Do You Hear A Bell?

Che sarà sarà – Rant #1

Emergency Preparedness? “Bo?”


My hip isn’t always a happy hip. After a day of sightseeing in Bari, my hip was hurting. Our Pugliese pals, Salvatore and Rosanna, wanted us to see an art exhibit in the village of Conversano’s medieval castle. The artist – Giorgio de Chirico – is famous for “pittura metefisica”.  Think Picasso. Suddenly, we found ourselves living in a metaphysical nightmare. 

Salvatore entered the ancient stone structure, climbed the rock steps to the top and discovered the elevator for folks with disabilities. Actually, it looks more like a floating floor than an elevator. He bravely stood on the sheet of metal and rode it down to pick me up. Bump, click, groan and emergency bells started to bellow.  Frankly, we heard bells and didn’t have a clue what they meant. We were in the courtyard waiting for Salvatore.  Apparently, no one who worked at the castle knew what they meant either.  No one came running. After about 15 minutes we all walked to the elevator and light bulbs started flashing in our brains!!  Salvatore!! 

When the platform got to the ground floor the door wouldn’t open.  I would have been screaming my bloody head off. Salvatore calmly rang the bell. When we got there, he chatted with us through the locked door. 

Let him out!!!


After what seemed like ions of bells ringing, The security guard arrived opened the closet housing  the motor, reset it and nothing happened. He moved to the locked door, bent over and opened-a cleverly disguised by a lump of black rubber – keyhole. “We need the key.” What key? The key that in a nanosecond would open the door. Other castle staff members appeared and didn’t have a clue what to do. The sweet young thing hired for the exhibition leaned over the top of the floating platform and told Salvatore not to worry. 

Salvatore’s view for over one hour.


We were told that help may be coming from the nearby city of Monopoli. Che sarà sarà may make for a nice song but the laid back attitude doesn’t resonate with me. As a matter of fact it sucks. Why hasn’t the management of the public space trained people for this type of incident. Why didn’t they have a copy of the magic key?Is this another example of bureaucracy gone insane – is there a regionally annoited key keeper? What if a pregnant woman was trapped inside with her water breaking all over the vertical tomb?  What if I was inside screaming every curse word I knew in multiple languages and kicking the shit out of the walls?
More folks kept coming and looking. Nothing was happening.  Until, after one very long hour the Man got here from Monopoli. Two seconds and one tiny key later, Salvatore is released. 

Quest’è Italia. Che sarà, sarà…

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Categories: Any Day in Pontelandolfo | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Do You Hear A Bell?

  1. As a person who has a touch (well maybe more than a touch) of claustrophobia, I find this a very scary story and a reason to avoid strange elevators in old buildings.

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