At 1:50 AM 15 years ago, Umbria was struck an enormous blow! A frightening and devastating earthquake hit the region hard, destroying entire villages and hill towns, works of art and important architectural structures. Still reeling from the sleepless night, Umbria was subjected to an unexpected second punch (even stronger than the one the night before) the next morning at 11:00 AM. There was an inspection of damages from the night before – under way at that exact time of 11:00 AM in the Basilica of Saint Frances in Assisi, one of Umbria’s most beloved churches and of fundamental importance to the entire history of art, when a second earthquake struck. The four inspectors were killed by the falling stucco, stones and plaster of the vaults and of the world-famous frescoes on the vaults of the apse.
For years and years a painstaking restoration of the Basilica was conducted – a job which took almost 13 years to finish with, however, excellent results.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the plight and pain of the numerous homeless, many of whom are still in containers, or at best in prefabbed cubicles instead of being provided with more appropriate housing. Some mountain hill towns have been restored – others are ghost towns.
Just in case – if by chance we still need a reminder – it is Mother Nature who is in charge! 15 years ago today was an eloquent reminder!