(From the autograph memories of the Servant of God Don Francesco Lombardi)
By approaching me to tell the painful story of the total destruction of our dear Bussana country, it is certainly not my intent to divide the subject by studying the seismic reasons for which we were destroyed more than any other country, or telling things that, I will only mention, I will describe briefly what happened in the terrible day of February 23rd, so scrupulous that I will even abstain from focusing on more than one glorious page of our past. Less than my say will be surrounded by a vague and flowered one, but as a poor country pastor is not so much to do, as it seems to me to be a crime under the impulse of pain and tears. We know, in fact, how unhappy we were and therefore worthy of compassion.
Bussana, a district of San Remo, stood above the cobblestone of a mountain, far away from the sea no more than twenty minutes. Before the earthquake, you could call it a really happy country. We had a pretty beautiful church, and that, by sacrifice, we had so much embellished. We all had a house to live, a field, a vineyard, an olive grove to cultivate and everything we needed to live.
One thing that made us happy even more was the good harmony that reigned among all the villagers, so that the poet is saying that in Bussana, there was no discord, and especially the races of parties that unfortunately infect and ruin many of the countries of our neighborhood and province. Unfortunately, so much happiness, combined with a pure climate, had to change in a few seconds in bitter weeping. And here I am saying how our total ruin occurred.
It was now the dawn of February 23rd, 1887. The faithful in part were already aware of the ashes, which had begun for a few moments, and some of them had a chance to do so. The Canonic Reverend Fresia della Colleggiata of Pieve di Teco was about to climb the pulpit when, suddenly, it was heard a terrible wind fury that continued with tremendously growing; the earth shook from the foundation, scratched the horns so frightened, swayed for a long time ... for a long time it whispered ... and then swirled around itself swirlingly ...
I immediately knew the danger and shouted very strongly and repeatedly: "Jesus Christ's Heart Save us! ..." It seemed like an apocalypse and I confess that for a moment I believed it ...
What if the crash produced by the crippling of wood, the broken iron, the fall of houses and church are added, there will be always a sad remembrance of that horrible moment ...
When everything was finished, a candle lit up to bring it to the balustrades and see to infuse a little bit of courage to the faithful... I thought to all those who were in church, I thought to those who were out ... I thought to my dear Parents.
After all, the reason for such destruction will now be understood; the scientists of the matter said the earthquake lasted 23 seconds, but the writer does not think he exaggerates saying that he passed the 30 and that, at least for us, is the general opinion ... 30 seconds were enough to destroy the work of so many centuries, aback us so many people, destroy all our masses, wine, oil, money, etc. and we all throw ourselves in the middle of the country to suffer all sorts of privations, without knowing when it will end so bad things! …
Oh! Let alone what you want: that the country had already suffered in the earthquakes of the years 1831 and 1854, that the houses were old and ungrounded, but while admitting everything, I say that the other neighboring countries have also suffered for earthquakes gone and homes will not be better than we had, if we were destroyed by preference, it meant that the shake was greater without comparison.
And really strong! At that moment, having just finished imposing the ashes, I had come back to the altar to say the last Oremus and it was a fortune that I immediately guessed the cause of that noisy noise and ran away to repair under the arch of door of the sacristy shouting: "earthquake!" first, because a stone, without being able to understand where it came from, came to beat the messal in front of which I was standing and slammed it 50 and more faces, and secondly, because the faithful seeing the parish priest fled, even retreating to the side chapels and thus could be saved from the fall of the face of the church.
Well understood that the face did not rush to the first shake of earth like in Bajardo and Castellaro, but after a moment, that is when the earthquake changed to succulent.
Although it is not credible, of those we were in the church, no one felt the fall of the face; we all heard a little bit of a shudder, all of us were all over, covered with dust, but no one thought so much dead.
At this point I should describe the screams of pain and fright that heard during the shock, but I give up, I just do not wish anybody who has ever been in such anxious and painful circumstances ... and I say very strongly that, how many they hear them, they will always talk about it with frozen blood ... how will I always remember that terrible moment.
Unfortunately, the failure should not be limited only to the church , the fall of the face of the church should not be the only evil. All this was well known by those who lived in the rocks (which is the upper side of the country) and their relatives who lived the ties (Which is the lower side of the country) to which the church was right in the middle of the country. I say the ones in the rocks because they saw all their houses and ruins rolling down the streets so that they were closed in the midst of the walls that collapsed continuously…
I said those ties, since, being caught up to help their relatives, it was impossible for them to find a way to the rocks anymore ...
Such a sad episode, still cannot be told without crying ... "Everyone shouted help! - said one of those unhappy - we fled from one side to the other, and there was no way to save them, continually falling homes, ruins were added to ruins, and we ran a risk to meet another yet more serious ... "Then the screams of the buried, the wounded, the survivors’ tears who had been crushed by their side, father, mother, brother, sister, groom ...!
Many anguish went on with a second shock, which made so much damage and buried so many other loved ones, who were for a long time crying, weeping ... Finally they found the door of a stable that communicated with another stable, and so they could reach to the square, and, from here, to save themselves in open country ...
