Town church bells silenced in Italy

Town church bells silenced in Italy

Eight Slovenian MEPs are calling on European Commission to act to "protect traditions" after an Italian judge silenced a small town's church bells.

Sant'Ulderico church's bells in Dolina, a small town close to Italy's border with Slovenia, were an essential part of their day. 

They say the tolls are informing them of the start of mass, a feast day or when someone died, and serving as a clock.

However for others the "loud and excessive" ringing was a bane, leading to a petition that in turn, led a judge in nearby Trieste to remove the bells in an unprecedented ruling.

The Parish Priest, Klemen Zalar, thought the reaction was a little strong. He said: "Fines have been given to Italian parishes if bells are too noisy, but they have never been confiscated before.

"This reaction was a bit too heavy."

The row has embittered the population of 4,800, drawing accusations of personal vendettas.

The Organiser of the petition had an opposite view, saying: "It was bam-bam, bam-bam all day long."

He counted 550 strokes a day between Monday and Saturday, and 1,350 on a Sunday.

He continued: "It would start at 6am, with 70 strokes for the Ave Maria, then seven at 7am, and then every 15 minutes until another long ring for the start of evening mass. 

"It was crazy. But nobody wanted the bells to be silenced, we just wanted them to be operated within the norms. 

"And in no way was this an attack against Slovenian traditions."