ruined, almost unrecognizable. One leg will carry it next to the rest of the body only after a few hours (107).

Erminia also died "(108), the widow who, having come down to town from the Preggio countryside, was hit by a vehicle when the planes arrived (109).

 

 

 

 

The buried alive

Peppino (Francesco Martinelli), the accountant of Ceramics, in front of those great heaps of rubble does not know what to do. He sees one who climbs on the rubble and he too goes up. At a certain moment he hears Quadrio's voice, almost at the edge of the rubble: "I'm Quadrio, help me!". They take the dust off his face; they try to get him out, but a rod on the railing of the stairs is imprisoning him. Peppino manages, with an unrepeatable effort, to raise the railing just enough to get him out and take him to the hospital. More deeply he hears the lamentations of aunt Fernanda (110).

From other points of the crater pleadings for help rise.

Rigo and Poldo (Coletti) have stopped hoeing the cìcio in the garden; from the Palazzone farm they rushed to Fratta. They are among the first to arrive in the middle of this bedlam, in search of Mimma (Coletti), wife of uncle Astorre, who is in Pietralunga making the crossings. The situation they find is terrible: Rigo has not even seen her at the front. They spot the Mimma, who asks for help from under the rubble where she was imprisoned. They also hear the lamentations of Augusta (Orlandi), the mother of Peppabionda. They reassure those voices and begin to dig with their hands "(111).

Other signs of life emerge from the rubble nearby. Bronzone (112) recommends: "I know Feligioni ... with me there is a woman and a fiolina ...... (113). I am Cesira (Ceccagnoli) and Adriana (Fileni), who were surprised by the bombing while they were going to the nuns "'. The little girl complains: "Don't make any noise, be quiet because I want to sleep ..." (115).

Not far away, on the other side of the alley, also Peppe (Cambiotti), Lina's father-in-law, made himself heard. They identified it, buried between the third floor and the roof, on the side of Via Mancini; it remained in a niche, protected by some beams. Can't breathe; he is desperate; you want to choke (116).

 

In the Collegiate Church

The shouts, the screams and the chaotic shouting are once again fading into an ever more subdued buzz, until it becomes chilling silence as each one becomes aware of the dimension of his own misfortune. There is no strength to curse one's own pain or words to console that of others.

They carry more corpses to the Collegiate on makeshift stretchers, lining them up around the polygonal base of the church (117). The master Marsigliotti, Peppìn de Tafàno (Giuseppe Angioletti), Franco (Caldari), Alfredo (Ciarabelli) and Giovanni (Ciangottini) (118) lay down those who were lying in the square on the ground, making them slip from the shutters used for transport.

 

Thirteenth station

Jesus is taken down from the Cross

He is closed in the tomb: the light of day has become darkness.

 

An attempt is made to make room inside the church by moving the benches (119). The remains

they are placed on the floor (121) between the two doors (122).

The church of the Madonna della Reggia, protector of the town, has become the destination

of all'22: of the dead who, lined up next to each other on the floor, seem

find mutual consolation in the common agony; of the living, who hope not

discover the family member or friend among those bodies blackened by the fire, whitened by the

dust, disfigured, motionless in the last gesture to reject the end. They struggle

among the corpses especially those who have news or suspicion of the presence of the

their loved ones in the places affected (123).

Even the children come to peek, to rule out that there is in the row of corpses

someone from family, friends, acquaintances; or just out of curiosity. But

they tremble with fear! What a tragedy (124)! Someone points to the dead, all black and

smoked, whispering names, nicknames. "She is our teacher of

mathematics "tries to prove one pupil to another he cannot recognize

Virginia (Cozzari) (125).

... On the stone belt that acts as a seat / around the Church / near the door of

ponente / is seated. silent and collected the old Gaetanino ... / ... the floor

without benches / is full of dead / lying and lying in bulk, 1 some with their faces

covered with a cloth, / some girls still with wooden clogs on their feet, /

on one side there is a mother with two daughters / whom I was running after last night / on the square,

near the railway / while playing hide and seek; / and near old Esterina,

with one elbow / leaning against the altar, / weeps without comfort. / ... Those people

that I knew I are no longer there; / have already entered a world / outside mine, with

other horizons / without sunrises and sunsets (126).

 

David (Pambuffetti) meets Miss Giulia there, who lives with her family, and learns the news that her sister Giovannina cannot be found (127). People are shocked in the face of such a disaster: a woman does not even notice the chasm in front of the church (128).

A child falls into it: because of the smoke he did not see the hole as he ran towards Via Roma. He's wearing shorts. With bare legs he feels that the earth is hot (129), like the mouth of hell.

A group of barefoot kids came running from Buzzacchero to the village, but they had to go back because, when they got close to the Collegiate Church, everything is full of glass (130).

 

Aid is organized

The efforts made by the first rescuers bear the first fruits: around one o'clock the wounded still on the surface see the light again.

They extracted Elvira (Biagioli) from the rubble, which was trapped on the second floor of the Venanzia inn. He could only breathe because a niche had formed around his head under a beam. They had to work hard to free her legs, crushed by stones (131). Her husband takes her with a handcart to the hospital (132). At the same time they manage to free Peppe (Cambiotti), the farrier: he is alive, but desperate. Between her legs, entwined, they found her lifeless granddaughter Amalia (133).

Bruna (Brunori) who is next to Suntina (Selleri), the mare Lola and that of Fiordo (134), all dead, are about to take out of the rubble. He begins to breathe with difficulty because there is no air. She is injured in the head and legs; the right side of the body begins to blacken, because the blood no longer circulates. It has been under the rubble for five hours, always in the right senses and with the certainty of having to die for the mountain of rubble that overlooks it. At thirteen she is rescued by three men - one is Pretone (Bargelli) - who, helped more by their courage than by the means at their disposal, have managed to open a passage. Rescuers found her without clothing, indeed, completely naked. She is frightened, desperate, shocked by the feeling of the imminent end she has just experienced. She was left homeless and without money; in the place of Borgo San Giovanni, he sees a heap of rubble and the streets strewn with deaths and blood (135).

Shortly after, nearby, they free Rina de Schiantino (Santini), who had found herself buried with Peppino (Rapo). He held her embraced, held tight, and did not let go. She - tripping ... tripping - managed to separate. She started digging with her hands, despite some broken ribs that hurt her; she climbed onto a cart parked in the room where she is locked up. At half past two he manages to escape outside (136). His hands are bruised and his half-head hair burned from the blast of a blast (137).

A carabiniere (138) also extracts Peppino, who was not seriously injured in the head and leg; his shirt is all bloody from the wounds of his friends; they take it away from him and throw it away, so as not to impress him more than he already is (139). They take him to Ticchioni's house (140).

The general dimensions of the disaster are becoming increasingly dramatic. Everyone learns the gravity of their burden.

Lello (Raffaele Simonucci), desperate, wanders among the rubble showing everyone a flask of oil in his hand that he waves in front of him, as a sign of the bizarre fate: "It remained intact in the fall of the house that killed my wife!" . He adored her, Bengasina (141). Then, slowly, he becomes aware of acting: he begins to dig in search of his wife, helped by his brother Fernando, who came together with a friend on a bicycle from Pierantonio (142). They find their daughter's white Tyrolean sweater (143): it is a sign that they are on the right spot.

Other family members organize to dig on their own rubble, hiring workers.

Over time, the whole community gets organized. We need to focus on the points where the buried have been able to make themselves heard from the bowels of the mountains of debris.

The volunteer fire brigade team (144) went into operation. The persons authorized to access the crater for rescue are selected, making them recognizable by a yellow armband (145). Engineer Pucci, Menchino (146) does his utmost. He has always been a very emotional type in the face of death, but this disaster gives him the courage to extricate himself in a situation of enormous drama. He is connected to Smucchia (Riego Rometti), with whom he is very close, despite the fact that they are of opposite political views. They decide what to do in a standing meeting, in the open, between the sacristy of the Collegiate and the bomb pit. They run down to Ceramica (147) to get shovels and picks to add to their hands; to the fingers; to the nails. With the precious help of Primo (Giovannoni), they organize teams of excavators, gathered in a cooperative, who take away the debris with a pick, shovel and cart (148). Paris, the stonecutter, is naturally among the first to be included in the excavation teams (149). The children are assigned the task of bringing fresh water, drawing it with two jugs from the well of Baglioni, at the bottom of the Piaggiola (150). They try to find wood to build rudimentary coffins (152).

They clear some walkways in the middle of the rubble. With the tracks and trolleys of the furnace they improvise a runway on rails to transport the debris (153) from the square to the shore of the Regghia, knocking down the parapet (154).

In the allied base

In the Campo di Cutella the activity was frenetic: the move, which is in full swing, was added to the scheduled flight missions.

At eight o'clock a very large convoy left for the Sinello. Except for the vehicle with the workshop, which broke down just outside the runway, all the trucks arrived at their destination independently at eleven o'clock. The auxiliary structures have also been arranged. In the new location everyone was busy raising the curtains. They set up the kitchens and trailers on worked land. Knee-high wheat sways all around under a gentle breeze. By the end of the afternoon, everything will be ready.

The staff still to be transferred waited impatiently in the Campo di Cutella. He had to live, sleep and eat in a shack, as most of the officers' tents and equipment have already been taken away, along with the kitchen and canteen.

Lunch was regularly provided for the pilots, who returned without damage to the base, landing at exactly eleven o'clock. As soon as digested they will have to leave for another raid against the same bridge over the Tiber in Upper Umbria, which escaped the bombs of the morning: it is good to take a nap on the cots, while the mechanics check the fighter-bombers.

 

1) Giuseppe Lisetti, Renato Silvestrelli.

2) Renato Silvestrelli.

3) Dora Silvestrelli.

4) Giuseppe Lisetti.

5) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

6) Renato Silvestrelli.

7) Umberto Tommasi.

8) Francesco Martinelli.

9-10-11-12) Unpublished photos by Roberto Balducci, kindly made available by Bruno Porrozzi

13) Bruno Porrozzi, Umbertide in the images, Pro Loco Umbertide Association, 1977, p. ninety two.

14) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

15) Dina Conti.

16) Rolando Fiorucci.

17) Francesco Martinelli, Renato Silvestrelli.

18) Renato Silvestrelli.

19) Luigi Gambucci.

20) Pietro Corgnolini.

21) Rolando Fiorucci.

22) Giovanni Bottaccioli.

23) Piero Pierini.

24) Francesco Martinelli.

25) Renato Silvestrelli.

26) Clara Rapo.

27) Annunziata Caldari.

28) Elio Renzini.

29) Dina Bebi.

30) Annunziata Caldari, Clara Rapo.

31) Luigi Gambucci.

32) Assunta Baruffi, Annunziata Caldari.

33) Bruno Porrozzi.

34) Giuseppe Cozzari.

