Damage to churches in the 2016 central Italy earthquakes

  • Andrea PennaEmail author
  • Chiara Calderini
  • Luigi Sorrentino
  • Caterina F. Carocci
  • Elvis Cescatti
  • Romina Sisti
  • Antonio Borri
  • Claudio Modena
  • Andrea Prota
S.I.: The 2016 central Italy Earthquakes


Churches struck by the earthquake sequence of 2016–2017 in Central Italy confirmed their seismic vulnerability, significantly higher than the one of other unreinforced masonry structures. This resulted in a much wider area affected by significant damages to churches, which were characterised by a rich variability of materials, typologies, dimensions and styles. In the area where significant damages were observed for ordinary buildings, most of the churches exhibited total or partial collapses. The time sequence of the main shocks helped in preventing casualties in churches although the collapse of a bell-gable in Accumoli caused victims in a neighbour house during the first event of August 24th, 2016. Damage surveys to churches were carried out on more than 4000 buildings, in a land area of about 30 000 km2 from September 2016 to May 2017. The data collected during the post-earthquake surveys represent a valuable source of information for better understanding the vulnerability of these structures as well as the effectiveness of past retrofitting interventions. Some examples are reported to show both damage progression due to the cumulated effect of repeated shaking and state-of-the-art strategies for short-term countermeasures.


Churches Masonry Heritage structures Seismic vulnerability Post-earthquake survey Provisional interventions 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of a number of colleagues, students and co-workers who voluntarily participated to the surveys, also providing a fundamental contribution to the critical emergency phase. The presented activities have been conducted by the Italian Centres of Competence on Earthquake Engineering EUCENTRE and ReLUIS under coordination and supervision of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and of the Department of Civil Protection. A specific contract has been signed between ReLUIS and DPC in order to support travel and lodging expenses of involved researchers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  2. 2.European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake EngineeringPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Structural and Geotechnical EngineeringSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  5. 5.Department of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of CataniaSyracuseItaly
  6. 6.Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  7. 7.Department of EngineeringUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  8. 8.Department of Structures for Engineering and ArchitectureUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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