One year has gone by since the first earthquake destroyedAmatrice, Accumoli, ArquatadelTronto and many other small villages in the centreofl Italy. Two months later, the seismic activity started again and stroke and destroyed, almost completely, the small villages of Visso, Ussita, and Castelsantangelo sul Nera. In this article they are, let’s say, the “stage” of our stories of women versus earthquake.
These women’s stories are strongly connected with their territory and have some similarities with the mountain that seems to be the focus of all this destruction, Vettore, a mountain dividing two regions: Marche and Umbria. Monte Vettore aspect varies from one side to another. On the Castellucciodi Norcia side,bare and deprived of trees and on the side of Arquata rockyand partly woodland. The Monte Vettore has a transverse band of gravel that is calledLa stradadelle fate,the fairy road. La strada delle fate is the point where the big fault opened last August 2016.
Why am I starting the stories with Monte Vettore? Because of its strength, because of its two different aspects. Strength and aspects that I have found in three women living in those territories: Anna, Ilaria and Silvia. Living in those territories now is very hard: most of the houses collapsed, after one year the ruins are still there, and many people have moved to the coast or are living in temporary structures, which are not very comfortable. Here arethe stories of three women, two of them entrepreneurs, versus earthquake. Their mission is just one: to keep those territories, their territories alive.
Anna still has a house but, trust me, you must be very tough to live in your house in an abandoned place that now counts 30 inhabitants at the most. You must be very tough to live in a brick house when the ground is almost constantly trembling beneath your feet for aftershocks. But Anna is still there with her children and her husband.
Anna worked at the retirement home, which represented one of the most important economic activitiesin Castelsantangelo sul Nera. The retirement home was destroyed by earthquake in October 2016,since that date Anna has had no longer a job. She has reinvented herself. She is one of the beautiful minds and hearts conceiving the event “Tutti Agibili per un Giorno” and founding a non profit organization for the support of people of the area. I think this could be more than enough but it’s not. I don’t think Annaeven knows how strong she is.
You need more strength than ever when you are under attack from your own fellow citizens, complaining (and they have all the reasons for complaining) because they are tired, disappointed and scared about their future. Anna is one of them but she does not complain, she does whatever she can and she speaks up for those who are not speaking or don’t want to speak as they are somehow scared of institutions.
You need more than strength when public institutions are slowing you down or stopping you instead of helping you. But Anna is always there, in her small town, with new projects in her mind. She won’t be stopped. Never.
Ilaria Marzoli Capocci
Ilaria lives in Gualdo an even smallerarea than the already small Castelsantangelo sul Nera.
Before the earthquake with her family she ran a restaurant L’Erborista. Her house had serious damages but fortunately enough they were able to reopen the restaurant after some months.
The restaurant has had to reduce the space for its customers because now the family lives in a few rooms that were part of the restaurant. Why a restaurant is so important for the territory? Easy: it gives hope, it is a meeting point for the few locals remaining in temporary structures and the chance to eat something (very good indeed) for volunteers and tourists alike.
Ilaria is always smiling, her presence is reassuring both for her family and for customers. This summer she has been working very hard. The restaurant, Ilaria and her father Domenico are well known and many locals, who have been forced to move to the coast because they do not have a place to stay any longer, come here to eat and have a chat. So many people wanted to come and visit them that L’erborista(that’s the name of the restaurant) has had to arrange a new space with tables in the backgarden.
Now, what next? Probably the first small houses will be completedaround the end of August and some people will come back to their territory, may be some guests will come to L’Erborista. The plan now is to havea flexible structure ready for winter so that customers can have lunch or dinner in cold and snowy season too.
Silvia is an entrepreneur. Absolutely. Clear vision and clear objectives. She is not only the owner of Azienda Agricola la SopravissanadeiSibillinibut she is also the President of Rete d’Impresa la Sopravissana dei Sibillini. That is to say that she runs her own business but she is also the head of a partnership,“rete di imprese” with other SMEs, regulated under a specific contract. Silvia, before the earthquake, had a dream and she still has: to have the samesheep breed that her grandfather had. This breed is Sopravissana the result of a crossbreed carried out around the twenties of the nineteenth century between French merinos aries and Vissana females. Its wool was known as the “Cashemire of Italy”.
Silvia is very determined, better say stubborn (in a positive sense). She selected all the animals for being the head of her flock, she treated them for years breaking off all sort of illness and selected every single sheep reaching the standard of the breed she needed. Now her sheep is registered in the Genealogy Book: that is to say the DNA has been deposited.
Silvia and her Rete d’impresa has also started to produce a specific kind of delicious cheese: pecorino. At the moment they can’t have a big production asthe Sopravissana produces less milk,but of a far higher quality, than other breed.
After the earthquake Silvia could have moved to a safer area but the point for her was “I will stay here with my flock, as this flock belongs to this area and I belong to this area too.
We are now aware of the importance of Sopravissana for biodiversity not only in our territory butin the Italian faunal heritage and we begin to understand – with the involvement of the National Park of Monti Sibillini – that this sheep represents a resource to be protected and valorized. ”
A powerful dream and a clear entrepreneurial vision: in one word Silvia.
Writer: Antonella GranaCountry Manager, SUKONNA Italy
Pictures: Ermes Tuon
Francesca Pedanesi _ Monte Vettore, Arquata –
Azienda Agricola “La Sopravissana dei Sibillini” – Flock-