35) Don Luigi Cozzari, letter for the 1st anniversary.

36) Elisabetta Bartoccioni.

37) Domenico Mariotti.

38) Umberto Dominici.

39) Maria Luisa Rapo.

40) Elsa Caprini.

41) Elisabetta Bellarosa.

42) Franco Caldari.

43) Marinella Roselli.

44) Maria Luisa Rapo.

45) Giovanna Nanni.

46) Domenico Mariotti.

47) Emma Gagliardini.

48) Mario Barbagianni

49) Warrior Gagliardini.

50) Maria Giovannoni, manuscript of 2003.

51) Elisabetta Lisetti.

52) Franco Caldari.

53) Maria Giovannoni, manuscript of 2003.

54) Municipality of Umbertide, Report of the social-communist municipal administration on the activity carried out from 1946 to 1952, "Tiberina" Typography, Umbertide, 1952.

55) Francesco Martinelli.

56) Elvira Rossi.

57) Christmas Lisetti.

58) Franco Caldari.

59) Silvia Pitocchi and Anna Cambiotti, typescript December 16, 2003.

60) Francesco Martinelli.

61) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

62) Lidia Tonanni, Nella Gagliardini.

63) Bruno Porrozzi, Umbertide in the images, Pro Loco Umbertide Association, 1977, p. 94.

64) Franco Caldari.

65) Pompeo Selleri.

66) Ornella Duranti.

67) Franco Anastasi.

68) Dina Batazzi, Bruno Porrozzi.

69) Franco Anastasi.

70) Mario Migliorati.

71) Pompeo Selleri.

72) Linda Micucci.

73) Vittorio Giornelli, Franco Villarini.

74) Annunziata Caldari.

75) Maria Pia Viglino.

76) Velia Nanni.

77) Assunta Baruffi.

78) Gianna Feligioni.

79) Silvia Pitocchi and Anna Cambiotti, typescript December 16, 2003.

80) Concetta Mariotti.

81) Adriano Bottaccioli.

82) Paolo Mazzanti.

83) Marcella Casi.

84) Giovanna Mancini.

85) Bruno Porrozzi, Umbertide and its territory, Pro Loco Umbertide Association, 1983, p. 74.

86) Photo by Roberto Balducci, kindly made available by Bruno Porrozzi. The first is published in Umbertide and its territory, Associazione Pro Loco Umbertide, 1983, p. 75; the other two are unpublished.

87) Unpublished photo by Roberto Balducci, kindly made available by Bruno Porrozzi.

88) Ines Guasticchi.

89) Renato Silvestrelli.

90) Ines Guasticchi.

91) Ines Biti.

92) Lidia Tonanni.

93) Lidia Corradi.

94) Francesco Martinelli, Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

95) Ornella Duranti.

96) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 5th, 1994.

97) Anna Caldari.

98) Annunziata Caldari.

99) Giovanna Nanni.

100) Don Luigi Cozzari, letter for the 1st anniversary.

101) Mario Barbagianni, Orlando Bucaioni, Renato Silvestrelli.

102) Sirio Lisetti.

103) Piera Bruni.

104) Domenico Mariotti.

105) Elvira Rossi.

106) Franco Mischianti.

107) Silvana Bartoccioli.

108) Victim: Letizia Santini.

109) Sergio Batazzi.

110) Francesco Martinelli.

111) Rina Alunno Violins.

112) Ines Guasticchi.

113) Warrior Boldrini.

114) Francesco Martinelli.

115) Ines Guasticchi.

116) Silvia Pitocchi and Anna Cambiotti, typescript December 16, 2003.

117) Fabrizio Boldrini.

118) Franco Caldari.

119) Elisabetta Bartoccioni.

120) Leonello Galina.

121) Fabrizio Boldrini.

122) Franco Mischianti.

123) Irma Mariotti, interview collected by Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

124) Renato Silvestrelli.

125) Sergio Ceccacci.

126) Olimpio Ciarapica, from a poem of 1952.

127) Bruno Tarragoni Alumni.

128) Assunta Baruffi.

129) Leonello Corbucci.

130) Fernando Zucchini.

131) Walter Biagioli.

132) Giorgio Pacciarini.

133) Silvia Pitocchi and Anna Cambiotti, typescript December 16, 2003.

134) Giancarlo Guasticchi.

135) Bruna Brunori, testimony collected by his nephew Matteo - 5th grade - 1985.

136) Rina Santini.

137) Renata Santini.

138) Giuseppe Rapo.

139) Clara Rapo.

140) Lea Rapo.

141) Betto Guardabassi.

142) Mario Simonucci.

143) Elisa Manarini.

144) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

145) Ornella Duranti.

146) In Gagliardini.

147) Renato Silvestrelli.

148) Elisabetta Bartoccioni.

149) Raffaele Martini.

150) Mario Migliorati.

151) PRO, London, Operation Record Book, War diary, n ° 5 squadron SAAF, 1944. Taken from: Mario Tosti (curator), Belli Lavori !, Comune di Umbertide, 1995, p. 48.

152) Elisabetta Bartoccioni.

153) Raffaele Martini.

154) Betto Guardabassi.

155) Archive of the Foggia Modeling and Historical Research Group.

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FROM THE SURROUNDINGS

 

From the amphitheater of the hills that slope down towards the valley, people witnessed the tragedy in dismay. Paradoxically, the conscious terror of those who have seen from afar had the aggravating circumstance of rationality compared to the ancestral one of those who, directly involved, did not understand anything (1).

The news of the disaster spread in a flash to nearby towns and cities.

The shock of impotence is replaced by the instinct of solidarity with the wounded country. Aid is being organized from various parts.

 

From Monte Acuto

The deaf outbursts, which however made the earth tremble, surprised the kids who were running towards the top of the top of the Valcinella, to better see the show. They saw the planes persistently stubbornly, throwing their load of dark objects which, upon touching the ground, emitted tongues of fire and raised enormous columns of blackish smoke. After a few seconds, the burst. Now Umbertide is no longer seen: he drowns in a sea of smoke (2).

Below them, in Polgeto, the Travaglini teacher had let all the pupils out of elementary school: they went down to the fields of Zeppulino, they saw the planes that began the dive and then dropped the bombs. "Oh my God, they are dropping falls'ji ovi!", Exclaimed one of the companions. They only heard the explosions, without seeing the houses where the bombs exploded (3).

 

From the Arcelle

A child was gathering strips of dark silver paper across the fields, which had rained down from the sky. He had made a bunch of them when the planes had appeared above the Arcelle, circling behind Montacuto and reappearing, in a circle, one behind the other (4).

 

From Niccone

Niccone had heard a bang followed by a rumble that never stopped. Mario (Tacconi), a little boy, ran towards the terrace and saw the devices that buzzed, glittering from time to time. After a few seconds, one of them lowered and disappeared behind Montalto; a few seconds ... and saw a silent mushroom rise from Umbertide, higher and higher; after a few moments, he heard a roar like the one just before. Meanwhile the plane was re-entering formation following the others, who had continued to turn in the carousel until they left, disappearing towards Montecorona (5). Here they are called Picchiatelli, with the same nickname given to Junker 87. A1 Niccone no distinctions are made: every killing machine is "hit on the head".

Marcello (Milleri) didn't go to school either. From the hills above the Niccone, sheltered behind an old walnut tree, he witnessed the same scene: he continually turned around the trunk so as to remain covered with respect to the planes, which barely peeked with one eye for the sensation that they were pointing towards him.

Pietro (Migliorati), having left the farm "Fondeo", (formerly called "Cavaliere Secondo"), was passing by bicycle, on his way to Fratta to have the sheet of a four-day license signed by the "Servizio del Lavoro" by the Carabinieri marshal. of Perugia. At the sound of the planes, he threw himself into a ditch. Terrified by the explosions, he remained in his hiding place for a couple of hours (6).

 

From Trestina

From Trestina they saw the planes lower behind Montalto and a cloud of smoke rising above Umbertide, amidst distant thunder (7).

 

From Città di Castello

Despite the confusion of the wards, even the hospitalized in the civil hospital of Città di Castello that the Germans have requisitioned, have heard the noise of nearby planes, in successive waves.

The news ran quickly: "They bombed Umbertide". But they are inaccurate news; there are no communications.

In the hospital we prepare to welcome the wounded, thinking, very naively, that they can be transported by some means. It is difficult to remember that there are none. The German medical officers, impassive, let it be done. They probably already know about the massacre (8).

As the details are known, the dimensions of the disaster are perceived. The rumors spread in a flash.

It made a particular impression that among the victims there is Amleto B Anelli, son of Ersilia, sister of Ciliberti, a brother-in-law of Venanzio Gabriotti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The firefighters immediately left for Umbertide to bring help (9). In their midst they loaded Sandra del Sellaro (Cecchetti) who had gone to talk to the teachers to hear how her granddaughter is doing at school (10). Aunt and nephew are desperate because people say they bombed the Tiber bridge. Their family lives in the immediate vicinity.

"Suddenly a captain, the commander of the hospital, approaches the Inspector Sister Malwida Montemaggi, who had been forced into service together with other volunteer nurses of the Red Cross:" Two of you have to come with us for an external mission ". Mother Veronica has the service bags filled with dressing material, secretly. A German ambulance is expected. Not even a word about the destination, but it is obvious that it is Umbertide.

Sitting on the body of the truck used as an ambulance, next to two German soldiers - another is driving - they never spoke during the journey, incredible for the situation of the roads and for the fear of other incursions. They are in sight of the country. Umbertide is wrapped as in a cloud of dust; the tragedy is legible even from a distance. Houses gutted, so as not to remember that they may have been homes. Umbertide is dead. The soldiers descend on the square of the Collegiata and signal the Red Cross women to enter; they stay out. The volunteers find, lined up within the beautiful church, the dead, who seem solemnly ready for a last appeal. Unreal that so many have reached the terrifying appointment together.

Some bodies are torn apart; others seem to sleep; many still have terror in their eyes. A cold, great silence that remains inside. Everything happens in hints, without words; also the acknowledgments, the prayers.

The people of Umbertide feel the weight of every word and that excruciating silence is pride, it is anger, it is a complete way of expressing oneself that establishes a kind of kinship with each one, an indelible affection.

The two Red Cross nurses can do little: better recompose the dead, lower the eyelids of those who have seen death. They decide with a glance that it is right to leave them with their arms stretched out at their sides, in the pride of the "attentive", without placing their hands on the abdomen, in the resigned posture of someone who has expired by natural death.

We embrace the survivors without speaking. Those lines of dead, that untranslatable silence is the only important thing "(11).

A group of Black Shirts arrived on the train from Castello, including several people from Umbria. They have placed a small machine gun pointing it towards the straight, at the corner of Villa Zampa: perhaps they want to shoot the flies (12)! Private individuals also got organized: a team of volunteers led by Angelo Baldelli left to help Umbertide (13).

