It’s been a long time since people have gathered in the streets of Sambuca: once a bustling town of 9,000 people, it now has about 5,000. Like many small towns in southern Italy, it has been gradually abandoned by citizens seeking work elsewhere.
The decline began with the industrialisation of the agricultural sector, when machines replaced human labour and forced many peasants to abandon the fields,Then, if that weren’t enough, an earthquake struck and even more families began abandoning their homes.
In January 1968 the earth shook in the Belice valley, in south-west Sicily. Measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, the earthquake was one of the most powerful to strike Italy, killing 231 people, injuring more than 1,000 and leaving 100,000 homeless. Four towns were razed entirely and others, like Sambuca, suffered terrible damage. The town’s main church, the Chiesa Madre, built around 1420 on part of the ancient Arab castle of Zabut in the oldest part of town, was so badly damaged it had to close.
In an attempt to resuscitate the town, the mayor, Leo Ciaccio, and his deputy, Cacioppo, have adopted a strategy that has become fashionable in the south: sell, or practically give away, abandoned homes to anyone who wants to move in. Other towns have attempted the same thing, including Gangi in northern Sicily, Salemi in the west near Marsala, and Ollolai in Sardinia.
I would like to take part in the restoration of the town, I feel I have got to a time in my life where I want to give something back and the story of Sambuca has really struck a chord with me.
I also would like to take part in what could be an amazing social experiment, this could turn out to be a historic and groundbreaking event which uncovers more about the people involved than just the restoration of a town
Please help me by raising half of the funds required to take part