The fleeing escape of those bushes was a bitter thing.
In that moment I was in the middle of the square beside a poor man who had broken both legs when, suddenly, out of the stable mentioned above, I see a dusty one coming out. He had his eyes squashed, he shouted like an obsessed and crying loud because her father was dead. Next to him followed others, and then others ... They were all unrecognizable ... Others carried behind the corpses of their loved, others accompanied the wounded, others, wounded themselves, walked on the ground in order to escape safely. Luigina Rolando in Lupi precipitated together with her bed, where she still lay, from the fourth floor to the street, literally covered by the ruins. A pitiful man caught up a few stones and made the remaining one, then stood up, walked into a nearby house, dressed in stuff of others, and away. When he passed through the square, he looked like a real monster. It was all a plague and bleeding from everywhere.
Also Torre Luigi fell from the fourth floor to a stable. He had a broken leg beneath his knee and, with all that, he leaned in support of her mother's arm. She walked with one leg and with her hands she supported the broken one. It seems impossible things, from novels, and even when we heard the Casamicciola disaster in the year 1883, we seemed to read a novel, but ...
One thing that will not make you wonder, but I think it is good to note, is that, apart from being almost all unrecognizable, they were all so confused that if you questioned them, they did not hear you or they put in your face two eyes full of scare.
If many of the rocks fled, many remained and many came here from ties as soon as they could. There were so many injured; the courageous waves came to bear to bring relief unfortunately too necessary.
Everywhere all people were crying for help, crying and lamenting of wounded, agonizing rantuses. There was a dead man here, with a split head, a crushed woman, poorly laid children internally. From right you heard "help" and "help" screaming from the left. There were a poor old man who, having broken his legs, could no longer move and now a poor, crumpled woman, on which the floor had collapsed and remained in a corner and no longer knew where to escape.
Screaming scenes: the pain of some mothers who did not want to flee because their dear daughter was lying dead below them ... the screams of poor daughters who, either dead or alive, wanted to see their father, their mother, whom the earthquake had taken away from Their side and covered with ruins ... And oh, my God, they were really terrible moments ...!
And it is to be added that, meanwhile, the land paves on continually and continually falling rubble ...! Moments that human language is not worth describing, and whose memory continually lurks a sense of reproach that is oppressing you, and without realizing it, you feel wet your eyes , the weeping that only a real pain is pressed by the most intimate of your heart .
That if similar scenes of sorrow were at the rocks, it was not to believe that the ties had less to do with it. Because, though it was true that there was not much ruin, most of the walls of the houses sank as well, so that if they remained safe it was a miracle.
Meanwhile, people fleeing, fleeing and one was the demand of everyone: "Are you safe? Oh, poor us! "And running away ...
In a few minutes the country was empty of people. Men, women, children, all retired to a vineyard of the parish.
In the country remains only brave people. They divided into so many teams: some were digging into the church to unload the buried and parted into the village, in places where it was supposed to be corpses or wounded.
What was the result of their courage, of their charity, of their sacrifice? As soon as a digging began, a young woman came alive in the church. The first to see her and pull her up was the father of the young woman, who was crying more than I could and called his dear Pietrina. Can you believe it? Yet it is this: he did not recognize her, as did not know others who were there to do that painful office and she was left to leave alone so as not to miss a time too precious.
In fact, after a few moments, here is another young woman, also twenty years old, named Angela Novella, to go down to the ruins. She seemed like a shadow coming out of the catacombs ... The poor woman was all healthy in the body and conscious of herself, only one hand dropped her down and drank a lot of blood. Here the father and mother were, and I imagine how to embrace her ..
And then? ... and then they continued to dig very much and the body of another daughter was pulled out ... Poor Angela Torre! ... He had just received the sacred ashes and death took her while she was praying to the Sacred Heart of Jesus of whom she was very devoted. She was on the side of the above Novella, young daughters both. When she came to the counter, she turned to the companion - who was named Angela above - and said, "Do you want me to tell you something about a young man? ..." but she stopped suddenly, "no," she added, "we pray rather, we are in church, I will tell you another time, now I want to pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus ... "and reciting that prayer suddenly appeared to the court of God, half a minute later she was already cold corpse. Poor Angiolina, still a few months and had to be married ...
After Torre’s body, they found the one of another woman, certain Caterina Natta in Donetti, and then a man, Bernardo Torre, with his crumpled head pitying ...
He kept digging, robbing in every corner, but no corpses or wounded were found.
It was a real miracle that there were so few victims in the church, even though admitting that, since the function had begun, few were still there; I wonder if the earthquake had been delayed for ten minutes! The worst could happen, though it is true that the face of the church collapsed down when the earthquake shifted to a whirlwind.
It is unlikely that the faithful have had such a presence of spirit to guess the danger at once, and flee it by retreating into side chapels. Much more if one thinks that many, confess that they have fled without knowing how to escape, that they have been saved, without thinking of the danger they overcame.
Among these special mention is the way in which five sons of Domenico Calvini were rescued.
