We opened the shutters to the majestic snow-capped Gran Sasso (“big rock” and it IS). After breakfast, we headed to the new Comune (town hall/county seat) where Pino had to present a proposal for seismic restoration. I waited across the street at a new cafe’ – with modern minimalist lines – and talked with the Aquilani, stopping there for an espresso before or after one of their innumerable visits (over the past years) to the Comune. The earthquake occurred on April 6th, 2009, yet most are still in pre-fab housing. Only those with houses (now in ruins or leveled) can enter the city center and no car traffic is permitted.
A pretty dark-haried young woman, Arianna, served me coffee as I stood at the bar near dark-suited employees of the Comune holding rolled up documents in their hands – restoration permits, i guessed- as they chatted over coffee.
“When do you think L’Aquila” will be restored?”, I asked. Sipping reflectively his espresso, Gianni (not his real name – no one wanted me to use their real names) replied, “Mai” (“never”). He added drily, “L’Aquila sara’ destinata alla spazzatura..come Pompeii” (“L’Aquila is destined for the trash can, like Pompeii”)
“Where do you yourself live, now?”, I asked him. “Here and there….come zingari” (like gypsies”), he replied with a caustic smile.
The impiegati comunali (town hall employees) invited me up to their offices for more information. When I asked them for their estimate of the percentage of homes restored, one cited 10 %. Another chided him for his optimism, saying “closer to 5%”. Pino told me why: there are no funds.