Norcia's Basilica of San Benedetto among historic sites destroyed by latest Italian earthquakeBreaking News
tags: Italy, earthquake, Basilica of San Benedetto
A violent 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy between the Umbria and Marche regions, near the towns of Norcia, Preci and Castelsantangelo sul Nera, on the morning of 30 October. The earthquake, the most powerful to hit the country since 1980, has brought devastation to areas that were already damaged by the 6.2-magnitude earthquake of 24 August, which killed almost 300 people. No further deaths have been reported in the recent wave of seismic activity. The latest disaster follows a pair of tremors (5.4- and 5.9-magnitude) in quick succession on 26 October.
As the culture ministry prohibits officials from entering vulnerable buildings in case of aftershocks, the fire brigade is again at the front line of efforts to protect and secure churches and heritage sites. (In 1997, four people died while inspecting the damaged Basilica of St Francis in Assisi in the aftershocks following two major earthquakes.) In Norcia, specialist staff trained in mountain climbing used a crane with a 40m-long arm to detach the pinnacles and cross from the Basilica of San Benedetto, which was almost completely destroyed. The 14th-century basilica was built over the ancient Roman birthplace of the twin saints, Benedict and Scholastica. Its international community of Benedictine monks welcomed around 50,000 pilgrims a year.
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