High up in the mountains of northern Italy, just a few kilometres from the Swiss border, the people of the tiny village of Gurro speak a strange dialect, incomprehensible even to the other villages in the same valley.
They have peculiar surnames, and the women’s traditional costume features a patterned underskirt that looks suspiciously like tartan.
One possible explanation is that their forefathers include a unit of Scottish soldiers – the Garde Ecossaise – who served the French King, Francis I, and were defeated with him at the Battle of Pavia, near Milan, in February 1525.
The story goes that while trying to make their way home the Scots stopped in Gurro, where they got snowed in for the winter. Many locals believe they never left.
In a bid to get people to take climate change more seriously, Italian adventurer Alex Bellini is going to live on an iceberg until it melts. He plans to take on the challenge in the spring of 2015, on an iceberg in Greenland. He expects that he’ll have to live there alone for at least eight to twelve months.
Alex, who is now based in the UK, plans to live inside a survival capsule while on the iceberg. “Survival capsules are sort of floating Kevlar saucers, four meters in diameter, which are used as lifeboats on oil platforms,” he explained. “I will live in the capsule on the iceberg until it melts – which generally happens within eight months – or up to a maximum of one year.”
“Then, I’ll go adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, inside my capsule again, until I wash ashore.” He plans to carry 300 kilos of dehydrated food and electronic equipment along with him. Although he is yet to pick the perfect iceberg to live on, he said it would most probably be broad and flat, about 60 by 20 meters.
“My objective is reporting and investigating, by means of scientific methods, the entire lifetime of an iceberg,” he added. “I want to prove how the pace of ice-melting has dramatically accelerated over the last decades. We’ll also play the symbolic card: the adventure of a man floating adrift on an iceberg will come to represent the condition of the whole humankind going adrift on an endangered planet.”
I guess he didn’t get the memo, that the party line is now that global warming is on hiatus, for a decade…