Britain’s Prince Charles hugged tearful survivors in the quake-hit Italian town of Amatrice yesterday after seeing the “terrifying devastation” inflicted by last year’s deadly disaster.
The Prince of Wales walked alone in silent contemplation through parts of the abandoned red zone where collapsed houses lie next to the ruins of a 13th-century civic tower in the historic hilltop town in central Italy.
“It’s a scene of terrifying devastation,” he said as he passed in front of the destroyed Church of Sant’Agostino.
Wearing a yellow protection helmet and a grey pinstriped suit, he met the town’s mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, who told him he had not been back into the red zone since the quake “and will not until the town is rebuilt”.
The prince, 68, shook the hands of first responders and those helping with reconstruction after the disaster that killed nearly 300 people, including three Britons on holiday.
Charles, who arrived by helicopter due to quake-damaged roads, placed a garland of flowers on a memorial in the park.
Survivor Carmine Monteforte, 75, who had been waiting for a glimpse of the prince with a group of residents waving Union Jack flags, said he also got a big hug from Charles.
“It was a lovely gesture of human warmth. His visit has certainly raised morale,” he said.
The Amatrice visit was part of a European tour by Charles and his wife Camilla designed to shore up relations with EU allies post-Brexit.