14 years ago, on 6 April 2009, a devastating earthquake struck the city of L’Aquila and its province. On that day, almost 300 people lost their lives and thousands were injured. Today, so much time later, we find ourselves reflecting on the results of the reconstruction and the work done to bring the city to a new beginning.
The earthquake that struck L’Aquila was one of the strongest in recent years in Italy. The main tremor had a magnitude of 6.3, so much so that it shook not only the city, but the entire region. The damage was considerable and the heart of L’Aquila, with its historical monuments and streets, was devastated.
Reconstruction, as often happens in these cases, has been a tortuous path, but today the city finally seems ready to start again. The challenge of reconstruction was not only to get the houses and buildings back on their feet, but also to rebuild the soul of the community.
Many were the problems encountered during these years, from the legal disputes between the construction companies and the contractors, to the bureaucratic difficulties in finding financing. But now, finally, the city of L’Aquila has reached a turning point.
L’Aquila’s historic city centre has been completely restored, with a focus on the reconstruction of the city’s most representative historical monuments and architecture. The new buildings were constructed with a strong focus on environmental sustainability and the use of low-carbon materials.
In addition, the city’s infrastructure was extensively improved, from the transport system to tourism. Reconstruction has enabled the city to reaffirm its cultural identity and revive its economy.
Despite the positive results achieved, there are still some critical issues to be addressed, including the question of temporary shelters and those of the displaced people still homeless. But what remains undeniable is the effort made by the community of the city of L’Aquila and its territory to get back on its feet and restart, thanks in part to the unwavering commitment of its mayor, Pierluigi Biondi, and the President of the Region, Marco Marsilio, who have been committed to the reconstruction and revitalisation of L’Aquila ever since they took office.
On the anniversary of that fateful day, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wished to make the presence of the government she presides over strongly felt by attending the Mass in memory of the earthquake victims together with Senate President La Russa, Regional President Marsilio, and L’Aquila Mayor Pierluigi Biondi. On the same day, they unveiled a stele depicting the saffron crocus, the symbol chosen by the municipality to commemorate the tragedy. The name of the work is ‘Oltre 6.3’ (Beyond 6.3), recalling the degree on the Richter scale recorded on the night between 5 and 6 April 2009.
Fourteen years after the earthquake, L’Aquila thus offers us an example of strength and resilience. The city has been able to rebuild itself not only infrastructurally, but also emotionally. The people of L’Aquila have shown that they are able to face adversity and return to life with the same intensity and vitality as before, and those who govern there have been able to demonstrate that even in Italy it is possible to administer in the right way.