One of the many interesting things we learnt from Francis (Jacobs) was about the very different fates meted out to Protestants in the seventeenth century in the neighbouring valleys of the Valchiavenna and the Valtellina. In the latter, they were massacred (there is an account of the bloody affair here), whereas in the Valchiavenna not one was killed. Francis recounted a theory for this very different treatment. The Valtellina, it is said, is an East-to-West valley, leading nowhere. As such, its societies were pretty much self-contained and inward-looking. The Valchiavenna, on the other hand, is a North-to-South valley, connecting Italy with the north and therefore mercantile and outward-looking in spirit. A terrible fate awaited many of the Valchiavenna’s Protestants all the same. In 1618 a mountain collapsed suddenly onto the predominantly Protestant town of Piuro, killing over 900 of its inhabitants (shades of Vajon!). Only a few Protestant tradesmen abroad at the time survived the disaster. (By chance, surfing on the internet, I discovered that Nevil Shute’s very first short story was written about the Piuro disaster.)