'Where it was – but not how it was': how the Sicilian earthquake divided a town

The 1968 disaster left at least 231 people dead and 100,000 homeless, but it was rebuilding Salemi that split the local community

On a summer’s night in Salemi, an ancient hilltop town in western Sicily, a group of children are playing football across the floor of church, using each transept as a goal. Some older teenagers sit below the altar, laughing and gossiping loudly.

A local bar owner, Fabrizio Internicola, looks on. Does it seem strange to him to see kids kicking a ball around inside a grand 17th-century church?

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