This family was still in bed at the time of the earthquake. Their house was destroyed so that even the masters' walls did not stand. As a result, it is understood that they were all under the ruins. The father, mother, and twelve year old son died on the stroke, the other five children: Luigi, Antonietta, Angela, Rosolinda and Dominic remained alive, but so covered that they could not move a finger. But they could breathe so much air that they did not die so quickly asphyxiated.
It was then that older sister Antonietta, addressed to the other brothers, said, "Let us pray, and let death take us by invoking the Holy Virgin, we make the act of contrition ..."; they pray all in chorus and, at the end, the older brother shouts that he can no longer, his sister said: "brother , courage, let us recommend to God and say the Miserere to our poor father and The mother and brother Vincenzo,
who are already dead, and for us in the antecedent "..." But I do not know the Miserere, "replies the older brother, to her sister," I say it aloud and you repeat. " And they began the psalm of the dead on what was to be their grave.
When he reached the middle of the psalm, his older brother shouted: "I die, I cannot do it anymore": he follows the rush of agony that lasts for a few minutes and then silence of death ... And his older sister: "let us courage, we die well , Our father, mother and our two brothers are already dead and we will die shortly, let's recommend us to Holy Virgin ": and the Ave Maria began."
Antonietta was still there, but nobody answered any more, and she herself understood that her hour was near ... She made another effort: "Holy Virgin help us! ..."
She had just finished praying when there came a number of young people attracted by her voice. They let them take off the scrap and bring them all five, including the older brother they discovered from the asphyxia in which he had fallen. Of the similar facts they could tell more than one.
Even in the rocks, one cannot understand how many and many people who have escaped from the third and fourth floor to the bottom of the stables have survived, remained covered in ruins, and in spite of everything they were discovered and survived ...
I said you cannot understand, but you must know it, or loving Heart of Jesus, oh certainly you listen to our prayer. You reminded the many prayers we do in your honor during the year so you told the exterminating Angel to use mercy and save us.
And that is: the dead were 54 and 40 the wounded, and we all say, and with us also the many strangers coming to Bussana: in comparison to the ruins the dead are relatively few.
And go dearly to the valiant ones, who with their courage and abnegation save from death many victims and so many wounded.
Meanwhile, the brave people waited for the rescue of a wounded, the old, the children, the women all retired in the vineyard of the prebend. Part of the population was lying on mattresses and other lying on the naked ground. Of those who had injured a leg, who both, who shoulder, who was all a plague. There were some corpses there too.
All the people crying, screaming, screaming or looking at you in the face with their stanched eyes was something desolate ...
Everyone wonders each other "and yours are safe?" "And how did you do it?" Everyone was hugging, shaking hands, telling each other their painful history.
Others reported that they had fallen from the third or fourth floor to the stall, others were left covered with stones, and showed wounds, others recalled the death of their loved ones, and there they burst into tears. People approached them to give comfort ... but what comfort did they all if they all had a painful story to tell and cry their fate?
A poor mother appears to me, "ah! Father, my son is dead, my dear Marco no longer" ... "but no, dare yourself, he was so good, the Lord will have helped him." And the one to shout louder "no, he died, he
really died ... we were still in the house, in bed, when we suddenly heard that scream and we saw the doctor's house fall down, plummet, and then the nearest one to us, Of our brother-in-law Calvini Gio Batta and then ours, we saw go down our bed, it was fortunate that we got up ... With my husband we got into a corner of the room that did not sink, so we saved miraculously, but our beloved Marco found in the lower floor was covered by rubble. " The poor mother still cries inconsolable.
Another wondered why his father and mother were dead. And dear children came to meet us crying "we are orphans on earth, we no longer have anybody."
Others then asked you questions: "Have you seen them? Have you heard of it? ... Where are I? ... How are they? ... "" Yes, be courageous, sing the rosary and our Lady will comfort everyone, pray the Heart of Jesus for pity on us, our poor dead, poor so many injured ... ".
Those wounded constantly lamenting and did not know how to console them ... they asked for help that they could not give them ... looking for some refreshment: a little wine, some liqueur that could not have ... at least a word of comfort and this word It was necessary to halve her among them because they asked her so many ... Oh God, that bad morning was that!
Towards 8 o'clock in the morning, many doctors came from nearby San Remo, carrying all the medicines needed. They immediately went to work helping our good medical doctor, Mr. Fornara Raimondo, who, as he had been injured, had already done his best in early treatments and wound dressings. Of course, it was immediately evident that in the open air, under the bush of a sun burning, it was not convenient to leave the injured for a long time, so they were taken to two houses outside the country, which the earthquake had spared almost entirely. There they were laid on the floor, on matt mattresses, and it is easy to imagine how much they suffered.
The pious ones came to them around, and as a mother caresses a child whom they cannot nourish, so they taught them to calm their sorrows, to answer their needs with good words and with wide promises.
Those good doctors, and especially Dr. Panizzi Emilio, who was already our physician, took them around, washed their wounds, wiped their wounds, made the necessary bandages, and told everyone one of those words that, without being a Medicine, I am a great comfort to those who suffer.
