Perspective on the Italy Earthquakes by Scott Wilson

Assisi - where a bad earthquake hit in 1997

I've been sorry to read in the last couple weeks of the two earthquakes that hit northern Italy. I was just in Italy on a family vacation last month, and came pretty close to the cities where the two quakes occurred. One earthquake is bad enough, but for two to happen a very short distance from each other people must start to think they are cursed. We are pretty lucky here in Virginia not having to worry about many natural disasters. The obvious exception was last August's earthquake, which on the scale of things was relatively minor. But in Italy, worrying about earthquakes is a part of life.

When I was in Assisi, our tour guide told us about the damage that had been done by a strong earthquake. A centuries old church had some serious damage that took decades to repair. Much of the lifeblood of Italy's tourism is preserving the wonders that are hundreds of years old. They spend a lot of time and money making sure everything is restored to how it was in olden times. A great example of this is the town of Pompeii, which was devastated by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. The remnants of that town were discovered much later. And today you can go and see exactly what it looked like back then.

We can only hope that any future earthquakes will be concentrated in sparsely populated areas and not anywhere near some of Italy's greatest treasures. And if you've never been to Italy, go! There is so much to see.