The author Belva Plain once said, “Danger lies in beauty, and beauty in danger,” and few places epitomize this paradox more than central Italy.
While its picturesque peaks and stunning vistas are among the world’s most breathtaking, the terrain on which they stand is also among the world’s most perilous. Italy sits on one of the most seismically active regions on earth – the meeting point of the Eurasian and African Plates, giant rock structures that make up part of the earth's shell.
These plates are constantly shifting, often with devastating results to those who have built homes, businesses and lives on top of them.
There have been dozens of deadly earthquakes in Italy in the last 60 years. Some of the more devastating include:
- 1968: In the Valle del Belice in southwest Sicily, around 900 people lost their lives and many villages were significantly damaged
- 1976: 976 people lost their lives and 70,000 more were left homeless in Friuli
- 1980: Some 2,735 people were killed and more than 7,500 injured in an earthquake with its epicentre at Eboli, which damaged a huge area stretching towards Naples
- 1997: Two earthquakes kill 11 people and cause serious damage to the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, damaging priceless Medieval frescoes
- 2002: An earthquake in Campobasso killed 30 people, most of them children, in San Giuliano di Puglia
- 2009: A powerful earthquake devastated the 13th century city of L’Aquila, killing more than 300 people
- 2012: More than 16 people were killed and 350 injured in the second big earthquake to hit the area around Modena. Just nine days earlier, a separate quake had already struck, killing nearly 10 people
- 2016: Earthquakes killed more than 330 people and caused destruction to property over more than 1,000 sq km across Umbria, Abruzzo, Lazio and Le Marche. More than 60 per cent of the damaged properties fell within Le Marche
The bad news is that there is little doubt that this trail of destruction will continue. The good news is that there’s something you can do to help.