- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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mutilation of my name saved me from becoming
famous. But when I was informed by those
who knew the long arm of the Mafia that it
would not save me from being murdered if I
remained in Messina, I sailed the next day with
some coastguards across the straits to Reggio.

Reggio itself, where twenty thousand people
had been killed outright by the first shock, was
indescribable and unforgettable. Still more
terrifying was the sight of the small coast towns
strewn among the orange groves, Scilla, Canitello,
Villa S. Giovanni, Gallico, Archi, San Gregorio,
formerly perhaps the most beautiful land in Italy,
now a vast cemetery for more than thirty
thousand dead and several thousand wounded lying
among the ruins during two nights of torrential
rain followed by an ice-cold tramontana,
without any assistance whatsoever, and many
thousands of half-naked people running about in the
streets like lunatics, screaming for food. Further
south the intensity of the seismic convulsion
seemed to have reached its climax. In Pellaro,
for instance, where only a couple of hundred of
its five thousand inhabitants escaped alive, I
was unable to distinguish even where the streets
had been. The church, crammed with terrified
people, collapsed at the second shock, killing
them all. The churchyard was strewn with
split-open coffins, literally shot out of the graves—I
had already seen the same ghastly sight in the
cemetery of Messina. On the heap of ruins where
the church had stood sat a dozen women
shivering in their rags. They did not cry, they did
not speak, they sat there quite still with bent

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