Ignazio Silone, born Secondino Tranquilli in Pescina dei Marsi (Abruzzi), lost his mother in the local earthquake of 1915. A founding member of the Italian Communist Party, he was expelled in 1931 and spent a decade in exile in Switzerland, where he wrote his most famous works, Fontamara, Bread and Wine, and The Seed Beneath the Snow. In 1960, he returned to his native town, perhaps to think of a final resting place; from that experience emerged "At the Foot of an Almond Tree." In the popular religiion of the local Christians, an almond tree miraculousy flowered and thereby hid the fleeing Holy Family on their flight into Egypt from Herod's soldiers. Silone was twice considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature before his death in 1978.