The old cemetery at Camogli near Genoa fell into the sea. The apocalyptic scene was predictable, among other things, the building speculation is to blame.
Suddenly the seagulls that were sitting on the roofs of the west wing took off high above the Golfo Paradiso. That was an unmistakable sign, a macabre announcement. A worker filmed with his cell phone, it happened very quickly, then the front part of the old cemetery of Camogli with its seven-story urn wall and four family chapels fell into the sea. With a loud bang.
200 coffins slid into the water, some rocked on the waves. Gravestones and urns also ended in the rubble and mud. An apocalyptic scene in the beautiful Golfo Paradiso on the Ligurian coast, not far from Genoa.
The re weren’t any visitors in the cemetery when what had to happen at some point happened. This part is closed on Mondays. For some time now, however, many people have not dared to go to lay flowers for their loved ones anyway.
The y knew about the fragile soil under the spectacularly situated cemetery, built more than 150 years ago, the final resting place of seafarers, shipbuilders and fishermen – the people of the sea.
The earth had been eroding under the tombs for a long time. In recent years storm surges have often lashed against the rocks in a way that had never been seen here before. A consequence of climate change? And then it rained incessantly that winter, sometimes for weeks.
The Mayor of Camogli, Francesco Olivari, says: “Such a rock fall is unpredictable.”
Olivari, you have to know, is a geologist. But of course he too had foreseen the event. Work has been going on to strengthen the ledge since last autumn, and the Italian state had given millions in aid. It’s not just nature that gnaws and tears at the popular coast. Decades of building speculation have ravaged the area, the buildings press with tons of weight on the fragile ground, and river beds were often concreted over to create more space for real estate.
Oil barriers for coffins
Camogli is a picturesque, small town with colorful houses and an old fishing port, which in summer inflates itself into a medium-sized city with second home owners from Milan and Turin and with tourists from abroad.
The barriers are designed to intercept the coffins that otherwise float out to sea – with the bones of people who had spent their lives at sea.