28th Jan 2022

Italy: One person dies, one baby born at illegal six-day rave

  • Over the six days, the clandestine rave degenerated into complete chaos (Photo: Adam Rogan - Flickr)

A massive unauthorised rave near Rome that began on Friday (13 August) night was finally broken up by Italy's police force yesterday. The illegal event, which was in its sixth day, attracted thousands of young people from across Europe.

Despite resulting in at least one death and several hospitalisations due to alcohol consumption, authorities had been struggling to bring the event to a halt.

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On the shores of Lake Mezzano in Viterbo, north of Italy's capital Rome, there was a vast conglomeration of campervans, caravans, cars, and tents.

Under the sweltering sun, music pumped and ravers danced, fuelled by drugs and alcohol. Yesterday marked the sixth day of the illegal party that was described by the Lazio region's health councillor Alessio D'Amato as "out of control".

Organisers originally declared the event would continue until 23 August.

One participant who left the rave told Italian media that the site was like a little town.

"There were bars and services of all kinds," he said, "Pizzerie, necklace sellers, bars. One person was making weed pizzas. I met card readers too," they said.

One confirmed death, one baby born

Over the six days, the clandestine rave degenerated into chaos.

There has been one confirmed death of a participant - the 24-year-old, born in London but resident in the north of Italy, had dived into Lake Mezzano on Sunday evening and did not come out again. Police and firefighters found his body in the water.

There have also been reports of rape victims and participants hospitalised in alcohol-induced comas. Another hospitalisation has been the result of a Covid-19 infection, leading to fears of much higher numbers of contagions.

Local media also said a baby was born during the event.

And ravers who left the party also spoke about the horror of seeing dogs dying from thirst and hunger, abandoned by owners caught up in the party.

The farmland where the illegal gathering took place is owned by Piero Camilli, mayor of nearby Grotte di Castro. He has spoken angrily of sheep being killed, rubbish dumped around the site, and syringes left on the ground.

Silvano Olmi, regional president of environmental group Fare Verde, expressed concerns for the local flora and fauna.

"The illegal rave party active for days is causing serious damage to the environment and agriculture," he said. "There have been six stages erected, some mobile kitchens and thousands of campervans and caravans. What's more, the loud music and massive presence of people and cars are disturbing the fauna and creating serious problems near the lake," he said.

Although police had been unable to break up the event before yesterday, they had blocked access to the site and were checking those leaving for drugs.

Authorities announced yesterday morning, however, that an operation had begun to clear the area.

Many participants left during the night and the remainder were dispersed during the day as organizers finally gave in to demands to bring the rave to a halt.

Now, a massive clean-up is underway.

Author bio

Rebecca Ann Hughes is a freelance journalist in Venice.

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