The little Viareggio station is deserted in the early afternoon. On the sunny platforms, the occasional traveler waits, seated on the marble white benches, with an air of desolation of provincial train stations. The tangle of cables and wires high above, and the tracks on the ground, run to the horizon, climbing toward the Apuan Alps, those mountains that inspired Fosco Maraini to think about the creation of the world.
There, I meet with Riccardo Antonini, the railroad worker fired because he offered free consulting services to the families of the 32 victims of the massacre that occurred in June 29, 2009. That day, the freight train 50325 derailed on the route between Trecate and Gricignano. The train was servicing Aversana Petroli, an oil company owned by the Cosentino family. It carried 14 tanker cars containing LPG that were clanking on the rails at a speed of 90 kilometers per hour. A tanker dropped from the first cargo wagon and caught fire.
Antonini is tall and slender, with silvery hair and beard, and he wears a pair of dark sunglasses. He shows me the 5b railroad switch, the diverging track on the railroad switch, where the train derailed. Looking at its front, protected by a metal cage, the imposing rusty tank looks like a sleeping whale. “After four minutes, the LPG burned out and the fire broke out there,” he says. He points out a group of small houses with plaster in pastel colors on the left of the railways, as well as a gray concrete wall decorated with murals that was built after the incident, in spite of the fact that local citizens had repeatedly asked for it to protect their houses. A petition had been submitted in 2001.