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LA STAMPA

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


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