Torricella, November 2004

Various Items of News

By Antonio Piccoli

Last week I was in Torricella for the commemoration of the "dead" (All Souls’ Day). The weather was beautiful. In Northern Italy it was raining and was very cold, but in the Centre and South of Italy, with the Sirocco coming from Africa, there was a comfortably warm temperature. On the 31st October at midday it was 23°C. In the evening it seemed like a July evening with people taking a stroll along the Corso. This heat is certainly very strange. The experts said that we have not had such high temperatures as these since 1860.

Now whenever I go to Torricella, I also have the idea of gathering news in order to send it on to you via our web site.

And this time there was a lot of news.

The first is very sad. As soon as I arrived they told me that Camillo Palizzi, who was 75, and who was known to many of you, the husband of Cesarina the hairdresser and father of Nicolino who lives in Rome, had had a stroke on 29th October. His wife had found him unconscious on the ground. He was transferred as an emergency to the Hospital in Pescara, but unfortunately he didn’t make it and died there the next day. The funeral was on the 31st. Ever so many people attended it, at least 400 amongst relatives and friends. The Holy Mass was conducted by three priests, Don Peppino the parish priest of Torricella, Don Giustino Rossi, a Benedictine Father and Don Giuliano Palizzi, a Salesian[1] Father, Director of the Salesian Institute in Turin, a relative of Camillo Palizzi, who came back especially for the funeral. Don Giuliano gave the funeral sermon and drew a very sweet and touching portrait of Camillo, relating various anecdotes (about his life) and he said that Camillo was a Torricellan "personality", who greatly loved his village.

The church was packed out in every order and place, but only in the central nave and the one on the right. That on the left is still cordoned off because of the problems due to the damage to the arch, the presence of which was already known to us. The damage is still there and it seems to have not become any worse. The problem is that absolutely no work has been done and it seems that no-one is making any movement (to this end). Everybody would like to do something to help and to give their own financial contribution, but everyone is waiting for the priest to undertake the organisation of the various phases of the restoration. The first thing that needs to be done is to get a technical survey to determine the causes of the damage, because whilst some of the damage is structural, due to subsidence probably of the façade, other damage is due to deterioration due to infiltration of water from the roof; then various things need to happen, including: a study of the best method of restoration and consolidation so that the Belle Arti (Public Arts Commission) will approve; obtain an estimate of costs; invite several firms to compete in submitting their tenders; and then to study how best to encourage the various Public Bodies to help with funding (The Abruzzo Region, the Province of Chieti, the Mountain Community, the Town Hall of Torricella, the Savings Bank and others). Then if the finances were not sufficient one knows that Torricellans, both those who live in Torricella and those who live abroad, wouldn’t need to be told twice to contribute towards the expenses.

News about Public Works.

When one of us returns to the village, as soon as we see a friend the first question we ask is "what are they saying?"

And certainly in a very short while we are told all about everything from politics to the various happenings.

Obviously one cannot be one hundred per cent certain that all the news is true and since investigations would be needed, for some of this news it is best to use the conditional tense.

It is rumoured that already there are movements afoot to draw up the electoral lists for the forthcoming municipal elections that will take place next spring. It would seem that the outgoing mayor, Graziano Zacchigna, who is from Pescara but is married to a lady from Torricella, is getting ready to stand again.

This is definitely an argument that will hold sway in Torricella for many months even after the elections. Election of the mayor in Torricella has always provoked strong feelings. At the last bout it was frightening to see how much the two sides fought. Even today the "minority" fights over everything. I read a manifesto on their notice board in which they denounced several of the Administration’s accounts for being in the red. You should be aware that the leader of the "minority", Davide Piccoli, the ex-mayor, is the brother-in-law of the present mayor, Graziano Zacchigna. That is Graziano’s wife is Davide’s sister. Thus other than just politics, there is also a battle within their family, and as we have seen over these past four years it is a very bitter one.

There are three important public works in progress.

  • The football pitch in the sports field is being lengthened. This has been financed by the Abruzzo Region under the national law concerning land reclamation works due to hydro-geological disorders. On the uphill side of the old sports field there has always been a zone prone to landslips, in fact that area is called "dei fossi" (the pits or holes), to indicate that the area is always in movement forming holes and puddles.

Already about twenty years ago deep drainage works were carried out to prevent landslides, using containment poles. Now the work planned is limited to the side of the field nearest to the mountain. A bulkhead has been formed, with poles having large diameter drill holes, anchored into the earth at the back with braces. The cost of this contract is €174,792.00. This work commenced on 23rd February 2004 and was supposed to have been completed by October. At the moment, however, they are still working on the base of the field but hope to be able to play there again by the spring.

There are two football teams in Torricella, the first, A.S.Torricella, is in the second league and currently they mostly go to play at the sports field at Montenero. The second team, called Torricella Athletic, was only formed last year splitting off from the first team, they play in the third league, the bottom league, and go to play at the sports field at Gessopalena.

  • Work is being carried out to increase the value of the village’s pine grove. They are redoing the four ramps of the stairs leading to the Monumento ai Caduti (Monument to the Fallen). This work is financed by the Ministry of Finance under a national programme for local development. The cost of the work is €44,000.00 the work began in October and should be finished by March 2005. This work was certainly needed as the entire staircase was breaking up.
  • Finally they are carrying out works to enlarge the cemetery. Next to the enclosing wall on the right they are creating another area for the cemetery, almost half as big as the present one. They have already built two buildings with 5 levels of "colombari[2]". The cost of this work is €140,000.00 and it is being carried out by the firm Di Marino (Vascianonne) of Torricella. This work commenced in August and should be completed within eight months.

    Translator's notes:

    [1] Salesian – a religious congregation founded by San Giovanni Bosco in 1859 for educating and instructing young people.

    [2] Columbarium - this may be a vault lined with burial niches, or in modern Italian cemeteries these are wall-like structures in the open air, built with row upon row of "pigeon-holes" or niches in layers, one upon the other, in long rows, in the compartments of which they place either the bones or an urn containing the ashes.



  Work to increase the value of the village’s pine grove. Resurfacing of the staircase ramps at the Monument to the Fallen (Monumento ai Caduti).





Strengthening works for the landslip area on the side nearer to the mountain of the sports field’s football pitch.

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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