Catania – The lovely “A fera bio” market, which takes place on the morning of every second Sunday of the month in the outdoor spaces of the Benedictine monastery in Piazza Dante, attracts numerous people from Catania and tourists, many of whom come in to buy products for sale and not only. In fact, someone also shows interest in the knowledge of the place and goes beyond the stalls, takes advantage of it to see up close the lavas of the 1669 eruption that damaged the western wing of the Cenercian monks' monastery.
Leave the clean and tidy area where the market takes place, however the situation changes from so to so, unfortunately for the worse. One of the sidewalk waste bins that runs alongside the entrance to the classrooms has been torn off by some uncivilized and lies on the ground, emptied of rubbish. The bathrooms, already at 11.30, are in a state of precarious hygiene: dirt everywhere, two out of three toilets for women practically unusable. We go back outside and, having turned the corner, in front of the visitor stands a basaltic wall more than a dozen meters high: they are the lava of the devastating flow that, three and a half centuries ago, from the Red Mountains, reached and partially destroyed the western part of the city of Catania. Here, between the end of April and the beginning of May 1669, the city walls gave way to the impact of the lava in the stretch between the Bastione degli Infetti and that of the Tindaro, a new flow of lava overlapped the previous ones and caused a gash of about fifty meters: the lava managed to penetrate and advance towards the church and monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, leaned against their mighty walls, which were swept away but not completely destroyed and are still visible today, while a Lava tongue infiltrated the building invading the kitchens.
Well, the visitor is not given any historical-naturalistic information of what he sees, because signs have never been affixed by the University in Italian or in other foreign languages, as would be appropriate since the monastic complex is frequented daily by students but also as tourists.
To make matters worse, we must also add the bleak state of decay and of abandonment in which the entire western wing of the building is poured, where all kinds of rubbish at the base of the lava rocky ridge are lying, in the last stretch lie on the ground, piled up disorderly on each other, lava bases and pillars, containers in circular section stone, rusty metal fragments, plastic, a broken rubbish bin and, finally, pipes with electric cables (?) that from above penetrate the underlying building, whose access staircase is illuminated despite being in broad daylight. Not to mention the presence of a van parked by who knows who and when.
Outside the Benedictine monastery, among the ruins of the Roman baths, could not miss the final surprise (so to speak). The sidewalks are all impervious to cars left parked and even a shadow of city police, let alone. The site is unusually clean (but perhaps it is better to say that there is less garbage than usual) and the spontaneous vegetation has not reached developments such as to hide the Roman balneum, which, moreover, should be better indicated with special tourist signs. To disfigure it, however, is the presence of a small motorcycle (toy or real?) Thrown at night by uncivilized remained unknown. It is true that, in this unredeemable city, there is no end to the worst.
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