GORRETO, Italy (Reuters) – Gorreto, population: 105, was always small, but now the tiny village, nestled in a river valley in northern Italy, is on the brink of extinction.
Most of the remaining residents are over 60 and the primary school attended by Mayor Sergio Capelli, 72, closed about 30 years ago – a stark example of the nationwide demographic decline as Italians live longer and have fewer babies.
By Max Rossi
There’s a man in this world that kisses more babies than any mother over the course of her life: the Pope.
Following the Vatican for more than 15 years I can absolutely say that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have kissed more babies than any other public figure in the world. It’s a common scene for the faithful to literally throw their babies to the Pope as he walks by or is driven by in the Pope mobile during general audiences or a pastoral visit.
By Max Rossi
4 o’clock on a Saturday morning, a confused call told me a cruise ship had run aground near the island of Giglio in the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany. My first reaction was “I can’t go!”, Pope Benedict was waiting for me to take pictures of him shaking hands with the new Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in his private library at the Vatican. No way could I leave that event uncovered but the bad thing was that I was the only staff photographer in Rome – just 150 km (90 miles) from the ship.
A stringer photographer, Remo Casilli, was sent there immediately and he was able to get pictures of the survivors still covered in their blankets at Santo Stefano harbor and the first images of the ship lying on its side near the island. I spent the hours before the meeting with the Pope trying to get in touch with some photographers on the island, and finally, thanks to Facebook, got the phone number of a member of local news agency Giglio News to provide us with the first night images of the ship in the Giglio Harbour.