6.0 Italy Quake Leaves At Least 7 Dead, Historic Sites Razed
An earthquake in northern Italy has killed at least 7 people and left more than 3,000 people displaced from their homes. Many centuries-old historical buildings collapsed in the shaking.
The 6.0 quake hit around 4 a.m. Sunday about 20 miles north of Bologna, the BBC reported. The quake caused "significant damage to the cultural heritage" of Emilia Romagna region, the government said.
Many historic buildings were harmed in the shaking. In San Felice sul Panaro, a 15th-Century castle, La Rocca, was reduced to rubble.
"It is the symbol of our town," said mayor Alberto Silvestri told Reuters. "We have practically lost all our artistic heritage. Churches and towers collapsed. The theatre is still standing but has cracks."
In Finale Emilia, a bell tower collapsed, crushing cars.
A 5.1 magnitude aftershock hit the region later on Sunday, causing more buildings to collapse in the region known for parmesan cheese.
From the Guardian:
Cheese producers said 300,000 wheels of grana and parmesan cheese had been lost as warehouses collapsed, while farmers were fighting to save livestock trapped in collapsed barns.
Pope Benedict prayed for victims in his Sunday address and prime minister Mario Monti decided to cut short his trip to Chicago for the Nato summit in order to oversee the earthquake relief operation and follow the investigation into a bombing in Brindisi on Saturday which killed a schoolgirl.
This is the worst earthquake to hit the region since the 1300's, according to AP. The last major earthquake to hit Italy was a 6.3 quake in L'Aquila in 2009 which killed nearly 300 people.