NORCIA – To the ninety butchers, plus sixty authorities in the front rows, who will sit this morning in chairs borrowed by the Municipality to follow His Excellency’s thanksgiving homily. Renato Boccardo, archbishop of Spoleto and Norcia, the beloved Basilica of San Benedetto will appear as a rustic place, in the process of renovation. Concrete floor, exposed wooden vault awaiting restoration of the false ceiling. The altar that the faithful, devout here, and the Commissioner for Reconstruction Guido Castelli We will see it again for the first time after seven years – on October 30, 2016, the earthquake that opened the church, saving only the façade and the apse, was the most powerful of that season – it will not be the original, for the most part destroyed, nor that foreseen by the reconstruction project. It will be a base laboriously brought to the ground floor from the crypt.
Solid bricks and braces for 3.4 million euros
For the first time, mass is celebrated in the renovated symbolic church. After 21 months, the first batch returns the architecture to what it was, grafted onto a new static project: solid bricks along with the old stone, braces both visible and inside the walls. The first phase of reconstruction cost 3,409 million, with financing from the European community and the extraordinary commissioner.
Mass is celebrated in a suspended work this Monday of grace, a work that works thanks to the Cobar of Altamura six days a week every week since, on February 25, 2022, the president Sergio Mattarella He came to visit the city of monks. The workers and engineers of the province of Bari received the production bonus, having closed the first batch 130 days in advance.
“For us this celebration will be like the first ringing of the bell of the Civic Tower, for the inhabitants of Amatrice, we will cry.” He says it she, looking at the bell tower, Giuliano Boccaneraacting mayor of Norcia since Nicola Alemannoconvicted of abuse of power after the earthquake, had to be suspended.
All works in progress in the holy city
On Saturday the guest house of the Monte monastery was inaugurated. Two and a half meters were excavated under the town hall and its bell tower to isolate them from the next earthquake, and ultimately 3,507 million will be spent on this work. The square-shaped Castellina, former headquarters of the civic and diocesan museum, still in the main square, awaits the start of its million-euro work: seismic adaptation and installation engineering. Thus, the municipal theater, under construction (1,657 million, here). And the two entrance gates to the city, the Romana and the Ascolana: works in progress. After seven years. There is money for reconstruction, public and private, but the deadlines for this reconstruction are increasingly delayed.
“During the first three years nothing was done, that’s the truth,” explains the “interim”, former deputy mayor of Fratelli d’Italia. «With the commissioner Giovanni Legnini The practices accelerated, the laws ran out, but then came the two years of the pandemic. The 110 percent law has made construction companies move away from the crater of central Italy. And in Norcia, a stratified city, each stone that the excavations brought to light was analyzed by the Superintendency.”
The superintendent: “Too many commissioners”
The earthquake of summer-autumn 2016, it is a fact, was really big and expanded with each new shock. In Norcia, eight out of ten buildings were damaged: 1,200 construction works were started for this reason and only 40 percent have been completed to date. The city of San Benedetto was saved – seven years ago without deaths or injuries – because it had been rebuilt earlier (1979 earthquake) and with better materials than Amatrice, but reconstruction has also become an agony here. “We were late”, now it is Paolo Iannellispecial superintendent of the affected areas and responsible for the reconstruction of the basilica, “and one of the problems was having changed five commissioners in seven years.”
The Civic Tower of Amatrice is inaugurated today, broadening our view, and during the week the restoration works of the entire town of Castelluccio di Norcia are commissioned. Along the main roads affected by the earthquakes, the Salaria state road and Tre Valli in Umbria, 84 months later there are still six points where people travel in a single lane. And, as Commissioner Castelli reveals, in the entire crater 30,000 people are still outside of civilian housing.