After all I have to say that, except for the first days of confusion, the wounded were provided with great care: if they were so well cared for and treated it is mainly in addition to our Mr. Fornara, the good doctor Mr. Revelli Cav. Giovanni, a primary physician at the Pammatone hospital in Genoa, our companion, who, as soon as he heard the sad news, abandoned his clientele in Genoa and noticed us in the midst of us, and prodded such a clever, so disinterested treatment that a tender mother could not do better. He returned to Genoa when he knew that the wounded could no longer get worse.
About forty and more wounded two just died, the others healed all, even one remained ill, though there was the whole reason to fear that many would have to remain.
About nine o'clock the third shock, which brought the terror of the population to the top, so that such a scream of pain lifted blood into the veins.
A quarter of an hour earlier, a man had come to say that his wife, his Eugenia, was still alive, and that, from under the ruins, he called for help. Another brought the news that he had heard him hear the suffocated lamentations in the servant's home.
About twenty young men rushed to help where help was needed and with them some generous of the nearby Arma of Taggia: they divided into two ranks and forward and courage.
The first had already done a good digging, had already overcome any danger, her husband already had his wife in the arms and said, "do not be afraid, you are saved ... Eugenia, I will not leave you ..." another minute and was saved ... But it was then that the third shake came and it was good if those brave people could save themselves, but so many houses broke through that shake that the poor woman was covered by a new mountain of stones. Poor Eugenia ... It was so good ...! For the sake of misfortune she was pregnant ...! The same fate happened to those who came to the ruins of the communal servant's home, and also they had to live in the presence of the spirit they had in saving.
They did not feel sorry and they were in the room a second time ... They call and nobody answers ... One of them who had heard the first laments; "I say yes," he said, "under these ruins someone still lives!" ... they dig up ... Finally they seem to hear a dry, underground voice ... "slow, let's go slow." After a few moments one grabs a haircut, she is here, she said, she is Leonina ... They wound her up and took her with other wounded. I was immediately with her. It was all foul, with its face swollen, and with a tongue that did not poetically speak, it had the eyes wandering and the air of a person who suffered so much. As soon as he saw me, "now I am alone on earth," he said sternly, "I have no one anymore." It was true that the earthquake had deprived him of a dear father, a dear mother and two dear brothers at a time ... What a sweet thought consoles the orphan, and is that we will always remember with love his dear Father Gio Batta Calvini, who for many years served the community in many things with rare intelligence and with unmistakable conduct.
Another young man was rescued, and then a boy of twelve …
Here I cannot finish the chapter without sending a warm greetings to the courageous, faithful wonders to save so many victims. Yes, dear young people, who, with so much self-denial of yours, have dissipated so many dead bodies, so many injured, let me stretch out my hand in the name of the Church that loves so much her children, in the name of the God who promised to reward those who It wipes the tears of the painful sufferer. You, for your brothers, endanger your life, but up there, in heaven, there is one who sees you, and whoever should not have already forgotten your sacrifice, however, he does not forget you and your name He wrote in the book of benefactors of languishing humanity.
Among the brave people I like to mention especially the names of Ceriolo Tobia, Torre Giovanni, Lepreri Gio Batta and many more.
Shortly after 9, twenty-five infantry soldiers of the 26th regiment arrived, led by Lieutenant Mattei. They came to bring some help. Do I have to say it? It would be better not to have come, we would not weep 21 corpses still lying under the ruins.
As soon as the soldiers arrived, the sentinels were placed so that nobody could enter the country again. The soldiers who showed wanting to do everything they didn’t do anything...
The soldiers came from others of which one part stopped short and others for a long time. Even those would have been better not to have ever ... In those early days, there were many thefts, so bloody and cheeky that the villagers did not know and perhaps they will never know the origin.
In addition to the infantry soldiers, there were also 50 soldiers who said they came to drop the deadly houses and unload the corpses. They were accompanied by music to the station.
One who deserves true praise is the firefighters of Sanpierdarena, who made valuable prodigies and saved so many of our goods …
It came the evening of that terrible day: where will 800 and more people sleep? How will they be able to recover from the cold of the season?
The most skilled and especially those who had been sold were building shacks. In the hurry to build, without poles and with accessory tents, imagine who can build those barracks, yet it seemed so much manna, and when it was night, all were attended.
They took refuge in ten, twenty by tent, no matter if they had a different family. The Holy Rosary was recited to the poor dead ... This Rosary probably was never recited by so many, and with so much devotion.
That night no one slept, everyone had to tell their own story, all crying to their dear, a silent cry interrupted by sobs ... And then who could sleep, if all the moments heard new earthquake shakes?
Someone rested for a few moments, but he woke up suddenly to join others who did not get tired of praying, asking God for mercy and forgiveness, and suspending the terrible punishment.
