28 January 2020


island, massacre

Italy, 2016-2019

In the midst of the sea an island. Land of blenched bones and pirates. Black soil of volcano surrounded by abysses, challenged by courageous skin-divers. It is a small and fierce community of not even a thousand souls, where everybody knows each other. Farmers, fishermen and who works for the seasonal tourism. Islanders yes but not isolated, -it is the motto of their school but history, uncaring of how much water separates an island from the rest of the world, arrives here too sooner or later. It happened already with the prisons wanted by the House Bourbon, it happened during fascism, when political opponents like Bordiga and Gramsci, apostles of communism in Italy, were interned on the island. Until the 50s the word Ustica in the newspapers was used only besides escapes, riots and detainees pardoned by Mussolini. Later the island ceased to be a place of confinement and Ustica tried to polish its name for what it is: beautiful and wild black pearl in the Mediterranean Sea, gate to the mysterious underwater worlds. Every summer explorers and spokesmen of the Oceans, myths like Costeau and Piccard, were meeting on the island to tell their adventures and findings. It didn’t last long.
Forty years ago, during one of those evening of tales, just moments before the sun was setting down on the 27th of June 1980, history arrived here again. 115 kilometres away from tiny emersion of the Tyrrhenian Sea, an airliner crashed in the water leaving no survivors. From that day Ustica ceased to be island and became a massacre.

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Archive images were made available by the Center of Documentation and Studies of Ustica island.