The recent torrential rain and wind engulfing Italy has been wrecking havoc with tourists’ holidays, particularly of those who only packed shorts and sandals, and the Italians’ precise seasonal changes between clothing. While mid-May should be thin jumper weather, we seem to be experiencing a Scottish summer – temperatures of about 20 degrees and unpredictable deluges of rain – requiring Italians to retain their winter jackets for a couple more weeks.
But one peaceful, lazy town in the Veneto had quite a surprise during a dramatic thunder and lightning storm a couple of nights ago. At the witching hour of midnight, a burst of lightning struck the local church, exploding one of the four large statues decorating the facade. The statue shattered into fragments and then tumbled to the ground. As if this melodramatic sign was not enough, witnesses say the priest’s car, parked near by, also burst into flames. This fateful episode just missed coinciding with Friday 13th, which is probably why no-one was injured. Amusingly, local papers are reporting the event very seriously, resisting the urge to make jokes about spiritual retribution.
In fact, this area has been the unlucky victim of freak weather before. Last year a tornado swept through the Veneto razing the historical Villa Todernini-Fini-Piva, in Dolo, to the ground. Once an elegant white facade with arched windows and a little pediment decorated with statues, photos after the event showed a heaped pile of rubble and beams with statues scattered around the debris. While a devastating loss to owners and Italian heritage alike, it had one positive outcome. Following the destruction the community came together to aid the clean-up process. Photos can be seen here of the destroyed villa and other damage in the area.
After a couple of years in Italy my eyes have certainly been opened to its dangers, from biting scorpions and poisonous vipers to supernatural revenge on religious communities.