 

From Montone

Montone has stopped.

In the fields they were hoeing maize, when the terrible scene of the planes in the distance, towards Montaguto, presented itself. At times you could see the glint reflected by the sun of the falling bombs; then the explosion and the rising smoke, dominated by the dull noise of the engines (14).

“In elementary school they were all in the classroom. The teacher Gina (Gallicchi) had begun to correct the homework; they were practicing on the blackboard, when suddenly they heard people outside shouting in the streets: "Bombard Umbertide! ... Bombard Umbertide!".

They all stood up; frightened, they left by heading along the road from where the martyred town could be seen. But looking down, Umbertide could no longer be seen: only rumblings could be heard. A thick cloud of dust had covered everything.

At that sight the teacher and her family were desperate for the fate of their loved ones. Vilma, his niece, has begun to cry: she wants to go home, worried about her uncle Tomassino who, paralyzed from birth, will not be able to flee in the three-wheeled wheelchair and save himself. Some children have fled to their homes; the others, accompanied by their parents who came to pick them up, also left. There is no one left in the school "(15).

The seminarians, who had been transferred from Città di Castello to Montone a few weeks after a bombing in the Tifernate, were carrying out the test in French class when the noise of the bombers was heard. Someone yelled: "Run away! ... Go outside! ... They bomb Umbertide!". The seminarians ran to the square of the nuns, under the trees. Leaning against the wall, they witnessed the terrible scene: the dive, the bombs, the blaze, the plane going up, the fumaràa that swelled. Now it seems that all of Umbertide is on fire (16)!

«From the Capuchin convent, the marshal's son was going straight down to Poder Grande, down below, almost on the plain, passing through Treppiedi, then Valbonella, Capeccio. In one hand he was holding the small saucepan for milk that he fetches from a friendly family every morning; in the other an anthology of Italian: perhaps, even if schools have been closed everywhere, there should be an exam session for privatists, if not at the end of June, at the beginning of next October. He trotted happily towards his goal, behind the wooded hill of the convent; in front and below, a few kilometers away, the plain where the Tiber flows and Umbertide lies, both hidden by small hills. He was walking along a short plateau, almost a terrace overlooking the landscape, with a farmhouse.

The Italian anthology was open to a poem he was reviewing: "La Caduta" by Giuseppe Parini. He was repeating the beginning from memory: "When Orion from the sky declining rages / and rain and snow and frost / over the darkened earth pours ...".

He hadn't paid much attention to a buzz of planes hovering high up: these days it's an everyday thing. Lifting their heads from the book, the planes, as small as midges, continued to spin in the sky, intertwining with each other as if they were playing. He had kept going when ... when a terrible crash had hit him, and it had reverberated throughout the valley. The first thought was: two planes collided in their circle. But, a moment later, the truth: a dense column of black smoke had risen from behind those last ridges, right where Umbertide stands. At the same time one of those "gnats", suddenly enlarged, had descended to 45 degrees towards the point from which the column of black smoke had risen; a wheelie to get back up and left behind another terrible crash, with a second column of thick smoke. Even the farmer had gone out to see and the truth had imposed itself in all its tragedy: they were bombing Umbertide! The thought followed immediately, terrible: Dad was there. The boy had turned around, arriving breathless at the convent; Everyone was looking out of the window looking towards the town, Realino, Sora Assunta, the others and ... the mother, in tears: "Giulio, and dad?". He had grabbed a woman's bicycle and found them and off! Down to Umbertide with his heart in his throat and with nothing else in mind but his father. He went down the hairpin bends at speeds he will no longer reach on a velocipede; then the straight road, Santa Maria da Sette, after which there are the first houses of Umbertide, a suburb of Santa Maria. He ran into a schoolmate, Lucio Corbucci, who was hurrying in the opposite direction, moving away from the town: "What a mess!" she did, spreading her arms, with her usual smile on her blond face.

With his heart in his throat he arrived at the square of the Collegiata, where a huge crater scattered around with debris appeared before him. Imperturbable, in the same posture as always, calm and peaceful as it was to see him every day and in the same spot, the elderly Mr. Reggiani, who immediately addressed him in a calm tone: "Your father is fine, go, he's there in the square".

He has rushed: one side of the square, the left one coming from the Collegiate Church, is gone, horribly transformed into a mountain of debris that has "replaced" it. Her father and a municipal guard are bent over a female body that lies prone, or rather, on half of that body, skirts raised, thighs dusty; the other half, from the waist up, is under the debris mountain. He recognizes her by her features: she is Virginia, the math student. "Go up, go to your mother" - the father tells him, raising his head slightly - tell her that I'm fine and that I will arrive as soon as I can »(17).

 

From Faldo

Gino de Bufala (Cartucci) and Guido (Caseti) were weeding the tobacco planter near the mouth of the Carpina, when they saw smoke and mattresses flying up from the historic center of Fratta (18).

 

From Corlo

When the planes arrived, they worked the corn with the animals. They saw that they were dropping something. Bruno's cousin, the tailor, shouted that they were bombs and started to cry, because he saw that they had fallen in the area near the bridge. Just in those moments Bruno was dying (19).

 

From San Benedetto

Maria (Capoccetti) was preparing the white flour cake for the breakfast of her parents who worked in the fields near Righino, above Bertanzi. When he heard the explosions he knew they were bombing. Then, barefoot, she rushed towards the valley to see the fate that had befallen her relatives (20). At the San Lorenzo farm, in the parish of the Collegiata, towards San Benedetto, they were baking bread when the noise of the bombs paralyzed everyone. Then, who fled here, who there: the bread was burned (21).

From the Zeppolotto farm on the hills above San Benedetto, Nello - one of the youngest of the group of partisans of San Faustino - witnessed the bombing, immobile and powerless (22).

 

From Civitella

Bruno - he is 6 years old - was parrying the sheep on the hill below Civitella, in the Polenzano farm, when the red-faced fighter-bombers flew over him. He saw that they dropped something: to him too they looked like goose eggs which, however, when they fell on the village, raised a black smoke.

When they finished, the fun stopped for him.

After a while his parents came, crying in despair, to take him home. The little shepherd couldn't understand why they were so desperate. Nothing better could have happened to him: he had avoided spending a day alone with the sheep. For those animals, on the contrary, it really went wrong: they have to be satisfied with a little hay, inside the sheepfold (23).

 

From Pietralunga

The piercing scream of the engines pushed to the maximum and then the dark roar of the explosions repeated by the echo, down in the valleys, was a sign of death for the boys in the bush in Pietralunga: "They certainly bomb Umbertide", they thought (24).

In Giglioni, in the Pietralunga area, they still don't know anything. The procession on the day of the rogations is parading behind Don Ivo (Andreani); the songs repeat the ancient invocations for the success of sowing and harvests, which on the occasion are above all pleas for a return to normality. In the morning the peasants placed crosses on the wheat fields: a reed stuck on the ground; on the top a split, with the flat leaf of the iris and a few ears of corn from the previous harvest stuck horizontally - to form a cross. Suddenly the news spreads with a buzz, along the double line of faithful, disturbing the monotony of the litanies: "Umbertide was fatally wounded ... It was a disaster ... the people at the Post Office are all dead ... ". The voice fades around Angelica, the teacher sister of Menco de Trivilino (Domenico Baldoni), a postal employee, on whom furtive glances of commiseration are concentrated (25). The sad singing of the litanies resumes with the usual rhythm and volume: "A plague, hunger and beautiful ... free nos, Domine! ... A sudden and sudden death, free nos, Domine! ...". Unfortunately, the opposite is happening: the Lord has not managed to free the world from disease, hunger, war, ... from sudden death. In Umbertide, dozens of people lost their lives in the blink of an eye, just a few hours ago, for no reason other than the absurd one of the war.

Fortunately, the faithful in procession do not understand the meaning of their prayers, otherwise they could doubt the will of the Eternal Father. But He understands and shares the plea, so much so that He made the Son die on Calvary to change the foolish behavior of humanity. They are the final recipients of the prayer - the powerful of the world - who do not know Latin or pretend not to understand it.

From the mountains of Pietralunga, where they had seen the planes turn over Umbertide and heard the blows of the bombs, a group of partisans of the Cairocchi battalion, near the San Faustino Brigade, immediately went down to the valley. Led by Deputy Commander Rossi, 26, they help collect the dead to take them to the Collegiate Church and the wounded to the hospital (26). They did not risk little, as the republican carabinieri of Umbertide and Castello were around.

Still from Pietralunga, just over an hour after the bombing, another truck of rescuers arrived: seven or eight men with shovels and picks, led by Gildo Melgradi, began to dig in the rubble (27).

 

From Gubbio

The Bishop, Beniamino Ubaldi, hearing the news, immediately applied the Holy Mass for the victims of the bombing (28).

In the seminary in Gubbio, in the interval between one lesson and another, they had noticed planes in the direction of Monte Acuto, which were circling threateningly in the sky area presumably above Umbertide, hidden from their view by the hills to the right of the Assino. Shortly after, the succession of the dark thunder of the bombs announced the tragedy that was sweeping the country.

Now it is confirmed on the streets of Gubbio, where the population has poured in dismay. Two seminarians, Pietrino (Pietro Bottaccioli) and Romano (Children) joined the other Umbertide students who attend the Gubbio schools, to return home by train (29).

Peppino del Sellaro (Cecchetti) was also in master's classes. Vincenzo (Fiorucci) had taken him for lunch at his house, in Madonna del Ponte, with an excuse: "Let's have a birthday". After lunch, returning to Gubbio, he slowly revealed to him that they had bombed the bridge at Umbertide. In Corso Garibaldi they found a huge crowd talking about the disaster. Peppino's companions arrived with great excitement: he learned that the most affected part of the town was near the bridge and began to cry, because his parents live in that area. His friends console him, including Gastone (Romanelli). They organize a collection, for the eventuality that, returning home, they do not find anyone; the proceeds are given to him by Franco (Belardi), of the Colonni family, owner of the Cementificio Marna (30).

 

From the Assino Valley

For the jolt at the first roar, the Iliad had fallen from the hands of Dina (Conti), a girl who, in Pian d'Assino, was preparing for the afternoon school shift (31).

The teacher Checca (Fornaci) had sent all the pupils out, sending them under the bridge of the "Apennines". The most curious - Sirio and Japan - had gone to the top of the little patch. Seeing these black dicks fall, they thought it was a joke; they knew nothing that bombings exist (32).

Maria (Ines Montanucci) was mowing the grass along a small road. Realizing the danger, she picked up her little son who was playing nearby and threw herself into the nearest shelter (33).

Then, all the people went up to the hill, from where Umbertide was discovered: the smoke, which had risen like a cloud from many parts, spread everywhere, hiding the town from view (34).

