Vita Gazette

News from Italy

The “Ladder of Memory”

We are in the city of Castrofilippo via Brodolini. And arrived at the steps of immortality. Inaugurated on May 24, 2019, the Scala della Memoria is dedicated to the memory of the magistrates and the police officer Salvatore Bartolotta, killed by the mafia.

In front of us, a staircase extends endlessly. A shawl of green, white and red colours was thrown onto the steps. It looks more like a row of amphorae where sins are kept than a ladder…

This is the “Stairway of Memory” that the city of Castrofilippo dedicated to the victims of the mafia and inaugurated in 2019 in the presence of all civil, religious and military authorities.

This is the hometown of Salvatore Bartolotta, a simple police officer who paid, with his life, for his presence alongside Judge Rocco Chinnici in Palermo, killed in the mafia massacre of 29 July 1983. Thus, this staircase has become a natural memorial dedicated to Bartolotta, who, for the occasion, was awarded the Gold Medal for Civil Valor but also dedicated to all the mafia victims, one step after the other up to the top.

“Culture” in this land is also the fight against the mafia: There are the women and men of the Italian state who have given their lives for the affirmation of legality and justice: Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino, Rosario Livatino, Peppino Impastato, Pio La Torre, Rita Atria… Reading those names, which follow each other in a never-ending list, will make you understand the subtle, continuous, repeated tragedy that our land experiences, deprived of its most beautiful and just souls, torn from life and their mission: legality. Inserted among the “Writers’ Route” stages, this place develops around an agricultural economy and the production of the “straw” onion. Here, the more “private” memory of another figure is also preserved, which we Sicilians hold close to our hearts: that of Judge Paolo Borsellino, who holidayed as a child in a country farmhouse with his paternal family, originally from Castrofilippo. After a visit to the staircase of memory, the phrase written on the first steps, which Falcone once said one day, will seem even more powerful: «Men pass, ideas remain». Falcone continued like this: «Their moral tensions remain, and they will continue to walk on the legs of other men».

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