As soon as the first light came on we all got up and as we instinctively ran to face our crumbling houses. We did not believe in ourselves, it seemed to us that those houses would be back in their place, it seemed to us that those we weeping dead were there to wait and we did not have a bad dream ... but unfortunately it was not a dream but a Sad reality ... The bell tower clock was up, mute, which marked the fateful day of the day ... mute was the sacred brass that used to call people to the sacred functions of the morning, mute was the whole country …
In each person you met you saw a sore face, and those bulging eyes were pretty bad enough for the bad night. The young men seemed to have lost the courage of the day before, the daughters went with their boss, the women went praying crying again, some said to the children I do not know what things are.
The younger, so age-old and unreflective age, seemed so many of the ages of eighty, and no, did not need sermons to invite them to be good ... hunger began to begin. The cry of alarm was first given by the infants, extended to the more grandchildren and certain pale adult faces were not just terror.
At that time, a committee of gentlemen belonging to the charity committee of San Remo, with the heads of the Marchese Spinola, Marchese del Castillo, Cav. Zirio and others whose name escapes me, who put at our disposal the good sum of 500 lire, saying, with this sum, we will help the early needs of the population, we will think to provide it with bread and pasta ... As they said they did and, A few hours later, wagons loaded with bread, pasta, wine, meat etc and so on came. He immediately made his distribution, and all of us, sent a prayer to heaven for our Benefactors.
Thank you Gentlemen of San Remo and thank you, and thank you all the Italian cities: Genoa, Turin, Milan, Ancona, and many others who did charity wonders to relieve the great misfortune that deceived us and all of Liguria. Yes, I go back to saying that everyone has written the name in the Divine Heart of Jesus and has never been deleted. Such a vote sincerely departs from my heart, sincere part from the heart of all my dear and unhappy parishioners, and the Divine Heart will certainly endure it because the prayers of the grateful are to him.
Not only on that day, but for almost two months, the population was kept at the expense of public charity, without counting the many clothing items, blankets etc. That everyone had in quantity.
Well understood that so much grace of God did not come only from San Remo, but as I said above, from all parts of Italy. I would miss my duty if I did not mention the Baron Podestà Andrea Mayor of Genoa with all due respect for everything he did for us through the gentleman Mr. Luca Cresta his municipal employee; And Mr. Arnaldi Vincenzo our Provincial Councilor. After all, what will be our gratitude? For those who are generous, that they have sunk us, nevertheless, the same needs arise ... Yes, or the Heart of Jesus, reward the generous. You alone, you can and bless everyone in the soul and in the body, write the name in your Divine Heart, and that never again be canceled ... Such a vote is sincere and unanimous part of the heart of all of us, And the Heart of Jesus hears it, for He is gracious and accepts the prayers of the grateful
Here I ask a question, what would it have been of us if public charity had been short of our cry of sorrow? I don’t know…
The earthquake not only deprived us of many of our loved ones, but we lost all of our masses, wine, oil, money, linen and so on. We all ran away with that little stuff we wore, and many with the clean shirt and without a penny.
Those who came to the scene of the disaster, besides carrying the reliefs, said, and repeated. People need to return to their jobs. Since the advice was given by well-intentioned people, we must thank them. But to those who knew Bussana, that council seemed an affront. The Bussanesi were always industrious and industrious people of work, just take a look at their vast territory, all cultivated to look like a garden, to understand that they do not need to be excited at work.
If the people stayed for nearly a month, they must be attributed to the terror they were always invaded, and the desire to see if it was possible to save that little of them well buried under the ruins. I will say more than once, having spoken to myself with some of the most laborious and saying (I speak after twenty days) "now you could start working," they answered, "it is useless, we cannot, our arms have stiffened them , And the will cannot persuade us as we see certain work necessary ... "
And it was true. There, too, there was not a case of mental alienation, that is, of euphemism, but the laziness was general and lasted a long time. What if, in addition to this, the continuous earthquake shakes that were heard and then the false rumors that were spreading continuously, there is always an additional reason to legitimize what in other times it would be called disgrace.
I talked of false rumors and confessed that they hurt us so much. I will only tell a fact. One evening the news was that during the night it would have made such an earthquake that the sea would go up to Bussana, albeit very high above sea level, and that we would be dead drowned. The news came at a glance at a time. Those who had their minds a little more free did not even think of discussing the false alarm, but unfortunately many believed it, and they passed a very bad quarter of an hour. In fact, or it was wind, or noise of the agitated sea, it is that, at midnight, a dark, elongated noise was heard; So many came out of the tents shouting, "poor we, we are all dead, the sea mounts to Bussana, our poor sons, it was better to die under the earthquake ...".
The reader who reads such a history will probably laugh at such daring and confess that he does not have all the wrongs, but whoever is in the midst of those agitated minds does not laugh, he raised his eyes tearfully to the sky and "Lord," he said, "when will this peace be my Dear population, these people already so unhappy? "
From Tendoples to Shacks - Bishop Blessed Ambrogio Raggio and Minister Genala visits - A new terrible scare: the shock of 11th March - Discussions and projects about new Bussana
The 24th was going on like the 23rd when they brought the news that a corpse had been discovered and that it had been carried with the others at the oratory of the country.