Peppe (Cardinali) watched from behind the oak trunk of the mill beyond the Assino (35). From Montelovesco they heard the thunder of the bombs coming from Umbertide and they saw the smoke dome getting bigger and bigger (36). The mass for the blessing of the crosses had just ended in Camporeggiano. The people in the churchyard saw the planes, the turns, the smoke, but did not hear any noise, shielded by the row of hills towards the Fratta. The cloak of silence made the vision of the apocalypse even more unreal (37).

 

From Pierantonio

Maestro Federico Giappichelli was returning from Civitella d'Arno. As soon as the train left Pierantonio, there was an alarm because planes threatened to bomb Umbertide. They all got out and scattered across the fields. They heard the roars: a hell of a lot. The train left around noon. The teacher got off at the station; he went to take the bicycle he had left at the Pambuffettis, where he goes every Wednesday to buy goods for the shop in Lisciano Niccone. He arrived home at three in the afternoon, exhausted and frightened (39).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Collestrada

Renato (Codovini), with all the people from Umberto who joined the "Labor Service", was able to distinctly hear the thunder of bombs exploding from there (40).

 

From Perugia

The news has arrived in Perugia: the city is full of tension and emotion. Several people are in tears (41).

 

1) Dina Bebi.

2) Mario Bartocci, manuscript from 1986.

3) Elio Baldacci.

4) Giovanni Maria Bico.

5) Mario Tacconi.

6) Class III A, Mavarelli-Pascoli State Middle School, Grandfather, tell me about the war, 2004. Testimony of Pietro Migliorati.

7) Alda Pieroni.

8) Eliana Pirazzoli, manuscript from 1986.

9) Alvaro Tacchini (curator), Venanzio Gabriotti - Diary, Institute of History and Social Policy Venanzio Gabriotti, Petruzzi Editore, Città di Castello, 1998, pp. 192, 193.

10) Sandra Cecchetti.

11) Eliana Pirazzoli, manuscript from 1986.

12) Renato Silvestrelli.

13) Francesco Martinelli.

14) Giuliano Cappanna.

15) Gina Gallicchi, manuscript of 1995.

16) Luigi Braconi.

17) Giulio Onnis, typescript December 16, 2002.

18) Guido Caseti.

19) Lina Pippolini.

20) Maria Capoccetti.

21) Dina Lucchetti.

22) Leonello Galina.

23) Bruno Mastriforti.

24) Raffaele Mancini, ... At midnight we bet on the rising of the sun ..., Nuova Prhomos Editions, Città di Castello, 1993, p. 67.

25) Angelica Baldoni.

26) Mario Rossi.

27) Luigi Carlini.

28) Beniamino Ubaldi, bishop of Gubbio, letter of 6 May 1944 to the Salesians.

29) Pietro Bottaccioli.

30) Giuseppe Cecchetti.

Gastone Romanelli, after a few weeks, will find death among the 40 Martyrs. Cementificio Marna will become Barbetti.

31) Dina Conti.

32) Sirio Lisetti.

33) Class III A, Mavarelli-Pascoli State Middle School, Grandfather, tell me about the war, 2004. Testimony of Maria Montanucci.

34) Dina Conti.

35) Giuseppe Cardinali.

36) Amelia Picciolli.

37) Francesco Silvestri.

38) Frames taken from: From Rome to Trasimeno: the liberation of '44, Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation. The images are owned by the Imperial War Museum.

39) Federico Giappichelli.

40) Renato Codovini.

41) Betto Guardabassi.

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THE TRAGEDY WAS WORN

 

Solidarity and selfishness

Solidarity, reinvigorated by despair or by the narrow escape, pervades the wounded community: we help each other, we are consoled, we are encouraged. The houses, the pantries are opened; beds are made up under every roof. Outraged humanity responds compactly to the inhumanity of violence.

Aldo Burelli had been surprised by the bombs while he was delivering a preparation for the slaves. His son Sandrino, a pharmacist like his father, went to the house of the Gonfiacani, in Via Roma, where his parents are; but when he realizes the disaster and the wounded who are being taken to the hospital, he immediately goes there to bring help (2). Anyone who has ascertained the fate of his parents helps to dig, to bring the wounded to the hospital and the corpses to church.

There are also those who are thinking of taking advantage of the misfortune of others: the jackals have already set in motion, filling bales of stuff (3).

The dismay at such impudence has created a kind of collective psychosis that favors the spread of rumors that seem unlikely or, at least, exaggerated.

Someone even claims to have seen the faiths parade from the corpses in the Collegiate Church. We don't want to believe it.

The rumor has spread that "black shirts", coming from outside, have grabbed the destroyed houses. A soldier would have taken several gold jewels: from the discussion with another to divide them, one of the two would have been killed (4). It is only to be hoped that they are all rumors without foundation.

 

Family groups try to get together

From the stables of Andrea del Sellaro (Cecchetti) along the Regghia, Guerriero de l'Elena (Boldrini) had escaped turning towards San Francesco, because the Corso was immersed in a tide of dust. At the Arco di Piandana he met Giorgio (Bruni), a friend, close to a group of Neapolitan evacuees who were reciting the Ave Maria. He continued towards the Tiber where he saw his mother, who had gone to wash. Passing through the house, they find grandfather Nìcole in front of its rubble, all white with dust: he had been trapped in the entrance of the house in front of Ferruccio, together with others, including Remigio (5). The latter, being very slender, had managed to find a passage through the hole opened by another bomb, widening it just enough to allow the old de Paris (Miccioni) and Nìcole to pass too (6).

After a while Brizio (Boldrini) arrives, Guerriero's brother. Crossing the mountain of stones, with his heart in his throat, he turns towards his house: it is no longer there. Sitting on a stone, all white with dust, grandfather Nìcole is waiting for him: he cries, tears run down his face. She helps him up, hugs him. His grandfather whispered to him: "Mother and Warrior are fine, they are waiting for us at their uncle's house (7).

Orlando (Bucaioni), Brizio's neighbor, ran towards the town, after having abandoned cane and frogs. After crossing the same hill, he runs towards Piazza San Francesco without even looking back to check the state of his house: he is told that his mother has gone towards the Caminella. From her, when he finds her, he knows that the house is destroyed and that his father is certainly dead, because he has left him in the kitchen to have breakfast (8).

Commissioner Ramaccioni wanders around the heap of rubble, who immediately went back down to the village, after having reassured himself of the conditions of his family in his villa on the slopes of Romeggio. He took his wife with him, known in the village as "the young lady" to distinguish her from her mother, "the lady". He wants to realize the disaster and bring help; the dismay and concern are magnified by the thought of the cursed siren that he failed to sound.

People, when they see them, rant. Elena de Bartulino swears (9). Her husband, on top of the mound with his arms raised to the sky, yells: "Cowards ... cowards !!" (10). But immediately the urge to dig prevails.

Pia (Gagliardini) arrives to ascertain the fate of her mother and sister who were in the shop on the Corso; Gino (Sonaglia) tries to block her and take her away, because it is dangerous, but to no avail (11).

The smoke above the place where loved ones presumably were is a dramatic clue for those who are worried about resolving the most dramatic doubt: the death or the life of a family member. For everything else, the strength will be found.

Nino (Egidio Grassini) had gone with his father to the tobacco factory, where his mother worked. It looked as if the building had been hit, for it was overhung by a huge cloud of dust; instead it was the cloud that had risen above the historic center, moved over there by a slime from the north wind. They find their mother unharmed; all together they make bundles and evacuate to San Benedetto (12).

From Caldarelli, the farmer in front of Peppoletta, Franco (Villarini) embraces his father who is crying, because he has seen columns of smoke rising from Schiupitìno, near his house; Zerullo (Luigi Ceccarelli) consoles him who still does not know that he has lost his wife and two daughters: his whole family (13).

The same black mushroom is near the house of Sor Guidi who immediately ran towards the Regghia to track down his sister-in-law; his son Walter also came to pick up his aunt Checchina (14).

Margherita (Tosti), putting her head out of Secondo's stable, believed that the thick smoke towards the village was right above her house. She ran in that direction. Fortunately, immediately after, at the beginning of the Fornacino embankment, he met his father with his almost two-year-old brother riding over his shoulder (15).

... To flee clinging to / from a desperate head / to wander in search of survivors, / of a useless survival ... (16).

As soon as the Margherita sees them - they are alive! - throws the satchel into a ditch, announcing that he will no longer go to school (17). He continues with them towards the patollo, together with his uncles. Someone calls and looks for relatives, while the first news of deaths arrives. The father, already desperate on his own because he lost his wife two months earlier, repeats to everyone he meets, horrified and anguished: "Beautiful works! Beautiful works!" (18).

Gigino (Vestrelli), in search of his wife Giuditta, is upset because he is convinced that it is the poor woman who died in the square, which is actually Virginia (Cozzari). Instead he finds it on the Tiber, among a group of people who ask if they have seen it; she does not realize that she is among them, but completely unrecognizable, so much is she upset and dusty (19).

Eva (Rondoni) ran down to the Tiber to see if the nuns' house had gone down. He takes his daughters and Anna de Caldari, the daughter of Armida, who stands door to door.

Her husband Peppino went up to the workshop, but he couldn't find the children. Alberto was in the square, where he saw Virginia de Cozzari die, the Bebi ...; thanks be to God he saved himself from Bertanzi. The other smaller male, Pompeo, is hiding near the workshop. Peppino returned to his wife on the Tiber. He whistles in the usual way to track her down. When Eva hears him and sees that he is alone, she removes the desperation by intimating: 'I fioli du enno? [the children where are they?] He didn't win '[don't come] down without threads! You go as you please [take] the threads and bring them down "(20).

The Nunziatina de Saltafinestre (Bucatelli) is still trying to track down her mother vegetable garden; Marshal Onnis - who knows her well - asks her what she is doing there, in the midst of that disaster. She replies that she is looking for her mother. The Commissioner, who is with the marshal, tells her - without any caution - that if she is dead he will find her in church. At which, the marshal is very worried (21).

Another gardener, Annetta, reappears to her husband and daughter, in despair: she is unrecognizable, although she is shocked and covered with dust. They really recognize her from varicose veins. They go towards the Collegiate Church, where Senta Reggiani tries to alarm everyone by shouting: "Go ... go! Go away, because they come back!" (22).

