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Earthquake in Abruzzo

By now, you’ve all read or heard the news about the devastating earthquake in Abruzzo, the mountainous region in Central Italy. At last count, more than 200 people are reported as dead, and thousands more are homeless. Though the epicenter is the city of L’Aquila, many smaller villages are also affected. The small village of Onna, with only about 400 inhabitants, was flattened. Strong aftershocks are still being felt throughout the region, and as far away as Rome.

The Fontana Luminosa at the entrance to L’Aquila

Heartbreaking stories abound – entire families being lost under the rubble; people being evacuated from hospitals, including the very sick and mothers with their newly born babies; tent cities being erected; precious art works destroyed.

The massive fortress built in the 1500s, and overlooking the Maiella mountains, and which now houses a museum with many precious treasures. It was badly damaged in the earthquake.

My husband’s family lives in Abruzzo, but fortunately far enough from L’Aquila that they were not injured. Some of his cousins responded immediately and rushed to L’Aquila to help in the rescue effort. Another friend of ours (and perhaps very distant relative) was scheduled to be in his L’Aquila apartment on the night of the earthquake, but had to postpone his trip at the last minute due to a business conflict. Talk about fate!

In case you’ve never been there, or heard about the city until now, I’m posting a few photos of the once beautiful city of L’Aquila from my trip there last fall.

The main piazza in L’Aquila – piazza duomo – with the church of Anime Sante on the left. The cupola on top is barely visible in this picture from last year, but now it has collapsed. The main cathedral, on the right, was not damaged.

The bell tower (not visible in this photo) toppled on the basilica of San Bernardino, built during the Renaissance and housing the tomb of Saint Bernard and many art treasures.interior of San Bernardo

If you want to help out with a donation, there are reputable places to send money. One of them is NIAF, the National Italian American Foundation, who set up a relief fund for this; and the other of course, is the Red Cross. The Italian Red Cross has a site for accepting donations here. If you want to contribute through the American Red Cross, click here. A lot of needy people will be grateful.