~ Romancing Italy

Aug 26, 2010

The water is crystal clear, the round stones the line the bottom easily visible. We had settled down for a relaxing morning, me reading and A soaking in the hot sun when we heard the rumble of an engine approaching. Not a boat, that would have been normal, but from above.

A blue plane with 'Polizia' emblazened on the side, flew by low enough for even someone like me to throw a stone and hit its mark. My curiosity was instantly awakened and I discovered that while I've been spending hours relaxing under the Calabrian sun, the police have been busier than ants in a disturbed nest.

A week before, I'd heard a helicopter in the area and noticed that it was hovering over a house a short distance away. The police had ordered everyone out of the house and were conducting a search...for what I don't know.

Days before, more helicopters and sirens in the early morning - the authorities had discovered a plan to bring in illegals to the country and had busted the operation. The boat laden with people wanting to exchange their life in Africa for one in Italy anchored far offshore so as to not bring attention. A rubber inflatable was driven out to bring them to shore but they had a welcome that they had not imagines. The leaders are now in jail.

Ferdinando Rombola'
Also within the week, a known mafia personality was killed in front of his wife and child while he relaxed under his umbrella at the beach near Soverato. Interestingly, he is the last in a long line of "tit for tat" murders that have taken place over the year beginning with the murder of Damiano Vallelunga in front of a Riace church in September 2009. The feud is over the possession of land and never has it had so high a price.

As I write, I hear another helicopter, but this time it is collecting water to douse a fire in Riace Superiore. Not an unlikely event in this blazing and unrelenting heat, but do you blame me if I wonder if it started as an accident or not?


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