«Many people continue to go up the course of the Regghia; who screams, who cries, who curses; but no one says anything to little Luciana de Zúmbola, who tries to clean her knees, hands and nose, injured by a fall; she cannot understand what happened; it stops on the escarpment of the stream and waits for an infinity of time. At one point he sees his father Gino advancing on the small road, riding his black "Legnano". When he sees her, he jumps off the bicycle, picks her up and holds her tightly; a hug that Luciana will never forget! She doesn't look at him, but hears him crying. They sit on the edge of the field and remain embraced for a long time: she feels she is safe! After recovering a little, the father begins to ask people he knows if they have seen his wife and mother; having no news, he decides to go home. Leave the daughter to acquaintances. After a while he comes back with something to eat, which he has taken from the house. But he found neither his wife nor his mother, nor his youngest son: he is distraught, because he knew where the bombs fell. Try to get your daughter to eat something; then he decides to go even further. When I am under Viuliuo - the farmhouse on the hill - on the field that descends towards the Regghia, Luciana sees the figure of her grandmother with Enzo, her little brother in her arms: she calls her loudly, but her father has already gone off like a rocket. He crossed the stream and in a moment he is on the other side. Zùmbola takes her mother in her arms who, in turn, has her little grandson in her arms: a human bunch "(23). Elisa (Pucci), with her inseparable white towel over her shoulders, stopped on the cypress road: she must retrace her steps, as her first instinctive desire would have been, to return home to the "tree-lined" where 'is Franco, the son of a few months (24). He finds him with Giuditta (Alunni), who has brought him to safety.

In Via Spoletini, at the nuns' school, the nuns hand over their children to their parents who gradually present themselves with an excited and weeping voice.

Guerriero Corradi, who found it difficult to get out of the photographer's shop in Via Cibo, passes in front of the school on his way to the next door, where he lives. "It's all a ruin," he keeps repeating as in a chant. It proceeds in the middle of a river of weeping and lost people (25).

In the house opposite, Giovannino (Migliorati) found his desperate people, because they do not know where his sister Maria is, who went to the Quadrio oven (26). Sora Maria (Pambuffetti), a neighbor, with the vain hope that her daughter Giovannina has already returned from class, arrives in a hurry - bare feet returning to the dust (27). She is exhausted. He continued to wander all the streets, begging for news. Everyone replied in a vague way, without the courage to take away her hope: "I seem to have seen you run away with Gina..." (28). She sits outside, desperate, under the window sill on the ground floor, with her fingers clinging to the fly protection net: she cries silently (29).

At that moment the daughter of the Migliorati appears, Maria; she is so contracted that she cannot release her hand on the handle of the leather bag with which she had gone to buy the preserve two hours earlier (30).

Giovannino (Duranti) was taken by the hand by Baldo (Ubaldo Morelli), a work colleague of his father, who returns him to his parents on the Tiber near Taschino, where a flood of people has gathered (31).

Count Ranieri took over Fausto (Fagioli), with red hair, who lost his mother and sister. He takes him to the Castle of Civitella, seat of the German command (32), where a cousin of the child's mother, recently orphaned, helps in the kitchen (33). Long-term kinship with a maid is sufficient for solidarity.

Under the hill of Civitella, Mariolina and Lea (Rapo), after escaping from under the bed, reunited with their grandmother, who had been surprised by the bombing under the Tiber bridge and had brought the clothes with the cart to the cellar of Camillo, hiding them under the barrels (34).

Peppino (Lisetti), the shoemaker, returned home to Pian d'Assino and found everyone in great agitation, because the rumor had spread that "Peppino de Montecorona" had remained under the bombing; but they did not know if it was he or Giuseppe Pierini della Badia, the barber's boy Galeno, who really died. Someone notices that the little shoemaker is bleeding from his left leg: he hasn't even noticed that a seed, one of the longest ones, has stuck between the two bones of the leg, letting out only the head (35).

Dina (Bebi) had taken refuge in the Lazzaro ditch. When her father found her, he confessed that her cousins, from whom she had recently separated, were dead. Together they went to the Marro, as agreed in the event of a bombing. The hosts welcomed everyone with great hospitality, making Sora Teresa, mother of Dina lie down on the bed. After a while, Peppe (Chicchioni) arrives, the boyfriend, who had gone back to Pierantonio, having heard the rumors about Umbertide. They hug: it is an opportunity to overcome the small disagreements that had shaken their bond (36). Oddly enough, bombs can also have pleasant side effects, for once: they strengthen love!

Silvano (Bernacchi), who miraculously escaped the collapse that devastated his grandparents, is rescued by Doctor Porrozzi, who leads him to his home near the iron bridge of the Rio. The little boy is slightly injured. They meet the teacher Dino (Bernacchi), the father, who, having seen the planes and the smoke on Umbertide, had delivered the children and headed home by bicycle. But he does not recognize Silvano, until the doctor tells him: "Your son is here!" (37).

 

Unfortunately, not all of them manage to reunite.

Peppino (Baiocco), who had escaped to Piaggiola, set out to look for his mother and sister. She finds her mother with her cousin Franco (Mischianti); no trace of his sister and a tragic presentiment (38).

Gigetto de la Posta (Luigi Gambucci) had tracked down his mother and sister to the nuns. Father Baldo was neither at home, where someone had seen him pass, nor with them; then he made them wait, assuring her that he would go looking for him. It goes towards the square from the Collegiata. He glimpses Virginia on the ground at the corner of Via Stella. Aldo Zurli stops him as he senses the reason for his wandering. He points to his father, after having accompanied him for a few steps: he is on the ground in the square, dead, just around the corner, towards the arches of the priest (39). Even Tittina (Fiorucci), around two o'clock, learned that her mother was dead: they found her on the step of the shop, with a cross beam that suffocated her. They take her to the cemetery with a cart (40).

Lina (Silvia Cambiotti), with her mother, had gone to the Collegiate to see if her daughter and in-laws were there.

No trace of the daughter among those poor bodies. Suddenly, the tremendous confirmation that Amalia is dead. They tell her that they took her away: she would have found her in the cemetery. In fact, the corpses from the Collegiate Church carry them away as they arrive, because they no longer have anything to do with it: carts full of bodies, one on top of the other, tied with ropes.

Torn by desperation, Lina drags herself with her mother to the cemetery. In the church he throws himself on his Amalia, who he immediately recognizes in the midst of so many bodies lying on the floor: it is the end. All the unbearable cold, suffered in the glassless house in San Cassiano to keep her daughter safe, did nothing. He led her to die in the house in Via Mancini, after making her struggle unnecessarily. All in vain: so many sacrifices for nothing!

She seems to recognize the mother-in-law in one of the other corpses. When in doubt he has to open her mouth to see if she is toothless like Marianna. She has all her teeth: it's not her.

She picks up her daughter, with the head resting on her neck. On foot, she heads to Montecastelli, accompanied by her mother. He wants to bury her in the cemetery near his parents 'house: "So much as a mo' Moor [now I'm dying] too!", He thinks. They continually switch over to each other to bring that lifeless little body. They cross the Tiber with Carosciolo's boat in an unreal silence: no words, only the drops of the oars dripping on the river, like tears. Moored on the other bank, they proceed across the fields towards Montecastelli (41).

 

The instinct for normality resurfaces

The cloud of dust has not completely dissolved, which resurfaces in people who have not been affected in the closest affections the instinct to continue, despite everything.

Life goes on.

At the bottom of the Piaggiola, as soon as you begin to see something again, a woman sweeps in front of the house; Aldo (Fiorucci), her son, takes her by the arm and convinces her to flee towards Roccolo, which her father had established as a meeting point in the event of a bombing4 (42).

Giovanna del torroncino (Mancini) and Carla have lost their orientation a little and are returning to the Tiberina, almost at Pian d 'Assino. They head towards the town and meet, in front of the Tobacco factory, an acquaintance who reproaches them, as if they had skipped school: "Ma` ndu séte state [where have you been], until now! v'arcercono [they seek]! Sintiréte le bòtte !! ". Never has the threat of a reprimand been so welcome: it is a sign that mothers are alive. Giovanna had feared the worst, because her family lives just behind the station, considered one of the most likely targets of the bombing. At the station he finds his mother and grandfather, who wants to take everyone to his home, to Niccone. But first we need to find the younger brother who is in kindergarten with the nuns. There are many looking for their children: but there is no trace of Luigino. Fortunately, Sister Adele happens to let him out from under the zinale where he had taken refuge, having considered it the most welcoming place: "Here he is, uncle Luigi!", She reassures us. He calls it that, affectionately, because it is the smallest of all4 (43). Sister Adele's petticoat [cassock] has really become the feathery cradle of a hen.

As soon as the bombing had ceased, Nino (Grassini), at the bottom of the Piaggiola, had met Bruno again, from whom he had just separated. "Nino! Nino!", "Bruno!", They called each other. Together they had jumped the network that separates Via Vittorio Veneto from the field of the old church of Sant'Erasmo. Along the Regghia, Nino had met his father who had come down from San Benedetto, where he worked. Only then did he realize that he had never separated from the book of philosophy - 1-Emilio ", by Rousseau - which he should have brought to class; he had thrown it away with a kick. But immediately afterwards he had picked it up, thinking that otherwise he would have He had to buy it back: the school, like life, will continue. (44) Maria di Gesuè goes around the Collegiate Church to look for the satchel that his nephew Vittorino (Tognaccini) lost while fleeing from the sacristy to their tavern (45).

Gigolétta (Mario Loschi), who has a small smelter's shop near Renzo's workshop, goes to check if the bronze statue of the Unknown Soldier has fallen in order to eventually melt the debris (46).

From the Orlando Caldari workshop, recovering from the fright, they try to take the agricultural machinery to shelter in Civitella (47).

The relatives of the owner of the shoe factory at the end of the Corso, abundantly scrambled their son Sirio (Lisetti) because he had run away, without notifying anyone. Then they went to retrieve the shoes thrown by the bombs on the banks of the Tiber: but most of them have already been taken by the people (48).

Lorenzo (Andreani) and his family went back to the house to get the most necessary things. All loaded, they head towards the countryside. As they go down the Piaggiola, the basket with plates and cups slides from their mother's head to the ground. They collect all the pieces that, with glue and patience, will regain their original function: in the future there will be even less to throw away (49)!

La Rosa (Baruffi), with her daughter Sunta, returns to the Tiber to pick up the cart, abandoned with the clothes she was washing (50).

The money, which a few minutes ago fluttered around the square from the post office bag undisturbed, has already regained its value.

A man looks for the bag he had kept ready near the door of the house with all the essentials, including that little bit of gold and the 100 lire postal vouchers that he paid every month for his daughter. He finds it under the arch of Via Mancini, about twenty meters from home: only the lining remains, but the contents are intact (51).

Vera has returned to the Vibi house to get the gold and the money, but the soldiers prevent her from getting on. Tonino (Taticchi) - `l Bove - convinces them to let her pass, assuring them that she is the owner. He accompanies her and takes the opportunity to retrieve a revolver that he had hidden in a safe closet in that house (52).

Even in Via Alberti the owners found, in the midst of the rubble, the purse with money - intact - and half a pat of lard, which will be a great company these days (53).

The stomach, in fact, does not hear any laws; it knows no bombs, no deaths; when it is time, he arrogantly claims his share.

