TRIESTE PROVINCE

GORIZIA PROVINCE

UDINE PROVINCE

UDINE

CARNIA

TARVISIO

VENZONE

GEMONA

BORDANO

SAN DANIELE

CIVIDALE

VILLA MANIN

AQUILEIA

MARANO LAGUNARE

PORDENONE PROVINCE

 

photo of book cover

 

Udine Province

Gemona

No one living in Friuli will ever forget the evening of May 6, 1976. For fifty-four seconds, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the region, killing nearly one thousand people and destroying over four thousand homes. Peaceful Gemona del Friuli, comfortably nestled in the foothills of Monte Chiampon, was at the epicenter of this terrible disaster. People still talk of the unreal stillness that followed the quake, the profound darkness and layers of dust that settled upon the town during the moments after the earth stopped trembling.

Reconstruction was just beginning when, in September of the same year, a second strong earthquake struck the town. One of Gemona’s great architectural treasures, the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, suffered major damage during both quakes. Ten years of skillful restoration have left the 164-foot-high bell tower, the central rose window, and the 23-foot-high stone relief of Saint Christopher as good as new, but observant visitors may notice that the columns inside the nave are still leaning.

After twenty-five years, the task of rebuilding Gemona was finally completed. Today, the medieval town center appears as unsoiled as a Hollywood movie set with its spotless sidewalks, immaculately clean streets, and freshly painted buildings. But if you wander long enough, you will likely stumble upon some rubble left untouched, a reminder of that fateful spring evening.