For four years the inhabitants of Norcia did not hear the tolling of the bells of their city.
The bell towers collapsed after the earthquake that devastated central Italy in 2016.
Nicola Alemanno is the mayor of Norcia
“Hearing the bells ring again from the city tower was a strong emotion and also a very important symbol for our community.” -He says.
Along with the buildings and houses, the symbol of Norcia also collapsed: the Cathedral of Saint Benedict, the patron saint of Europe.
Giuseppina Perla, Norcia’s Councilor for Culture and Tourism, recalls the historical importance of the founder of the Benedictine order.
“Saint Benedict was able, thanks to his monasteries and Benedictine monasticism, to defend Europe from disintegration after the barbarian invasions, and thereby managed to unite the European peoples.”
Years after the earthquake, some are still forced to live in makeshift housing.
The covid-19 pandemic has made things even worse.
“Imagine how difficult it was to be locked up in these emergency shelters, little houses of 40, 60 or 80 square meters where around 1,700 people, who make up about 700 families, had to live and overcome this difficult period.”
Anna Petrangeli is a businesswoman in the food sector
“Uncertainty is the biggest problem, because when there was the earthquake we had to tell what was left and then we were able to roll up our sleeves and go on with our lives. On the contrary, with the covid, we don’t know what can happen from one day to the next.”
Businesses have struggled, but many have survived. Now the focus is on rebuilding the house of San Benito.
The Euronews reporter, Luca Paramano:
“The construction of this cathedral began in the 12th century and was completed 6 centuries later. Now that the first phase of cleaning and consolidation has been completed, the second phase of reconstruction begins. This means that this church will regain its former glory and be able to to remain a symbol of a unified Europe. “
Paolo Iannelli is the superintendent of Cultural Heritage for the 2016 earthquake
“The reconstruction of the cathedral already began 3 years ago, because the reconstruction of this class of buildings with this type of damage entails restoration work based on what we were able to save from the catastrophe, on which we can found the new cathedral.” -Explain.
Norcia Cathedral will once again rise on its solid foundations, as will Saint Benedict’s message of unity and identity for the peoples of Europe.