Before L'Aquila's purgatory


Prior to the devastation of Monday's earthquake, L'Aquila was a picturesque hillside city of 75,000 inhabitants nestled in the Gran Sasso mountains in the Abruzzo region, about 90 km east of Rome. Elegant Baroque and Renaissance buildings and churches graced its piazzas and narrow streets.

L'Aquila's origins can be traced back to the 13th century, but most of its historic centre dates back 300 years, when it was rebuilt following the last major earthquake in 1703. Earlier seismic events had shattered the once proud medieval city.

Writing in The Irish Times, Irish writer Miriam O'Callaghan points out that L'Aquila was not always a plagued, razed purgatory, but a bird possessed by Zeus, who sent Aquila to the heavens to be his cup bearer. But on Monday he 'sent his terrible thunder to L'Aquila'.

'As yet there is no sign of its rising from the ashes. Nor in this Easter week — La Pasqua — from the tomb.'

These low resolution images were taken with an early 0.7 megapixel digital camera during a visit to L'Aquila in 1997.


Michael Mullins is the editor of Eureka Street. Click here for more images from his visit to L'Aquila.

Topic tags: michael mullins, L'Aquila, Italy, earthquakes, photo essay



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Existing comments

Would you like some more L'Aquila photos (from 2008)?
Fr John Hill | 08 April 2009

How good to have this recorded before the earthquake; how nice these photos taken with an early low-res camera. Wondering how many of these recorded statues survived. The "Click here for more images" was well worth the effort to see L'Aquila before the devastation there.
Jeanne Conte | 04 November 2011

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