"You have to experience it, you can not imagine it with the best will." That's what Giusy, a petite Genoese, in her mid-fifties, saw a year ago when the Morandi Bridge collapsed. As a resident of one of the houses below the viaduct, she witnessed 43 people being killed. Shortly before, she had perched on the sidewalk with her neighbor Mimma to pluck weeds. At half past twelve the two women went to their homes, the rain had become heavier. Giusy wants to tell, when tears well up in her eyes. Mimma takes over, saying that she was about to take a shower when she heard this violent roar. "I tore open the bathroom window and saw the bridge disappear before my eyes."
It was the 14th of August, 11.36 clock, when the busy highway bridge over the Polcevera River collapsed. After the tragedy, all of Genoa stared paralyzed into the abyss, hoping it was just a nightmare from which they would soon wake up again. Now the northern Italian port city is preparing for the anniversary of the accident. Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco will be celebrating a mass for the victims and the bereaved at the scene. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will be there and President Sergio Mattarella. Together they will listen to the death-bells that will ring in the whole city at 11.36.
Entering the Red Zone is prohibited
Giusy and Mimma have often thought of the dead. They belong to the executive committee of the Committee of Victims and Evacuees, which had formed immediately after the accident. Since then, the members have met every 14th of the month at the old iron bridge. Behind the fence begins the so-called red zone, forbidden entry. "You know," Giusy says, "I've spent my whole life here." In one of the houses, which was demolished in the meantime, her mother died a few years ago. And from her apartment, which no longer exists, she saw her daughter step into the bridal dress. On May 4, the residents were allowed to go home for the last time to take away their belongings.
For eleven months the Genoese lived side by side with the bridge stumps that reminded them daily of the tragedy. Then, on the morning of June 28th, the last two pillars were blown up. Within six seconds, thousands of cubic meters of steel and concrete collapsed. To experience this moment, many residents had come to higher located district Coronata. Today, nothing is up here, the church bells ring at 12.30, otherwise silence. The sight of the construction site down in the valley has something spooky. A no man's land on both sides of the Polevera River, which now divides the city again.