Peppino (Rondoni), around eleven, went home. He found on the ground all the bread dough that had to be brought to the oven: leavened, it was overflowed by the mattra. He made up for it by making pancakes. He cooked and burned them. But when he distributed them to his own and to the people down the Tiber, no one made the griccia (54).

At lunchtime, in the Sciabone farmyard - the farmer behind the Commenda, towards Civitella - there is bread and ham for everyone in the shade of the haystack; the effort of Anna (Bartocci) to bring him to safety was not in vain (55). Manco had been `nduvina [not even had been a fortune teller]!

Guido (Lamponi) went to get seven rows of bread, which he had collected in the morning from the station oven, and a shoulder of pork. Everything is available to those present (56).

Lazarus has brought some vinsanto, what he has prepared for when his son Pietro will sing mass. From the bottles that had become cloudy on the bottom due to the crash of the bombs, by pouring the clear part, he managed to fill a flask (57). Linda, having recovered from kindergarten, arrived along the Tiber from Palazzone, where she found a lot of other tobacconists and potters: someone is at home, others behind the haystack, others still behind the hedge. There are too many to have the courage to ask for hospitality. But there is no need: at half past two the hosts, Poldo and Rigo, distribute a cauldron of soup with chickpeas to everyone (58). Someone, relieved to have escaped, even has the strength to joke.

"They did not recognize each other", comments - once the tragedy is over - the collaboration between Alfredo (Ciarabelli) and Giovanni (Ciangottini), who went back and forth from the rubble to the Collegiate Church, at the ends of the same stretcher with the dead person to take to the church: everyone knows that they are of opposite ideas - communist and fascist - with only myopia in common.

Gamba de Balùllo manages to be witty. They ask him, "That man, have you [have] seen Trotta?" And he replies: "'n lu know [I don't know] ... trótton all!". In reality he had seen him, Dr. Trotta with his family, and had not hesitated to throw himself on the doctor's daughter, Lycia, obeying the splendid girl who begged: "Cover me, cover me!" (59). Animals also need consolation. Domenico (Duranti) crosses the bridge over the Regghia carrying with him the cage with the greenfinch Picchiottino, who is silent; he is vented by what he chirped for help, from under the table, where the cage from the window had been thrown (60).

The eggs that had been laid to hatch in the house of the Boriosi hatched in fact due to the great noise: the chicks could not resist coming into the world to see what had happened. Now they console themselves in the breast of the mistress who has adapted to brood for the emergency, at Santa Maria da Sette (61).

 

 

 

 

 

For the hierarchies nothing seems to have happened. An SS officer, accompanied by one of the militia, went to Marro to check the fate of the bag of money that disappeared from the post office. They ask Peppe della Fascina (Giuseppe Venti) who had brought the package from the station for an explanation: luckily he can show the receipt signed by an employee. Alongside the military, Gigino Ceccarelli - from the Post Office - must attend the bureaucratic task, despite being overwhelmed by grief for his exterminated family (63).

 

Displacement

As soon as you have found your relatives, you need to look for accommodation outside the country, to spend the night and to survive in the next few days, until when - who knows when? - life will not be reborn - will it be reborn? - in the destroyed country.

A desperate multitude pours into the countryside: it is a biblical exodus.

The family of Guerriero (Corradi), the photographer, is headed for the house in Preggio. He and father Antaeus in front; on bicycles; behind his wife, his daughters with the nanny (Emilia Matteucci) and the essentials on the cart pulled by a white-tailed horse, which Checco de Camillo was able to make available. They had to wait for the return of his wife Maria, who had gone to look for Umberto, the boy in charge of taking medicines: she had reappeared, white with dust, after being reassured by the pharmacist that the apprentice photographer was safe and that he had fled in the direction of San Benedetto. Other people have joined, taking advantage of the means to upload something. When the cart, after the level crossing, is just beyond the bridge over the Regghia, the father goes back to warn: "Stop, ... the dead are passing". The gig stops. The standing men take off their hats: on the first stretcher a woman with purple feet. More stretchers pass and someone asks whose miserable remains are. The transporters, on their way to the Collegiate Church, respond like automatons to what little they know (64).

 

 

 

 

The teacher Gina (Gallicchi) was left alone with her daughter Luciana; he does not return to the temporary home in Montone, but sets out along the road that leads to the cemetery. Arrived at the curve of the cemetery she sits down on the grass, scrutinizing the faces of the people who come up from Umbertide, anxious to have some certain news. Everyone looks at her and no one speaks; fear can be read on their faces. They walk slowly, because they have bags, parcels and clothes in their hands that are used for temporary accommodation with friends or relatives. Look at those people who pass in silence as in a procession; he does not have the courage to ask anything, because he fears bad news. After a few hours of agonizing waiting, she sees Peppe, her husband, appear among the many people. Then exult with joy; goes to meet him; they hug. He picks up his daughter and fills her with kisses. It ensures that all their loved ones are safe (65).

Around noon, grandfather Mancini leaves for Niccone with Giovanna del torroncino, her granddaughter, on the barrel of the bicycle and the rest of the family. When I am at the beginning of the bridge, the spectacle is terrible: mountains of rubble ... people screaming ... praying ... calling for help ...; the air is red-dust. Grandpa recommends: "Don't look ... don't look !! (66).

Pistulino (Quintilio Tosti) with his family - his son riding a horse and his daughter by the hand - crosses the Tiber under the Gamboni lock: the water bubbling under his feet calms, after so much noise. They are directed to the farmhouse of their sister Ida, towards Niccone, whose family had replaced Milli, the farmer who had been sent away from the farm because of socialist ideas (67).

Next to his parents' house destroyed by bombs, Nino de Capucino (Domenico Mariotti) saw Virgilio's (Bovari) bicycle perfectly efficient: it would be very useful for the transfer to Preggio which he is about to tackle, on foot, with the whole family; even if there is little to take away, other than what they are wearing. He tries in vain to borrow it from his master, but cannot find it. He decides to take it anyway: it is not the time for ceremonies. The family leaves for Preggio, with the support of Virgil's bicycle (68).

Brutus (Boldrini), informed by someone that his daughter Cecilia is from Caporalino, arrives all out of breath to the Petrelle, where he discovers that the report was wrong: he finds his niece Adriana and not his daughter, who is buried, together with her friends and Bruno , under a mountain of stones. The uncle, when he realizes the misunderstanding, is unable to hide his disappointment in his face (69).

Peppino da Milano (Feligioni) looks for his relatives coming down from Civitella through the fields; at the Cornacchia farm he finds his mother, aunt Ines and grandparents, desperate for his fate and for his father, who is still under the rubble, alive (70).

Olimpia (Pieroni) and his family tried to flee towards the Abbey. They force them to go through the Madonna del Moro, where they meet Dante Baldelli and Giselda Ciangottini, who suggest they resume the straight instead of the river bank, otherwise they will arrive with difficulty. Along the way they stop at the house of the Fornaci, distant relatives as well as family friends, who offer food; then they leave again in the direction of the Colle, with the children Bettina and Marcello (71).

 

1) Drawing by Adriano Bottaccioli.

2) Maurizio Burelli.

3) Warrior Boldrini.

4 Mario Rossi, deputy commander of the Cairocchi battalion.

5) Warrior Boldrini.

6) Lidia Tonanni.

7) Fabrizio Boldrini.

8) Orlando Bucaioni.

9) Fabrizio Boldrini.

10) Mario Migliorati.

11) Pia Gagliardini.

12) Egidio Grassini.

13) Franco Villarini.

14) Ines Biti.

15) Margherita Tosti, manuscript of 1985.

16) Mario Tosti, The day of the bombing, poem taken from "National Competition XXV Aprile", Municipality of Umbertide, S. Francesco socio-cultural center, 1984.

17) Quintilio Tosti, oral testimony collected by his nephew Marco - 5th grade - 1985.

18) Margherita Tosti, manuscript of 1985.

19) Gigina Vestrelli.

20) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

21) Annunziata Bucatelli.

22) Giovanna Nanni.

23) Luciana Sonaglia, 2001 manuscript.

24) Annunziata Caldari.

25) Lidia Corradi.

26) Giovanni Migliorati.

27) Lidia Corradi.

28) Ines Guasticchi.

29) Maria and Giovanni Migliorati.

30) Maria Migliorati.

31) Giovanni Duranti.

32) Saints Improved.

33) Fausto Fagioli.

34) Maria Luisa Rapo.

35) Giuseppe Lisetti.

36) Dina Bebi.

37) Silvano Bernacchi.

38) Giuseppe Baiocco.

39) Luigi Gambucci.

40) Annunziata Fiorucci.

41) Silvia Pitocchi and Anna Cambiotti, typescript December 16, 2003.

42) Aldo Fiorucci.

43) Giovanna Mancini.

44) Egidio Grassini.

45) Vittorio Tognaccini.

46) Renato Silvestrelli.

47) Amedeo Faloci.

48) Sirio Lisetti.

49) Lorenzo Andreani.

50) Assunta Baruffi.

51) Annunziata Fiorucci.

52) Vera Vibi.

53) Maria Chiasserini.

54) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

55) Anna Bartocci.

56) Ines Biti.

57) Class III A, Mavarelli-Pascoli State Middle School, Grandfather, tell me about the war, 2004. Testimony of Giovanna Bottaccioli.

58) Linda Micucci.

59) Luigi Guiducci.

60) Maria Duranti.

61) Rina Boriosi.

62 Bruno Porrozzi, Umbertide in the pictures, Pro Loco Umbertide Association, 1977, p. 93.

63) Muzio Venti.

64) Lydia Corradi.

65) Gina Gallicchi, manuscript of 1995.

66) Giovanna Mancini.

67) Quintilio Tosti, oral testimony collected by his nephew Marco - 5th grade - 1985.

68) Domenico Mariotti.

69) Adriana Ciarabelli.

70) Giuseppe Feligioni.

71) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

 

 

 

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THE SECOND RAID

 

Word has spread that in the afternoon they will return to bomb, because in the morning they did not hit the bridge.

Natalino (Lisetti) warned everyone he met. The Archpriest also has this presentiment (1).

The few people left in the village, because they are engaged in excavations (2) or in taking away the indispensable (3) from the houses, are with ears pricked.

It's just after four (4).

Suddenly there is a stampede in the square: at the telephone point in the sentry box of the level crossing, the news of the arrival of another raid has arrived from Perugia (5). After a while, at 4:25 pm, the sirens sound in Città di Castello (6).

The alarm spreads among the people, from person to person (7).

Everyone flees like lightning towards the nearest safe place, in every direction: the Caminella (8), the slaughterhouse (9), the hospital, the furnace, the fields towards the Tiber (10).

This time, after the morning disaster, no one underestimates the danger. Rescuers are also forced to flee.

For the buried alive it is the coup de grace: when they realize it, they lose all hope.

ronino de Bronzone (Antonio Feligioni), who in the late morning had managed to signal his presence and give instructions on how to be taken out, was about to be released; at this point he feels definitively lost (11) and screams in despair.

