When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

As Rome Recovers From Record Blizzard, Nearby Small Towns Still Snowed In, Isolated

As a cold snap covers much of Europe, the Italian capital was hit with record snowfall over the weekend, but is largely cleared of major disruptions. But surrounding towns, which were hit with even more snow and strong winds, have been largely cut off fro

Rome was hit with its first major snow storm in 26 years (msako23)
Rome was hit with its first major snow storm in 26 years (msako23)
Niccolò Zancan

SAN VITO ROMANO - Lost dogs wander by as a few crows pick around at a small stretch of road cleared of snow. By what's most striking is the utter silence amid the pine trees and collapsed electricity lines across the Aniene valley. Two days and two nights have produced one full meter of snow, shutting off this stretch of countryside just east of Rome and knocking out power, as locals wait impatiently for the first emergency workers to arrive.

As Rome recovered from its first major snowstorm in a generation, nearby were forgotten towns: Sambuci, Colle Passero, Ciciliano, San Vito Romano. These places of vineyards, olive trees and shepherds like Mauro Rossi in the isolated village of Pisoniano who lost all his lambs under the collapsed roof of his farmhouse. But he must wait for someone to come and help, since he cannot dig out the ruins all by himself. "But no one is coming here, no one!" his friend Pietro D'Orazzi shouts. "We can't even go to buy some food. The bread is finished. Is this possible in 2012?"

We meet him on a road where it is still possible to walk by. He is trying to get to a neighbor, Anna, who needs help with her dialysis treatment. "We need to hurry up, otherwise…"

No light, no heating, no mobile phones. People sleeping beside their stoves and fireplaces. Giulio Boschi, a 73-year-old former broker, slept under nine blankets: "The water is finished too, damn it!"

Thirty-two little villages that are typically just a short drive from the capital, but are now cut off from everything. Not far from San Vito, on the provincial road covered with snow and fallen branches, three young Romanians, Ciprian, Ovidio and Lupu, are trying to open a passage with their bare hands. "Tomorrow we need to work, we can't lose a working day," they tell us.

Beyond the roadway, just to look at it, the landscape appears enchanted. Immaculate forests. The scent of fresh air. But only the ones who can go away when night falls can see the poetry in the scenery. "We are freezing" says wine merchant Guido Corradini. "For the past two days, we've been forced to manage everything in the old-fashioned way".

Several kids gather outside, each of them busy shoveling. "The worst thing is that we've lost many trees. The best thing is skipping school," says 16-year-old Alessandro Denni. They are organizing groups of people to reach other villages, friends or relatives, where they can find hot water for a much-needed shower.

Pietro Moscardini is the mayor of Vallinfreda, but he also spent a 35-year career working for Italy's Civil Protection agency. He is not impressed by the response to this emergency. "We need means. We need money. The coordination concerning this emergency has been inefficient," he says bitterly. "This is the poorest part of the Lazio region, a land forgotten by God and by man. That's why we always have to with what we've got."

Read more from La Stampa in Italian

Photo - Msako23

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest