Italy is one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.
Throughout the centuries the area has experienced catastrophic earthquakes that have killed hundreds of people and flattened many buildings.
In 2012, an earthquake of magnitude 6 hit the northeast, between Modena and Ferrara ,and killed six people.
Then nine days later a series of tremors in the Emilia Romagna region killed 19 and injured 350. In all 14,000 people were made homeless.
Italy’s worst quake in living memory hit the historic city of L’Aquila in the mountainous Abruzzo region in 2009.
Three hundred people were killed and six thousands made homeless in what was one of Europe’s biggest natural disasters. The quake traumatized the country and caused bilions of euros of damage.
In October 2002 in the village of San Giuliano di Puglia 30 people were killed and sixty wounded – 27 of them were children and one was their teacher. They had perished when their school roof collapsed on them.
Two earthquakes hit Umbria within a week of each other in 1997 killing 12 and injuring 110. In all 38,000 were made homeless. The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi was also destroyed, as well as other historic buildings.
In December 1990 Sicily was struck between the cities of Catania and Ragusa. Seventeen people were killed and two hundred wounded.
In November 1980, a 6.9 strong earthquake hit Campania in the southern province of Avellino and Basilicata, killing 2,916 and injuring 20,000 in the Naples area.
In 1915 during the first world war a massive earthquake hit Avezzano in the Abruzzo region. About 30,000 people died.
The deadliest earthquake occurred in December 1908 with a magnitude of 7.5 in the Strait of Messina which killed around 95,000 people between the cities of Messina on Sicily and Reggio Calabria on the mainland. A tidal wave followed which caused even more devastation.