Monday, May 21, 2012


If the fates were not smiling upon Italy this weekend, someone or something was looking out for little Vittoria Vultaggio from Obici, a hamlet of Finale Emilia [Province of Modena], yesterday:  At 4.04 am, when the quake struck, the five-year-old was sleeping in her room in a house which comprised some restored seventeenth century structures, including a tower. As the tower collapsed onto the roof of Vittoria's room, it seems that two beams protected the little girl's body.  

Vittoria's father, who, with her mother and two-year-old brother, had been able to exit the house, searched for her frantically with the help of neighbours, among them a Mr Ziosi.  Mr Vultaggio climbed onto the remains of the roof, calling Vittoria's name all the time.  Suddenly he heard her respond.  He and Mr Ziosi managed to locate her and remove rubble from her face but they could not free her body.  

Power lines were down and cellphones were not working so the family were unable to contact the emergency services but Vittoria's mother,  hardly aware of what she was doing in her anxiety and distress, kept tapping numbers on her cellphone. At last, a call somehow got through and was answered by a doctor she knew. Unbeknown to Vittoria's mother, the doctor was on a trip to New York but he immediately grasped the situation and called the emergency services in Rome, who in turn passed on the information to their colleagues in Modena.  Thus the rescue and ambulance teams knew exactly where to go and within another half an hour they managed to pull Vittoria out of the rubble.

In the meantime, Mr Ziosi's son Marcello, who was also in New York, had called his father to find out if he had been injured and for a little while, in the confusion, the Vultaggio family thought that it was Marcello who had made that vital call to Rome.  But Marcello said later that the fact that he had called from New York was just a coincidence and that it was definitely the good doctor, whose name Mr and Mrs Vultaggio cannot quite recall, who had made the call.

Vittoria has suffered some injuries to a leg and is obviously still very frightened but has no fractures.

Today we are thinking of all who have been affected by the two terrible events in Italy over the weekend and of the members of the emergency services, hospital staff and others who are helping them.  Let us also salute the courage of the students of the Istituto Morvillo Falcone in Brindisi, who went back to school this morning, two days after a bomb outside the building killed one of their fellow-students and injured ten others.  Like Vittoria's father, the neighbours who came to his aid and our as yet unnamed doctor, these are the people who represent the real Italy.


LindyLouMac said...

Thanks for this story Pat let us hope there will be more like this, I have shared on both Google and FB

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, LindyLouMac. Yes, indeed, let's hope for more happy outcomes. Thank you so much for sharing the story. x


My thoughts and prayers are with all those who are affected by this disaster. Having lost everything to a hurricane, I know all to well the emotional, physical and psychological affects- they are long lasting

Dragonstar said...

It's good to hear stories like this, that offer hope in desperate situations.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, GCC. Thnk you for your heartfelt comment and empathy with those affected. Hi, Dragonstar. Yes, they give us hope.


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