I am writing this piece sat on the balcony of my hotel room in the beautiful little village of Sant Agata on the Sorrentine Peninsula about 10km from Sorrento and about 50km from Naples. I am looking at the monastery of San Paolo from which I took these pictures of Mount Vesuvius and the islands of Capri and Ischia yesterday.
The reason I begin like this is that my mind currently is on the poor people of Accumoli, Amatrice and other nearby villages hit by the magnitude 6.2 earthquake in the early hours of this morning. These lovely picturesque villages are very much like Sant Agata where I am staying. Up in the hills, away from the big cities, navigable by narrow and winding roads and magnets for tourists who want to escape the heat of the big cities of Rome or Naples. Villages and towns full of character and characters, where the sense of community and family is palpable. The buildings here in Sant Agata, as in Accumoli and many similar villages around Italy are stunning to travel through and photograph with picture postcard scenery. Many of the buildings are old and crumbling and under the power of such earthquakes they would crumble like a pack of cards very much like what happened in Accumoli, Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto et al.
As I write this post, 73 are known to have died in the quake and many more are still missing. The death toll will sadly rise. This area I write this piece in is no stranger to natural disasters. Today is bizarrely the 1937th anniversary of the AD97 eruption of Mount Vesuvius which engulfed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaniun, both a relatively short drive from where I am located. Mother Nature can not only be amazing but it can be vicious, unforgiving and ever so slightly twisted in its coincidences. Today my heart goes out to the people hit by the earthquakes and to all the people of these stunning villages around Italy, a country I have lost my heart to, who know that, but for the grace of god it could have been them.