They reported that they had found it with two, three faces on him, crushed so they should recognize him from the garments he wore. Then we all looked at each other face, and we lowered our eyes to the ground for anguish.
The next day, a good news made everyone a bit animated and happy.
Among the dead we had already counted an entire family whose house was torn ... to the ground ... For those who know them I speak about family Soleri Giuseppina widow Ceriolo. Instead, it was not so, Giuseppina and her 5 or 6 year old daughter could save themselves after being more than fifty hours under the ruins. Here I let her tell her story. "When the earthquake was heard," she said, "I was still in bed with my two daughters Romana and Antonietta. I was on the side of the bed, Romana was in the middle and Antonietta near the wall. I just got up to get up, but I just had time to grab Little Antonietta that as much as the house collapsed and I found myself literally covered with stones with my daughter and only had my face free and so much air to live. We could not move in any way when another shake came and made us sink again. It was fortunate that we rolled down and ended up in a room where we were perfectly free, but completely in the dark. "
"Then I began to touch with my hands to guess where I was. I found a closet and judged we were at Novella's house, and we were in fact. In that wardrobe I found dresses for women, I dressed completely, as well as I dressed my daughter. After I gathered all the clothes and other items that were there to deliver them to the masters, even if they were still alive. "
I started crying out for help, but who could hear me? ... My daughter was quiet, she did not know the danger, she never wept, never asked to eat, and in the 50 hours we were only buried twice asked me to drink. I answered her calmly, we have to die, daughter, but drink. "
"But while I was courageous, it seemed to me that a voice would say to my ear, you will not die. I still felt shaken, I felt homes that broke. Finally I made a decisive resolution. Shouting is useless, I said, you have to act. I was very tired and did not feel like standing anymore but I did not want to die . I began to move stones to open a passage.
"When I was tired of being unable to do so, I rested, and then back on. I worked for hours and hours ... I took a stone and came down four ... I did not feel sorry for this, and always recommending to my good angel and the holy souls of the Purgatory I worked continuously until I saw a little light ... ... now I felt just exhausted ... I put other stones, I made a hole, I threw out the clothes I had collected, I passed my daughter Antonietta before and then, I went out myself and sat on a stone, There I stayed for an hour and a half always shouting and calling for help, for I was intruded by the cold, and in a state I could not move anymore. But no one felt it. "
Hours and hours passed. Finally someone heard me and thank God I was taken to safety. "
One thing worthy of note is the cold blood with which Josephine in the early days told her story, and how she saw the other three children dead, and how she was splashed by their blood,.. now, however, she not only does not tell her story any more, but she cries to hear someone speak about these facts.
The prodigious salvation of Mrs Soleri put a bit of pleasure and animation in our midst, but it was a matter
of a few minutes, because immediately after all, an anguished doubt came to everyone. The dead, we say, are 54, so far we have found only 20 corpses, who assures us that under our ruins do not let our other compatriots still live? And ask for help?
"Let's go to work" - screamed from all sides - "let's go and dig our brothers." And after asking for a thousand permits, a brave courageous commuter started toward the rocks ...
When they were in the square, a voice was heard; Flee! the bell tower is coming down. The view of the ruins ... that scary cry ... the authority of those who issued it caused a general fright. We fled and came back to the Parrish vineyard. From there, everyone's eyes spied on the fall of the bell tower and already seemed to hear the horrible scum. "Wide" - shouted, - wide, comes down the bell tower ... Oh poor us ... Falls ... Falls ... "No, it does not fall," swearing the others - is more right than you, and will stand more than us all ... "Listen, hear, that the man of science has spoken ... ... "I go, safe, and mount to move the bells" ... "Silence" - others said - we are here to do Words and dear ones ask for help, let us fall really, and do not talk anymore. " "Let it fall, Battista said well, let's go get a cannon" ... "no, let's jump with a mines" ... "mine!
It was a small comedy, and it was enough. But I was tempted to say that it was a bad comedy. Without that cry of alarm he would have gone to work, perhaps he would have saved somebody again, and so we would not have to weep yet twenty corps under the ruins, and instead, for that day nothing was done. Who issued that scary cry? I do not want to know it ... Did he really see the bell tower went off. I just say that cry was fatal, and who pronounced it was not one of Bussana.
On the morning of the 25th day, suddenly arrived in Bussana our beloved Bishop Tommaso dei Marchesi Reggio. It was the arrival of a father among his sons. We strapped all around Him to ask him blessings to us, to our wounded, to our dead. As a true father he blessed us, comforted us with his warm word, encouraged us to resign and hope, left us abundant relief, and after visiting our ruins, our wounded, blessed us all. Not happy yet, after a few days he sent Rev.mo D. Lagorio Prevosto from the Cathedral of Ventimiglia to gather as many orphans were in Bussana so as to place them in convenient places, and some time ago he wanted to return to Bussana in order to better see and be better informed Of our lives.
Beyond the visit of the bishop we had that of many authorities, many of whom only came to see. However, I will never forget the visit made by the Minister of Public Works, Mr Genala. That high dignitary appeared visibly moved, and I'm sure he made efforts to not cry. He wanted to see all the wounded one by one, wanted to see all of our ruins, wanted to be informed of everything and gave very good orders and arrangements. On leaving he said these words: "I have already seen ruins, but a destruction like here, in Bussana, I never saw."
