Italy: Like Pompeii . . .

A twisted bicycle. A flattened toy gun. A silver corkscrew. A blue-handled screwdriver. A brass hand mirror. A child's pencil case. A green alarm clock. A yellowed baby picture. A small wad of lire. A mattress. A red and black shawl. A lone playing card (the king of clubs). An ancient Olivetti typewriter. A crumpled Fiat. An electric pylon twisted off its concrete base. A church steeple protruding from the mud. Such were the scattered remains of a town called Longarone, which last week was wiped off the face of the earth.

At 10:35 one night, while most of Longarone's...

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