MOST OF THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN BY A FRIEND WHO VISITED
RIPABOTTONI IN 2008 -THANKS JESSE - ONLY THE LAST SEVEN
CAME FROM MY FILES - THEY ARE FAVORITES. MANY BUILDINGS
IN RIPABOTTONI ARE STILL UNDERGOING REPAIR SINCE THE
EARTHQUAKE. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO READ THE WORDS ON
RIPABOTTONI, IT MEANS A LOT. MY WISH IS TO SEE THAT
VILLAGE BEFORE I AM TOO OLD TO ENJOY!
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On October 31 and November 1, 2002, two magnitude Mw 5.7 earthquakes struck the rural Molise region in southeastern Italy killing 30
people, 27 of whom were children trapped in the collapse of an elementary school. In 1998 the area was declared a medium
seismicity zone, but an administrative delay in updating the seismic zonation meant that up until the time of the earthquake,
there were no seismic requirements for new construction—construction that included a 2002 second-story addition to the school that
collapsed. The emergency response and recovery planning following the earthquake were notable for the technical sophistication and
abundant government resources that have been applied, including the building of a prefabricated temporary village.
IN THE BEGINNING
Italy is a relatively small country whose land mass is one-quarter that of the province of Ontario. Despite its small size it has
a population of almost 60 million, about twice the population of all of Canada. Running through the centre from north to
south are the Apennine Mountains which separate the east from the west and provide a magnificent landscape of valleys and
peaks where many small towns and villages have been established since very ancient times. Ripabottoni is one of those
picturesque places nestled in the high hills of the Molise region situated south and east of Rome. It is from here that our
Sauro roots were born.
Ripabottoni is 904 metres above sea level. Archeological evidence indicates that settlements have existed there since the days of
the Roman Empire. The present site dates back to the Middle Ages when City States fought for territory. This region came
under the rule of the city of Naples.
In the mid 1800s, Ripabottoni boasted a population of about 4,000 people, most of them peasants who worked the land on the
mountain slopes surrounding the town. They would more than likely have grazed sheep and goats nearby. The town contained no
shops, relying on traveling merchants who sold their goods on regular visits to the town. Even though today the few residents
that remain have cars and go to larger neighbouring towns to do their major shopping, merchants still visit on a regular basis
to offer their wares.
As with any agricultural community, the rhythm of life in Ripabottoni followed the seasons. This pattern continued uninterrupted
until recent years. There have always been few incentives for residents of Ripabottoni to remain in their place of birth.
Most have migrated to other parts of Italy or abroad with a large number relocating to the United States and Canada. Most of
the former Ripabottonesi in Canada are in Montreal. To sustain ties to their cherished little homeland, many of them
communicate through a group in Montreal. Today there are only 315 families comprising 752 permanent residents in Ripabottoni.
Many more come just for weekends and holidays looking for a retreat from urban life, which they enjoyed until disaster struck in 2002.
On October 31 and November 1, 2002, a devastating earthquake hit Ripabottoni which damaged a large part of the town. I visited in
April 2003, it was a cold, wet, gray, snowy day which perfectly reflected the atmosphere in this previously idyllic little
mountain town. There were very few people about. Cracked and broken buildings blocked our passage. There was scaffolding
already in place holding up the church and other buildings. A walk about the town seemed uninviting. I didn’t stay long
and left with a sad heart.
The information on this paage came from a SAURO distant cousin in the USA -
THE HOME OF OUR ANCESTORS
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