Last night’s dinner to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake that has hit four regions of Italy and, particularly, the areas of Amatrice and Accumuli was an unqualified success. The whole of Bagni di Lucca Villa’s high street was pedestrianised and long tables placed along it. The attendance was superb and participation was most convivial.
Bagni di Lucca has sometimes been accused of lacking solidarity but I was completely convinced that if (God forbid) any such terrible natural disaster to our area should happen then that natural Italian community spirit will be here to help and support all those affected.
The big meal (at just 15 euros) included, of course, the dish that has made Amatrice world-face – spaghetti alla Amatriciana.
Let us hope that in the not too distant future Amatrice will be known primarily again for its great food rather than for the terrible disaster which has devastated it.
Incidentally, do follow Val di Serchio resident and friend Richard Burnett’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richard.burnett.1042 to see what conditions are like on the ground at Amatrice. Richard is doing a great job volunteering to use his telecommunication skills to restore essential internet, cell-phone and satellite links.
The message of our evening, which also include a raffle and night-spot, was, “we are all behind you people of Amatrice and the surrounding area in your heroic struggle and patient resilience in finding a way forwards with a strong hope that one day you’ll be able to return to as normal a life as possible in your beautiful area. We, people of Bagni di Lucca, will give all we can, knowing that we too live in an earthquake area.”
Incidentally, ‘our’ earthquake, with epicentre at Villa Collemandina, in 1920 hit with a magnitude of 6.4 and left 300 dead. Frighteningly, coincidentally it hit with the same magnitude as that of the central Italian one and with nearly same number of deaths (around 300).
For Mediavalle and Garfagnana are united with Amatrice and Accumuli, not just by solidarity but by the fact that both areas are connected by the same system of tectonic plates that formed (and continue to form) the Apennines. If our social ties have been strengthened by the wonderful evening last night then let us hope that we can both work together to learn more about the amazingly beautiful but so awesomely unpredictable parts of the world we live in. Let us constantly remind ourselves that we are but children of nature and not its masters and that we must obey its rules and heed its advice.
Here are some pictures taken towards the end of the event. I’m sure there will be plenty more appearing on our Bagni di Lucca facebook pages. It was an unforgettable evening of enjoyment, friendship and solidarity where every part of our small community joined in – Italy truly at its best. Over 400 diners were present and the contributions amounted to well above Euros 5,000. Every little bit helps, as they say.
PS Vito, our Deputy mayor and family doctor, is a great reader-aloud. He’s now got an edition of ‘Pinocchio’ in English and Italian and that evening read to us the chapter which describes Pinocchio’s encounter with the three doctors. (It’s chapter 16 and it’s one of the most hilarous bits of writing I know).