The evening of this same day was a melancholy evening. It spilled a cold air that flipped you, and the sky threatened abundant rain. Far away, it was heard that the thunder mourned and fluttered in the deep valleys. The darkness of the night, the confusion of nature, and the events of the day had generated a certain sadness …
When the darkness was over, all of the countrymen and a team of railroad men came to help us, led by the good engineer Ardizzone of Bra, who was seen starting at the oratory of the country and getting out in the fours carrying a corpse. They came to store it on a wagon. The first corpse followed a second and then a third one ... and when the chariot was over, another body was searched and dead corpses, dead corpses ... men ... women ... young ... daughters ... all in bulk one on the other ... Terminated The solemn ceremony, we went to the cemetery. I say alone because I begged people not to come to the cemetery, so I did not increase the scare and the pain, I suggested. Instead, to retire to recite the Rosary for the poor dead.
The few men I called to fire with funeral lanterns, those scenes of death, recited the miserere with me. We repeated it repeatedly, with a voice that is getting weaker and sad ... Ah that bad thing was that, that bad to go! ... At the graveyard, the pious who carried the cart by hand pulled one out of one of those dear corpses and put them All together in a common pit ... scattered on their bodies a lot of lime ... ended up covering them with earth and then licked again ... Then we kneel all over that sacred ditch, we sang a solemn De profundis ... I assure that the last "requiescant in pace, "I said very emotionally, as moved, from the depths of the heart were all, and I was assured that I had heard how the people answered" Amen. "
We retired to our tents, but for that night, we slept very little.
The wind blew strong, carried away the canvases of our tents, and how much rain….
It is easy to understand how it was a real utopia to challenge the extravagances of the month of March, with that breed of dwellings. For one night, for two nights, for three nights he pulled, but he had to make up for such a disadvantage.
People got sick at ten per day, and someone was already dead for pneumonia. But how to fix it? Certainly it was not so easy to do that as it is said, and I do not know until we have been under those curtains if the generosity of Mr. Ceriani Santino of Ventimiglia, married to a certain Calvin of Bussana, had not given us 40 tapered tents Those who use the officers when I'm in the field.
Those tents seemed so much for those who could have one. Are we really okay? Of course, much better! In the same way that, to the poor man, addicted to sleeping in the barns, to become a king when he could sleep on a soft mattress, so we called us happy when we saw him safe from the winds and the rains.
The reader sees what kind of happiness was ours. In each tent there were 12 - 15 - 20 people and everyone slept in clothes. If it was raining it was necessary to stay in the whole day, the same if it was windy. And the danger of a fire? And the kitchens ... Oh, how many times had to spend whole days with a bit of dry bread so you could not fire the fire! ... And you needed more ... But you had to resign ... Under the similar tents the luckiest were just thirty or so For forty days, since the San Remo Circondary Committee had ordered that many wooden shacks be built, for a sum of twenty thousand lire. As one was completed, it was soon occupied by one or two families.
Then contentment came to a standstill, and we were lucky enough to be in 5 to 7 people and 8 in a cabin measuring four meters for four and having a thousand drawbacks, we were subjected to a
thousand privations. And we were lucky to say, that a few days before we all had a very clean home, where we had all the comfortable accessories to life.
I said that the shacks presented and still have a thousand drawbacks, such as the lack of latrines. How to Provide Public Hygiene? How to get rid of moisture? ... More than once we were obliged to keep the rain cover on our open bed so as not to bathe us completely, and if, as it could not be repaired, so many disadvantages did not repair, the fault is not only a complete defect of the pension but a bit of a hurry with whom the shacks had to be built. Secondly, when you have a populace behind you and tell you to do it soon, you do not have time to think so comfortably and to overcome so many inconveniences.
After thinking of providing a shack for the population it was imperative that he was planning to put up some sacred-church for sacred functions.
For three months or more, on public holidays, the functions were in open country. On Sunday, the Sacristy raised four poles, wrapping them in white, stretching four canvases, even white ones, carrying a coffee table, putting on sacred stone, tablecloths, a small crucifix, lighting two candles, and there it celebrated the Holy Mass. The faithful were obliged to stay outdoors, listening to the sun, the wind, the rain ... Oh how many times he wept to see us reduced to such a miserable state, we, that we had such a beautiful church and a few months before we had So many sacrifices to beautify it …
Finally, however, our vows were heard and our bishop, who had been so interested in us, provided us with the magnificent shack-church we have now and which is capable of about 300 people. Are we happy? Not that we are not, we want a church that is more conformable to our needs, wider, more beautiful, more decent, better suited to the aspirations of our heart. When can we all meet again at the foot of the altar? In this we put ourselves in full confidence in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, You Only, You Know, You Only Can Do Our Desires.
