It was a hot afternoon, the time when everything is closed and nothing moves in Italy. It was dead silent, as I was cycling around the island of La Maddalena, when I saw the road sign to a place called Panoramico. It was my third day on the small island already and I just wanted to find a nice bay to swim and relax. Panoramico sounded promising.
But then I came across a rather depressing sight, not panoramic at all: the cars and figures of a carnival procession. They looked liked they had been left behind in a hurry, with the cars being parked chaotically on the large square. The wind blew through the tattered tarpaulin on some of the wagons, interrupting the silence menacingly. A piece of metal creaked. The larger-than-life papier mâché figures stared into the air, into the distance or into the nothing. They were all dead.
Walking around this scene of an apparent massacre, I was particularly saddened by the sight of a fellow reporter, microphone still in his hand. Dead. He had been reporting until his last breath, even though he knew what was coming. His gaze revealed the horror.
Two giant figures fought a silent battle for domination of the scene, each of them high on their wagon, refusing to fall over. Pinocchio and some unidentifiable skeleton.
How long ago this must have been. The place looked so forlorn, so deserted, so cannibalized that I estimated they must be several years old. Until I discovered this sign on one of the wagons:
Later that day, when I returned to the city – after finding the beautiful bay I had sought – I saw a small and obviously outdated poster at the bakery, asking for donations or help for this year’s carnival. The date for the carnival procession was 2 March 2014, less than three months ago.