No 13    November 1992   page 7

Torricella Peligna and RAI [1]

The Relay-booster at Madonna del Roseto
TV distributor for many decades

By Gabriele Follacchio

I believe that the TV relay-booster for Torricella Peligna is a little like the flower in the buttonhole of the homonymous village, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful in the Sangro-Aventino valley. With its 3,000 inhabitants, or thereabouts, many years of history and an enviable position at the foot of the Mother Maiella, yet just a jump away from calm Adriatic, it also holds the prerogative of having been chosen for the site of a relay booster for RAI.

Because the Madonna del Roseto is situated in an enviable locality geographically, at a height of 900 metres above sea level, RAI sited its relay booster there in the 1960’s, to enable television programmes to reach Torricella Peligna and beyond, to Palena, Lettopalena, Taranta Peligna, Colledimacine, Lama dei Peligni and Civitella Messer Raimondo.

The configuration of the deep Abruzzan valleys and the geological composition of the surrounding mountains necessitated the positioning of relay-boosters at great heights, and required special adaptations due to the realities of interference and reflection, present in any locality. Thus the noble small Peligna Village found itself included in the network of relay-boosting establishments organised to diffuse national programming, and to be separate yet up-to-date within the limits of the region.

Torricella Peligna’s relay-booster – that diffuses the signal coming from RAI’s regional headquarters at Pescara –in reality helps maintain an organic relationship with the local population; it gives a direct and immediate link with the most significant expressions of the region, positively affirming a pluralism that spreads its roots in the history of the region and in the traditions of its people.

Since January 1954, Television has enabled us to become spectators of facts that have passed and are will pass into history. Who could ever forget that night between the 20th and 21st of July 1969, defined as “the night of the Moon”? Millions of Italians watched the landing of man on the moon for very many hours. Live from the Space Centre at Houston, we were able to see the footprint that Armstrong left on the no-longer uncontaminated ground of our satellite. Neither, sadly, can we forget the long agony of Vermicino[3] where on 10th June 1981, a nightmare ended in tragedy. Even in that case, television was in the foreground and for the first time was given some of the blame. They broadcast the tragic events live, even the last attempts to pluck little Alfredino Rampi, only 6 years old, from the slimy mud in an artesian well which was slowly sucking him down.

Torricella Peligna has always had a strong link with RAI through one of radio’s most famous journalists: Antonio Piccone Stella[4], who was born in Torricella about 86 years ago and has lived in Rome for many years. In a recent interview, the wonderful Director of Radio Giornale (Radio News) in the 1950’s, said “All the world is one town and every town is Torricella Peligna” - to which he returns every August to breathe a breath of the air of his birth.

Translator's Notes:

[1] RAI – Radio audizione Italiane = Italian Broadcasting Corporation

[2] Madonna del Roseto – Madonna of the Roses (or of the Rose-bushes). This is a sanctuary near Torricella, built in 1552, the goal of pilgrimages on Easter Monday and on the last Saturday in May. Inside there is a marvellous painting of Christ on the Cross and a small statue of Mary with the Child Jesus, considered miraculous by pilgrims.
see :-
The Madonna of the Roses, One of the Seven Miraculous Madonnas
and :- Places to See

[3] Vermicino – came to the attention of the world, when a small boy, Alfredo Rampino, fell into a well at Vermicino near Rome and became wedged in the confined space underground. Frantic but eventually unsuccessful attempts were made to save him and the whole event was broadcast live around the world by the Television Networks. One good thing came out of this tragedy - the huge outpouring of public sympathy opened the way for the development in Italy of a civil protection programme with public funding for future emergencies of whatever scale.

[4] Antonio Piccone Stella - born in Torricella 12th December 1905 – died ....
the first RAI Director and its Director of Journalistic services from 1946 to 1962.
See also :- Notable Persons
and :- Antonio Piccone Stella

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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