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No, no pictures of dead animals here, I promise, so read on…

And why are there no pictures? There is little roadkill here, that’s why. It always shocks me when I go back to the States and see so many dead animals on the road, from small (squirrels) to huge (deer, moose). And how frequently the almost sweet, almost sickening smell of skunk wafts over the highway during a summer evening’s drive in New England, becoming suffocating as you get near the poor corpse on the side of the road.

Here if you see something that you perceive from a distance to be roadkill it will be one of the following, given in order of likelihood: litter (still a lot, but becoming less), a bit of foliage, squashed fruit (yesterday’s sighting: a watermelon!), an oily rag or discarded halter top. Very rarely you will see a dead animal. I’ve seen several hedgehogs on our mountain road, as well as snakes, and several cats and one dog on the autostradas. Once we saw someone’s white specialty pigeon with a fanned out turkey type tail flouncing stupidly along the side of the road. Sadly it was hit by the time we got back, and we spent weeks kicking ourselves for not rescuing it on our way into town instead of assuming it would be smart enough to fly home.

But as you can see, if we can remember specific incidents there are not many of them. I’ve asked myself why this is and here’s my theory, completely unsupported by any external evidence or corroboration: I think all the   small animals from the woods around here were eaten during the War, and they’ve never re-established themselves. (Having said that, there are plenty of wild boar – and you wouldn’t want to hit one of them – they’re HUGE – but they were introduced to the area 10 or 15 years ago).

I won’t belabor this WWII theme, or I’ll try not to – but it is something I think about frequently. It’s impossible for those of us born safely after that war, or Korea or Vietnam, to imagine the deprivation suffered by the people who are now Italy’s oldest citizens.

Here’s a pictorial example. The Captain and I had business in the town hall of Zoagli, our neighboring village, last week. They have an exhibition of photos from the December 27, 1943, Allied bombing of the railway bridge there (Happy New Year, everyone!). I can’t give attribution because I couldn’t figure out who took the photos, but I took pictures of them anyway – sorry, they are pics of pics and of poor quality, but interesting anyway. Compare the 1943 photos above of the town center and the railroad bridge to those of the same places taken last Friday, 65 years latter, below.  Perhaps if our town looked like the one above we would take to the hills in search of food…

Zoagli town center today

Zoagli bridge today