Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Bells have been ringing out throughout holy week in Italy.
But they have taken on extra poignancy since the earthquake in Abruzzo during the early hours of Monday morning.
The country has been doing its best to come to terms with the heart-wrenching tragedy that has befallen the mountainous region in the very heart of the peninsula.
Today is Good Friday and the tolling of church bells will be the only sound to be heard through the middle of the day as the country falls into national mourning.
There will be the same silence ahead of every Serie A fixture on Saturday to mark a minute of remembrance for the victims before everyone breaks into applause: a usual Italian gesture of mourning.
Serie A fixtures to stage minute of remembrance
Sport, football in particular, is doing what it can to assist in the appeal as the magnitude of the catastrophe begins to sink deeper into the psyche.
Napoli, Catania, Siena and Fiorentina have promised to donate their gate receipts from their next home games.
Milan want to play a benefit match against Barcelona, a visibly-emotional Ronaldinho has been thinking out loud how he can organise an all-star game, Italy are set to play their June friendly with Northern Ireland in the region... and so it goes on.
Luca Toni and Massimo Oddo wore black armbands, as all the players and officials will do on Saturday, when they took to the pitch for Bayern Munich in Barcelona on Wednesday.
Daniele De Rossi even voiced the idea that all fixtures should be postponed for the weekend.
De Rossi: Plea for postponements
“Football just doesn’t feel right,” said the midfielder who has experienced his own personal tragedy in the not too distance past when his father-in-law was found dead on the outskirts of Rome.
Serie B matches, which were to be played on Friday, have been rescheduled, but the top-flight games will go ahead - the correct response at a time when Italy needs to unite and focus its thoughts. The national game can offer some catharsis.
The Abruzzo region and the area surrounding Aquila which was so badly damaged is rugby country, rather than of the round-ball game.
However, football has lost one of its own.
Giuseppe Chiavaroli, 24, who played for Celano in a lower-division, was killed along with his girlfriend in the quake and has already been buried with his sky-blue shirt draped on top of the casket.
Luca Toni sports black armband in Barcelona
Many other sports will also be mourning losses.
Well-known local rugby player Lorenzo Sebastiani perished, a 23-year-old volleyball player Lorenzo Cini has been recovered from the rubble, as has the body of a marathon runner Michela Rossi who only on Sunday had run the Milan half-marathon.
Then there are the untold others, and with the capital just over 70-miles away, many of them were more than likely supporters of Roma or Lazio.
The derby will be the focal point of the dedication this weekend, and the bells will toll at 3pm on Saturday as the football world falls silent, attempting to contemplate the immense human suffering we have witnessed this week.
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