Someone has the courage to stay to take advantage of the silence, which could make us perceive other traces of life. They hear the moans of a little girl. Perhaps it is Adriana, the niece of Quadrio Bebi (12) that Bronzone had reported near him, together with Cesira (Ceccagnoli).

The planes from the direction of the Pantano approach Umbertide, strafing from time to time. At the height of the Canadà - the poplars that line the Tiber towards Montecorona - the fighter-bombers surprise the Pieroni, who are forced to hide; their children, now tired, fell asleep like dormice (13).

La Loredana (Trentini) is returning to the Pantano, capecióna as before because Velia hadn't even started cutting her hair in the Corso hairdresser. At the Badia, right above her, she hears the machine gun crackle of an airplane. He has the impression that the little man who guides him is shooting at her. He throws himself on the ground in the middle of a field with stubble; blood comes out. Thinks you are hurt. Terrified she starts running. He climbs over a wall and falls behind, hitting his head on the ground. She feels doomed (14).

The flock of red-tipped planes is the same as the one it bombed in the morning. The fighter-bombers proceed in formation from Montecorona; they pass Umbertide in the direction of Montone. Maybe it was a false alarm.

A child, Benito, parries the pigs on the hill. To pass the time he had climbed to the top of a very thin cherry tree, as tall as an albaróne, playing swinging. Look, intrigued, at the German anti-aircraft battery that tries to counter the air attack from the position of Santa Maria da Sette: the bullets explode overhead, exploding like fireworks; some piece of metal falls around him. Not at all intimidated, he witnesses the show in ecstasy, blissfully continuing on his swing (15).

Above Corlo, a plane suddenly veers left towards Sant'Anna (16), then dives into the bridge with the sun behind it (17). The others start to turn over the Faldo plain (18).

It is a quarter past four (19).

 

The multitude that had left the village since the morning, watches from the hills, dismayed and silent, aware of the new imminent havoc.

The family of Guerriero (Corradi), the photographer, arrived in Montaguto on the cart pulled by the white-tailed breaker which, despite its size, can barely trudge along the uphill hairpin bends; they tried to make him rest, taking advantage of the stops to exchange news with all those passing by. Some people of the group remained in Romeggio, welcomed by Don Checco (Francesco Corradi), whom his grandfather Anteo wanted to greet together with the other brothers. They saw the planes appear on the horizon that suddenly fell downwards: "They dive!" someone says. "They drop the bombs", warns another (20).

Gigetto (Luigi Gambucci) is halfway up the hill of Romeggio, together with his mother. He sees the first pair of bombs fall into the valley below, enveloping their home in a sea of smoke. "They took our house in full [they hit our house]", he whispers (21): the Vibi palace has been gutted. Within hours, his family was deprived of his father and his home. Among those rubble, on the first floor, also the relics of Garibaldi's passage disappear: the iron bed where he had slept, a saber and a painting with the General, who was the terror of children (22); the red enamel cup used by the hero of the two worlds, held like an oracle on the window sill above the rinsing machine (23).

The symphony begins again (24): one at a time, the planes detach from the circle, strafe (25) and, in a dive, try to hit the bridge.

The second pair of bombs falls near Trivilino; one remains unexploded (26).

Another coppiola hits Camillo's house (27): the beams fly up, as in a firework (28). Nino de Capucino (Domenico Mariotti) sees her jump from Polgeto, where he arrived with the whole family and Virgil's bicycle (29).

The ANAS warehouse near Maddoli is pulverized (30).

Other bombs explode on the banks of the Tiber, throwing stones up to the slaughterhouse (31). One remains unexploded on the stone in front of Peppino Rondoni's house (32).

Some boys who were coming down from the hill of Romeggio, where they had gone to look for the splinters, attend the show (34). Again, a great fuss arises over the town (35).

Other young people hid in a small ditch on the edge of the same road. The aircraft that regain altitude pass very close to them, in the gully between Romeggio and Colle delle Vecchie. The boys distinguish the pilots very well and have the impression of being seen. They curl up even more in the ditch, for fear of being machine-gunned; the heart beats very strongly with fear, but above all with the thrill of seeing a bombing plane and its pilot up close (36).

On the opposite side of the valley, towards the Marro, a terrified woman is unable to hold back the urine, which she spreads on the ground in front of everyone (37).

The Fornaci ladies, always impeccable and refined, lie with their feet soaked in the Regghia, behind the crag that shelters them, too low to contain them (38).

On the outskirts of the town, the rescuers who were busy in the excavations crouched in temporary shelters.

At Caminella they threw themselves into the holes left by the roots of the uprooted poplars, where the carcasses of sick animals are usually buried (39). Settimio (Burberi) has his work cut out for his son Dolfo's head inside the hole, who stands up pointing to each plane when he dives: "Here he is ... here he is!" (40).

Next to them Carlo (Polidori), another teenager, whimpers: "Oh my God, my casine!". At the same time the displacement of a bomb causes it to fall into the Tiber (41).

The splinters hiss over the heads of people lying on the ground behind the river banks (42). Several people poured under the crag beyond the house in front of the hospital, towards the furnace. Here comes Emma (Roselletti) who was loading the last box of books on the cart with the horse and checking that it did not remain on the ground in favor of something he cares less about. She is terrified of having already suffered a bombing in Rome, in the area of the freight yard of the Prenestina station (43).

From the market, many fled to the Piobbico garden and threw themselves into a ditch to collect rainwater, all getting dirty (44). Along the Reggiani orchard, at the Lazzaro ditch, Clementina says the rosary, while another old blasphemy because they machine guns, too (46).

Mario (Destroyed) watched the scene paralyzed from the Gamboni lock, embracing a plant; to the unconsciousness of the morning, the experience just lived has made the terror take over (47).

After this second undertaking, the pilots write down in their flight log the result that appeared to their eyes: they assert that the road was centered twice to the west of the bridge and once to the east; that three more shots fell just north of the bridge, on the stone; all the others did not hit the road bridge, but enveloped it in smoke and dust without inflicting damage.

In reality, once again the bombs missed the target: only the first pair of bombs touched the target and another damaged the national road. The successive shots drifted further and further away, due to the cloud of smoke, like in the morning. This raid also failed. You return to the base without credits.

When the planes fly over Ulderico's shop in Montecorona, at the level crossing at the end of the straight, in Pierini's house it is a pain. They have lost hope. Teresa, Peppino's new mother, is making the dress to bury her son who has not returned from Galen's barbershop (48).

Up there, in the cockpits, they can't see or hear anything.

During the return to the base camp, they console themselves by strafing a truck, which is destroyed by fire, and an electric locomotive: this is the sop given to the Pierantonio station (49).

Visibility: bad. No AA over the target.

Landing: 5.40 pm.

Total flight time: 31.00 hours.

 

1) Don Luigi Cozzari, letter for the 1st anniversary (1945).

2) Christmas Lisetti.

3) Adolfo Burberi, Bruno Burberi.

4) PRO, London, Operation Record Book, Detail of work carried out, SAAF, 239th "Wing Desert Air Force", 5th air squadron.

5) Fabrizio Boldrini, Bruno Burberi.

6) Alvaro Tacchini (curator), Venanzio Gabriotti - Diary, Institute of Political and Social History Venanzio Gabriotti, Petruzzi Editore, Città di Castello, 1998, p. 192.

7) Franco Anastasi.

8) Fabrizio Boldrini, Bruno Burberi.

9) Betto Guardabassi.

10) Franco Anastasi.

11) Giuseppe Feligioni.

12) Mario Simonucci.

13) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

14) Loredana Trentini.

15) Benito Broncolo.

16) Angelo Santucci.

17) Franco Anastasi.

18) Willemo Ramaccioni, oral testimony collected by his son Carlo - 5th grade - 1985.

19) PRO, London, Operation Record Book, Detail of work carried out, SAAF, 239th "Wing Desert Air Force", 5th air squadron.

20) Lidia Corradi.

21) Luigi Gambucci.

22) Renato Silvestrelli.

23) Ruggero Polidori.

24) Bruno Burberi.

25) Velia Nanni.

26) Luigi Gambucci.

27) Franco Anastasi, Luigi Gambucci.

28) Margherita Tosti.

29) Domenico Mariotti.

30) Luigi Gambucci.

31) Betto Guardabassi.

32) Eva Burocchi, interview collected by his nephew Leonardo Tosti on April 25, 1994.

33) Bruno Porrozzi, Zlmbertide in the images, Pro Loco Umbertide Association, 1977, p. 94.

34) Giorgio Bruni.

35) Franco Anastasi, Fabrizio Boldrini.

36) Willemo Ramaccioni, oral testimony collected by his son Carlo - 5th grade - 1985.

37) Christmas Lisetti.

38) Warrior Gagliardini.

39) Fabrizio Boldrini.

40) Bruno Burberi.

41) Adolfo Burberi.

42) Giovanna Nanni.

43) Emma Roselletti. Taken from: Simona Bellucci and Edda Sonaglia (curators), "Group of women on March 8" by Umbertide; videotape.

44) Domenico Manuali.

45) PRO: Public Record Office, London, Operation Record Book, Detail of work carried out, SAAF, 239th "Wing Desert Air Force", 5th air squadron.

Taken from: Mario Tosti (curator), Beautiful works !, Municipality of Umbertide, 1995, p. 50.

46) Assunta Baruffi.

47) Mario Destroyed.

48) Fausta Olimpia Pieroni.

49) Archive of the Umbrian Central Railway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will to rise again

Only a few weeks have passed since the disaster that nature - driven by the reproductive instinct of the species - has already begun to react. Perhaps she has no feelings: she has not noticed anything. Or he has already forgotten those strange thunders out of the blue. Or it has a soul: it wants to encourage men to raise their heads.

The swallows screech again, in their beaten garrules hunting for insects among the ruins. New seeds have taken root, managing to pierce the carpet of dust: in the vegetable gardens the weed is spreading patches of green. Even among the debris of the apocalypse the stem of a few poppies spread bright red petals. Nature seems to herald the miracle of the country's resurrection, defying wickedness and encouraging hope.

 

Fifteenth station

Jesus rises from the tomb

 

The will to react is also creeping into men's pain: collective tragedy tempers individual dramas; the pain of the neighbor contains and holds back one's own despair, soothing it. From the terraces of the hills all around the town, where we were welcomed, guarded, cared for, protected (2), we anxiously await the allied soldiers to bring peace and freedom. We do not have time to realize the paradox that the expected liberators will wear the same uniforms and wave the same banners of the twelve apostles, who sowed death along the Calvary of St. John. "We are forced to desire the arrival of an enemy to drive out another, more ferocious enemy ... Poor Italy! [Venanzio Gabriotti]" (3).

