I was saddened to see the news late last night and this morning of the devestating earthquake centered around L'Aquila. I had the pleasure of an extensive visit to the Abruzzo region two years ago this month - a very beautiful and mountainous place. Italy has far more seismic activity than most people realize. In fact, you can take a look at a list of earthquakes in the past 100 years and see that tens of thousands of people have been killed by earthquakes.
I immediately thought about the 1980 Irpinia earthquake that killed several thousand. This earthquake was centered in the Avellino area, near Naples, where my ancestral hometown is located. I first visited there in 1995 and you could still see areas greatly damaged that the quake that were never repaired or poorly fixed up. Then of course there is also the quake that severely damaged Assisi in 1997.
I've often thought of Italy as one of those places where there is great beauty on the outside but tragedy and struggle in the shadows. No more so than today. Watch this space for more as news develops...
Ways to help/resources:
NIAF (National Italian American Foundation) has created an Abruzzo relief fund.
You can make donations online to the Italian Red Cross - Croce Rossa.
This Abruzzo real estate agent is volunteering to help those abroad get in touch with loved ones in the affected area.