Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Major Earthquake Devastates Central Italy

L'AQUILA, Italy -- A powerful earthquake shook this medieval town in central Italy early Monday morning, killing more than 150 people, leaving tens of thousands without a home and damaging many of the centuries-old monuments that make up the city's rich cultural heritage.

Many of the buildings in L'Aquila that collapsed or were damaged were centuries-old monuments. The back of the 13th-century Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, founded by the future Pope Celestino V, collapsed, leaving the church "open on the back," said Giuseppe Proietti, secretary-general of Italy's Culture Ministry. The dome of the Church of Blessed Souls also caved in, he said.

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