According to the reports I’ve been seeing this morning in the Italian news feed, there were at least 39 tremors in the region of Emilia this morning beginning at around 9 a.m. At 11:24 a.m., a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the town of Mirandola (which lies at the center of a triangle formed by Ferrara, Modena, and Mantua).
The New York Times reports that at least eight persons died this morning. Thousands of people have been left homeless and scores of factories have collapsed or been closed because of structural damage.
Photo via AGI.it.
In an uncanny twist of fate, the township of Mirandola had planned a town hall meeting this evening with earthquake experts who had hoped to calm local residents (the Mirandola township has a great website, btw, an indication of the industriousness and uprightness of the people who live there).
Of all of Italy’s regions, Emilia and its beauty are perhaps the most challenging for foreigners to understand. Emilia is a land of intellectual and sensual pleasures and partly because it is not a producer of fine wine (aside from a few exceptions like La Stoppa in the province of Piacenza), most enogastronomic travelers tend to gloss over its cultural patrimony after they’ve dined at one of the regions many culinary meccas. (My favorites are Trattoria Bianca in Modena and Ristorante Canossa in Reggio Emilia.)
Whereas the Venetian and Florentine Renaissances produced iconic works of figurative art that continue to attract tides of tourists each year, the Emilia Renaissance delivered the great epic poems of the sixteenth century (think Ariosto and Tasso), wildly popular intellectual hits of their day but sadly forgotten in comparative literature curricula today in Anglophone countries.
To contemplate [historic] Humanism without one of its greatest voices, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (whose family hailed from the town where the epicenter of today’s earthquake occurred) would be to disregard one of the greatest chapters in humankind’s intellectual development.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Emilia…