At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Friuli earthquake


First of two disasters to rock Italy in the same year


Tolmezzo in Friuli Venezia Giulia was said to have been close to the epicentre of the 1348 earthquake
Tolmezzo in Friuli Venezia Giulia was said to have
been close to the epicentre of the 1348 earthquake
A devastating earthquake hit the area now known as Friuli Venezia Giulia on this day in 1348.

With a seismic intensity believed to be the equivalent of 6.9 on the Richter scale, the effects of the quake were felt right across Europe.

According to contemporary sources, houses and churches collapsed and there were numerous casualties. It was recorded that even as far away as Rome, buildings had been damaged.

The epicentre is believed to have been north of Udine to the east of the small towns of Tolmezzo, Venzone and Gemona.

The earthquake happened on 25 January early in the afternoon and its effects were immediately felt in Udine, where the castle and cathedral were both damaged.

In Austria the town of Villach was later hit by a landslide caused by the earthquake. Buildings in Carniola, part of present day Slovenia, and in Vicenza, Verona and Venice were also damaged.

It was recorded that the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was damaged by the earthquake and an ancient tower nearby developed a permanent tilt. Aftershocks were felt in different parts of Italy for several weeks.

Later in the same year, the Black Death, or bubonic plague, swept through Italy and was reported to have killed off large numbers of the populations of Florence, Venice, Pisa and Naples.


The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome was damaged by the earthquake
The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome
was damaged by the earthquake
At the time the two disasters were believed to be connected and people interpreted them as Acts of God, sent to punish them for their sins and over indulgence.

Travel tip:

Udine, the main city in Friuli, is not far from Italy’s border with Slovenia but has some distinct Venetian influences. In the principal square, Piazza della Libert√†, there are beautiful 15th century Venetian-style buildings, such as the candy striped town hall, Loggia del Lionello and the clock tower, Torre dell’Orologio, which resembles the one in Piazza San Marco in Venice. 

Look for hotels in Udine with Hotels.com or venere.com


Travel tip:

Tolmezzo, to the north of Udine, is an historic town at the foot of a mountain. It had been a settlement even before it was taken over by the Romans but it did not become part of the Kingdom of Italy till 1866. There are interesting old streets to explore and the 18th century Duomo di San Martino contains 16th century art treasures. The town’s Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari has a collection illustrating the life, traditions and early farming methods of the area.

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