I woke up this morning, scanned Facebook, and read about yet another earthquake in Italy. This mornings was not as strong as some of the recent ones – 5.5 on the Richter scale – but there has been a steady stream of tremors in the central part of the country. There was damage in some of the small towns of Umbria and the strongest of these quakes was felt strongly in Rome and even faintly as far away as Venice. There are concerns about the damage that has done to the Colosseum in Rome. Each quake threatens the integrity of the structure- this building was not designed to resist such natural events. When the town of Amatrice was devastated in August, I was among the many who felt it necessary to help in any way possible. Thanks to the sales of my cookbooks, I was able to send over $100 to the Italian Red Cross. Though it was not a lot, a little bit helps.
I don’t often write about sad or unfortunate events that happen in Italy. The purpose of my blog is to make you fall in love with Italy and all things Italian. And ultimately, to entice you to take a trip. I am sure that many of you read my posts and think, “Someday I will get there”. That someday should be now. I know it is easier said than done. Life gets in the way. Planning a trip takes time, takes money, takes commitment. We live in the here and now, channel our attention and energies to those things that need it most. We push the trip to the back burner. “Italy (or France or Greece or wherever) will always be there. The Colosseum has been standing for over 2000 years. What’s the rush?” The thing is, you just never know. Life is fleeting. Shit happens. Oceans rise, empires fall (sorry, we are all a little Hamilton obsessed over here). 70% of the town of Castelluccio was destroyed on October 30. The Basilica of Saint Benedict in Norcia is no longer thanks to last week’s quake. Of course, Norcia is not a major tourist destination (unless you are a devotee of salami and other cured meats) but who knows which will be the next monument to crumble, completely or in part. And who knows what life will bring. If I have learned nothing else this year, it’s that we really do have to make the most of our time. In the words of Mark Twain, a man who never hesitated to travel and discover the world: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” The current series of unfortunate events hit close to home for my friend and Umbrian resident Anne Robichaud. “Art is Not Eternal,” she observed this week. If there is something you have been longing to see, go see it. You will never regret it.