During the three months in which we were without a church, SS. Sacramento was kept in the small but clean chapel of that good priest who is Rev. Comanedi Vincenzo Guglielmo, and there is also celebration of Holy Mass every morning, in weekdays and many other functions were done.
Before ending this narrative of our misfortunes and our weeping, I cannot pass the day of 11th March in silence, where a very strong earthquake occurred, which lasted several seconds. From February 23rd, many shocks were heard, but read so that the people who had heard the first did not care much more, and since not everyone noticed them, so they did not care much, and pulled themselves forward . However, the 11th March, which took place around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, was generally heard, and I can say that everyone was trembling, especially those in the country.
The scene, however, was more painful in the two smaller houses at the hospital. Those poor wounded were so scared that everyone stood up and, at some point, was on the door. That view ... those wounded in so many sheets ... those screams of scare ... the screams of everyone, were something terrible and terrible ... and I believe that as long as we talk about the February 23rd earthquake, we will also talk about the earthquake of Friday eleven March. The wounded were so scared that they said they no longer wanted to enter the hospital, ready to sleep in the open air. And because unfortunately they were right, various shacks were unloaded and transported there. We will be worse, they say, we will suffer the cold, but, at least, we will sleep quietly.
Unhappy, not even there they were quiet! ... One day, having fired two shacks and burnt completely, I was starting to get up again, and pass another bad quarter of an hour
And now the end. Perhaps there are still so many things to say, and perhaps I would do well to say so, our children, know what days their fathers passed, and how their interests were cared for, but I prefer to silence. Many things will be handed down to their memory by others, many will pass off offspring. Rather before I finish I ask a question and ask what will be our future? The future of our dear country? I do not know, and I do not really know, and if I had to judge from the present, I should make some bad predictions.
As for the population, it is useless to say it, has spent a bad summer, and it has really passed it in the midst of deprivations of all sorts, and now, you see before a worse winter, without knowing when it will end its sorrows , When you can get out of the incommode cabins in which you live, and return home where you would better stay.
And that is how we do not know when we can get home because we do not know when we can get home.
But the Heart of Jesus will help us!
Bussana, the dear place that saw us all born, is destroyed so it would be a utopia to think of restoring it, as it is a utopia to think it is always in the barracks. So? …
The question of rebuilding a new country naturally arisen shortly after February 23rd, and since, from then on, everyone wanted to say his, unfortunately often selfish, then the opinions were divided into four main ways.
There were those who wanted to replay Bussana in the region called Cormegne, others in the region called Pianetti, others in the same place where it lies lying towards the glue and others in the Cable of the Marines.
Which of these four positions will be the best? ... I do not think fit to solve the issue and then leave it blank, and I will do appreciation.
As for the Cormegne region (it seems strange to have proposed it, and although the Pianetti region is better under every relationship, it seems to me that the real question should be formulated as follows: rebuilding Bussana in the place where it is now Or where 700 years ago it was on the head of the marinas.
Both of these positions of ambition have many advantages and many drawbacks. Of course the location where Bussana is at the present is great, we have a salubrious air, plenty of water, a comfortable carriageway. We have many houses of which the stables are in excellent condition, and the one that mounts, we have all the materials in the place, and in such quantity that we can make two bushes. We have the church in a state that ten, twelve, fifteen thousand lire makes it better than it was before. After all, we are in the very center of our territory, which should not be despised, so that if the houses of the rocks and all those of the ties that were damaged and seriously repaired the houses were not so badly destroyed, and if They would make new ones where now there are shacks, under the carriageway at Garibaldi's house, I certainly say that it would not be a bad idea. Under the guidance of a good engineer you could do a good job, more than any other project.
I said that you should destroy the rocks and all the houses that have fallen to the ground, now I wonder, all this is it possible? There are my fears, that is, many of them are able to repair their home to the best, or worse, and prepare the grave for their children …
What about the region called Pianetti. The location is not graceful, it is quite central, closer to the sea, lined with a carriageway, not too exposed to the winds. How many expenses, however, how many! ... It will be necessary to bring all materials, water, open new roads, and do everything from plant, house, church, common etc. And surely we will send to our post-mortem debts, and God does not want Bussana to become all the property of those banking institutes which under the law for the injured will assume the task of giving us the sums needed to rebuild our country, Interest of 2.74% and 2.80% ...!
Others finally want Bussana to resurface where it was 700 years ago, that is, in the Cable of the Marine, indeed the City Hall has already approved such a location, and have already done all the studies.
It'll be fine? First, we are too far off our territory. The proponents of this region of the head of the sea speak of such a place with much emphasis and must say that they do not think badly. Going to the sea, they say, we approach the big centers, we go to a magnificent position and it is true; They say that opening the streets the distance from our lands will be more apparent than real, and this too, in part, is true; They say that the air will be great, and maybe that will be true; They say that Bussana will become a place where we will easily have a colony of strangers who will, over time, spend the winter.
Will the great benefits that hopeful of the head of the Marine Department, even though they admit it, will respond equally to the morality of the population in our future Bussana? The undersigned not only fears but deeply doubts and prays strongly and makes vows not to be a prophet.
Don Francesco Lombardi