“The town that is dying”

Civita di Bagnoreggio is located near Bolsena lake (Lazio, Italy) and was founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago. In Italy It’s famous for being called “The town that is dying” because the gradual erosion of the hill and the surrounding valley danger of make it collapse. Today, Civita is reachable across a pedestrian bridge and only 12 people live there.


List of great Queens —> Amalasuntha (ca. 495- 535)
Amalasuntha born c. 495 was the daughter of king Theoderic the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. In 515 she was married a noble man called Eutharic. He died early on in their marriage but the couple had two children, Athalaric and Matasuntha.
When king Theoderic died in 526 her son was supposed to succeed him, but Athalaric was of young age so that Amalasuntha held the power as regent for him. She tried to raise her son to become a good king and gave his educational some additions by adding parts of Roman culture and literature. This decision angered a lot of Gothic nobles and made Amalasuntha highly unpopular. She tried to counteract on this by banishing or killing nobles that she thought could be intriguing against her rule. At the same time she strengthened diplomatic ties to Constantinople and emperor Justinian I.
In 534 Athalaric died and Amalasuntha became officially queen. To secure her position she made her cousin Theodahad partner in her reign. This decision estranged the Goths further which led to Amalasuntha’s imprisonment on the island of Martan in the Tuscan lake of Bolsena. On the 30 April 535 she was murdered in her bath. It is unknown if Theodahad gave the orders or the permission for this murder.
She is said to have been a highly educated and intelligent woman that could negotiate with the Romans and Byzantines. During the eight years of her reign she managed to keep peace and secure the position of the Ostrogoths.


More reasons to look up:

  1. Aisle of San Cristina in Bolsena, probably 11th century, consecrated by Pope Gregory VII
  2. Apse of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, 6th century, consecrated by Bishop Maximian of Ravenna
  3. The underside of an arch in Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, 6th century, consecrated by Bishop Maximian of Ravenna
  4. San Vitale, Ravenna, 6th century, consecrated by Bishop Maximian of Ravenna
  5. Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 5th century

All photographs taken by me in Spring 2009.  Use them how you will, but please provide attribution.

Edit: Part 1

A World War II wreck, which has been laying on the bottom of an Italian lake for 70 years, has revealed a forgotten story of love during wartime.

The wreck, a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber, crashed in Lake Bolsena on Jan. 15, 1944.

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Divers from the Research Center of the Scuba School of Lake Bolsena and the Fire Department of Viterbo identified several pieces of the plane scattered on the bottom of the lake.

From a depth of 300 feet, they recovered the largest piece, the Sperry ball turret – an enclosed capsule that protected the bomber at the belly of the craft.

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The recovered turret featured the intriguing hand-painted words: “Ileen Lois.”

“The words were still visible after 70 years underwater on the right and left side of the turret,” said Mario Di Sorte, a historian who pieced together the plane’s history.

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t turned out the words referred to Lois Eileen, the young wife of gunner Sgt. Ralph Truesdale. He was one of the 10-man crew aboard the four-engine aircraft B-17 USAF serial no. 4124364.

Ralph Truesdale ® and his wife, Lois Eileen, are shown here. Lois is holding their five-month-old child.

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Writing a lover’s name on the plane wasn’t just Truesdale’s idea. When it came to name their plane, the entire crew agreed to call it “Ethel,” after the girlfriend of right waist gunner, Anthony Brodniak.

The B-17 plane is shown at left. At right Antony Brodniak poses with his girlfriend, Ethel.

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“Ethel” flew for the last time on Jan. 15, 1944. The final flight was part of a mission which involved the use of 38 B-17 Flying Fortresses divided into two waves.

The primary target was the railroad bridge in the town of Certaldo, south of Florence. The alternate target was a marshalling yards at Poggibonsi, near Siena.

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Once near Perugia, the group encountered heavy fire from German anti-aircraft. Seven B-17s in the first wave and 18 in the second suffered serious damage. “Ethel’s” two engines were struck and damaged and the bomber spun out of control.

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The plane crashed into Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe. All 10 men parachuted to the ground.

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Of the wrecked bomber’s 10 men, three were captured by the Germans and finished out the war in a POW Camp. The remaining seven were saved and hidden from the Germans by Italian families.

Truesdale also left his turret and let the name of his wife plunge in the water with the plane. Truesdale was among the crewmen captured by the Germans and taken in a POW camp. He managed to escape and remained hidden for three months until the arrival of the Allies.

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Despite the romantic wartime tale, love did not last for Ralph and Lois. The couple divorced in 1947.

All that remains is the wreck of the turret, now on display at a local museum in Bolsena, Italy.