To put it lightly it's been a difficult weekend for my adopted country. Two completely different events have rocked the country. During a lazy Saturday morning whilst I was still in my pyjamas I read on twitter that a bomb had exploded outside a school in Brindisi, Puglia (the heel of the boot). A 16 year old girl, Melissa Bassi, was killed. Her funeral was held today. Other pupils were injured, five are still in hospital with one in a critical condition. The blame was immediately placed on the pugliese mafia, but their responsibility is now being played down by police. CCTV cameras have caught the person who police believe to be responsible for the bombing, a 50-55 year old caucasian man who appears to be pointing a remote control to detonate the bomb which was left outside the school gates. It shook the entire country, and many demonstrations were held in schools and in piazzas up and down the peninsula to show solidariety with the people of Brindisi.
Sunday morning around 4am I, and most of northern Italy, was woken up by an earthquake. It was the strongest one I'd ever felt. Somehow I managed to get back to sleep, and it wasn't until I woke up again at 8 and turned on the radio that I heard about the damage that it had done. The epicentre was down near Modena, around 135 miles from Milan, and was 6.0 on the Richter scale. To put that in perspective, the earthquake that devastated Aquila in April 2009 was 6.3 on the Richter scale. I was shaken, but unhurt. But many areas around Modena and Bologna were hit hard. I saw shocking images on the tv of crumbled buildings and churches, people who had been evacuated from their homes, and the sad news of the victims. Seven people were killed, four of which were factory workers doing the night shift. The factory fell down around them. The government's expected to declare a state of emergency tomorrow, and aftershocks continue to affect the area. We even feel them up here in Milan.
I was almost glad to see Monday arrive, a new week which would end the horrific weekend Italy has experienced.