The anxiety of going home, the hope of starting over makes us feel an extraordinary, inexplicable, incredible strength within us. Life after death touched upon is new life.

We have the feeling that the martyrdom of our dead was not in vain: it was the tremendous passage towards a new redemption from the indolence of having passively witnessed the degradation of the founding values of civilization. All men have purified themselves - in a global catharsis - on a new Cross; on millions of crosses.

Jesus died again with our dead, to save us and to rise again, together with humanity.

 

A better world

Life will be reborn: it will soothe pains, heal wounds.

Paolino, the railway worker, will be able to bring flowers, together with new children, to the coffin that contains all his family; as well as Peppe de Moscióne (Bernacchi), his old neighbor in the alley of San Giovanni.

Pompeo (Selleri) will have the strength to exhume his father shoemaker from the cemetery of Castello, where many times, from the Tifernate college, he had gone to visit him to honor his memory and draw courage. He will see the bones again, with the silver ring on his finger - the gold one he had given to the Fatherland - and with a broken leg (4). He will put the remains of his parents next to each other in Umbertide. He will resign himself to imagining close to them the bodies of the brothers that he will look for in vain in all the cemetery (5): no one will find any trace of them (6), as if they had sublimated themselves.

Luciano's mother (Bebi) will find a sad serenity, in the eternally black dress of mourning. All together - we, the Germans, the Anglo-American allies - will have to have the courage to ask for forgiveness, for the acts of barbarism that each has on the conscience and the duty to forgive, as individuals and as States.

A better world will be born from the tragedy.

 

An imperfect world

We know it will be an imperfect world.

Heroes like Hamlet, Luciano, Linda, Maria, Fausto and all the others who died for the love of their loved ones will be forgotten. The marshal will risk being purged, despite his exemplary behavior, in a difficult balance between the obligations of the hierarchy and the duties of morality. The jackals will get rich with what they grabbed from the ruins while the others wept or helped the most unfortunate. The most acrobatic opportunists will acquire merit, to the detriment of those who have really raised their heads against evil.

Even when it was clear that the wickedness of the individual has exceeded the limits of the rules of war, it will be easy to achieve impunity behind the alibi of the chain of command, of obedience to the superior, of the risk of life in case of disobedience: legitimate self-protection. . There will be enormous difficulties of investigation in tracing individual faults. In barbarism, with the end of reason, subjective responsibility fades into the spiral of hatred, revenge, terror, the survival instinct from which every individual is sucked. "In war everything is possible (7).

 

But the war is not!

There will be no more war! This will be the last! We are convinced that the sacrifice of the dead and the living will forever guarantee lasting, eternal peace: it is not possible that the tragedy experienced did not teach humanity everything! Forever!

By now we are vaccinated: against dictatorship and against war. We have not learned the lesson from the history books that we are unable to read and could easily forget. We have lived this tragedy (8)! The martyrs of the Calvary of St. John live beyond life, inside our heads: the testimony of their sacrifice has been imprinted in the social chromosomes of our community, not only as a memory but as a teaching.

We have witnessed that there is no Manichean separation between peoples of good and peoples of evil; but that there are good and perverse parts, according to the quality of the objectives they pursue. Within each part, the individual can maintain the autonomy of expressing his own nature, generous or evil, in his personal behavior, within the limits allowed by the environmental constraints that war magnifies. We have experienced that there are no collective faults.

This time we have experienced firsthand that war is an abomination: not only because it tortures and kills, beyond all imaginable limits of perversion; but above all because, with the end of the rule of law, it empties man - every man, wherever he is on the side - of his faculty to judge and operate freely, according to his own will, nature, culture.

War castrates man of the capacity for will that distinguishes him from animals. Man becomes an animal.

Men become herds of animals. States become barbarians.

The first gunshot generates a void in the categories of reason, law, ethics, in which men of good will lose the possibility of action and proposal: they cannot speak a language they do not know, use the tools that they do not know. they want to fight. It would be an unequal battle. They have to wait for the end of the war to restart the work of peacemakers with the restoration of the rule of law.

These are the most disturbing effects of the state of war.

 

The last useful war

This, which still continues to sow tragedies along the path of blood to Berlin, will be the last war - adjectives can barely get out of our mouths - just and useful.

It is really hard for us to admit that every day we approach the still fresh mounds of earth where our dead rest; yet, perhaps, this is the first time in human history that violence has served any good. This conflict defeated the abominable project of Nazism, with its diabolical atrocities. It has shown - and taught - that the terrifying destructive power of modern weapons has expanded the battlefields to the cities and the defenseless, hitherto essentially reserved for professionals, albeit unfortunate men. From today wars are no longer terrible competitions between soldiers, but tremendous instruments of destruction of peoples.

Now half the world knows this, for having lived it on their own flesh and soul: common people will no longer have excuses to ignore themselves, nor will leaders have instruments of plagiarism towards unaware populations. This will be the last conflict: on the graves of our dead a new civilization will be founded, based on freedom, on democracy which, combined with awareness, will be a guarantee of indefinite peace.

Plowshares and pruning spears will be built from the swords (9).

 

Peace is not free

It will not be free peace.

We must avoid the risk that the other half of the world, unaware tomorrow as we yesterday, will repeat our same mistakes. We will have to help her to fight against ignorance and poverty, so that she can understand. Even before that, we must understand that our help does not respond only to the duty of solidarity but also to the selfishness of protecting our own peace: indifference towards distant outbreaks will be paid with greater virulence when these flare up on us. If cooperation does not replace exploitation, marginalized peoples - when they acquire awareness and discover secular abuses - will seek justice with the improper weapons to which they have been trained: ferocity, cruelty, hatred, fanaticism.

 

The dangers

The first, more subtle, danger to maintaining peace lies inside our heads. History teaches us that the memory of past mistakes is destined to fade with time and with generations. As the wounds - as is natural - heal and the pains ease, even in the survivors the memory of the single facts will fade. Even more the memory of the tragedy will fade in the minds of those who have only been able to imagine it from rare black and white images or from stories that will be perceived as unreal, impossible: sad fairy tales served up by old stoned. It is unthinkable that the generations of the third millennium are moved by past stories. just as we no longer shed tears for Cesare Battisti or the Bandiera brothers.

 

Our duty

It is up to us - only to us - to act immediately to prevent the recurrence of the evil.

«At the origins of civilization, no one had questioned whether a war was just or legitimate: it was simply an instrument of the arrogance of the strong, who did not have to justify themselves to anyone. Then, with the Middle Ages, theories on just war arose, linking it to the pursuit of more or less noble aims. After the Spanish conquest of America, a new, modern legitimation of war was introduced, with the intention of justifying the dominion over the Indians and their world: war is the way in which the king, that is the sovereign state, does it justice. And since the sovereign state is such to the extent that it is sufficient in itself and cannot turn to a third authority for justice, if its own right is violated, justice is done with war, because it does not recognize any other authority above. self. War is the king's instrument of justice; it is a form of jurisdiction. War, as an expression of sovereignty and the figure of the modern state, is at the center of the system of international relations: it is a legitimate and, indeed, ordinary institution.

It is up to us to undermine the concept of absolute sovereignty: no state can be considered self-sufficient. The task of prosecuting crimes between states, of claiming justice, of ensuring peace and security belongs to the international community, to a higher third which is the community of peoples "(10).

Strengthened by freedom and democracy for the first time savored, we will immediately have to build supranational instruments capable of governing conflicts between peoples in the name of all humanity, avoiding confusing justice with revenge, law with force. We have the duty to enable our children to follow an obligatory, natural, definitive, obvious path. Apodittico: like the sun, the air, the universe.

If we fail to leave this legacy, we will condemn them to relive other tragedies - on their own skin - to understand what we have undergone and learned. We will have betrayed our main duty as fathers by leaving them naked.

 

The duty of the children

The duty of the children will be to remember - without emotion - our history, which is the premise of their history; not to give in to the instinct to minimize the danger of new wars, attacks on freedom and democracy; defend and strengthen the tools - which we will have built - for the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts between peoples.

Future generations will have to distill and cultivate the moral of our testimony: there was a terrible war in this valley too; the bombs, real, fell on their houses, they tore their relatives to pieces; the community to which they belong has no privileges of immunity to violence. The one just lived must be the last war; there can be no more useful wars, because they will have to be prevented in any case; any unfortunate future declaration of war will be the sign of the most tragic defeat of a world of forgetfulness.

Our children will have to consider the problems of the rest of the world as their own, avoiding the risk that the well-being we have conquered becomes, for their consciences, an anesthetic to solidarity; while it will appear as an intolerable privilege in the eyes of the marginalized.

To wake up from the torpor of opulence and addiction to violence, they will not have to wait for the unimaginable to happen: even the powerful and not just other humble shoemakers, sweepers, bricklayers, such as those of the Borgo di San Giovanni, become victims of barbarism; let the symbols of power collapse and not poor huts; that half the world is witnessing the atrocious spectacle, for some gimmick, and not just the diggers of Montone or the shepherds of Valcinella.

If, even in this tragic eventuality, our children will jump indignantly in their armchairs, as if they discovered only in that moment the outrage of violence, without realizing that they are witnessing the last episode of a continuous series, in every corner of the world; if they will stubbornly respond to violence with blind violence instead of dialogue, feeling like the good sheriffs of the planet: then they will have the responsibility of having nullified the sacrifice of the dead of St. John and of those of all the other wars.

 

The hope

If that were the prospect, it wouldn't be worth it

not even worth rolling up our sleeves

to start over, in the hope that there is

granted to see the birth of the new world (11).

 

We are sure that man cannot be like this

stupid not to have learned everything, forever!

 

... Now my heart is beating fast,

I punch the pillow,

then a nearby hand looks for my face

and caresses me sweetly.

Maybe I'll be able to sleep,

now I feel the peace,

peace is beautiful ... (12)

2) Raffaele Mancini, ... At midnight we bet on the rising of the sun ..., Edizioni Nuova Prhomos, Città di Castello, 1993.

3) Alvaro Tacchini (curator), Venanzio Gabriotti - Diary, Institute of Political and Social History Venanzio Gabriotti, Petruzzi Editore, Città di Castello, 1998, p. 94.

4) Pompeo Selleri.

5) Linda Micucci.

6) Umbertide Municipal Archive, 30 September 1944.

7) Albert Kesselring, Memories of war, Garzanti, 1954, p. 263.

8) Francesco Martinelli.

9) Prophet Isaac, Chap. II.

10) Raniero La Valle, "The end of modernity", The return of the war, Editions "1'altrapagina", Città di Castello, 2002.

11) Bruno Orsini, typescript from 1990.

12) Giuseppe Avorio, Peace is beautiful, "National Competition 25th April", Municipality of Umbertide, S. Francesco socio-cultural center, 1994.

13) Mario Tosti (curator), Beautiful works !, Municipality of Umbertide, 1995, p. 37.

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