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The earthquakes of May 20th and 29th, 2012 A provisional report of a dramatic experience The earthquake in Emilia has left profound scars, caused suffering and added further difficulty to what was already a complex economic situation. There has, however, been an extraordinary response to this disaster.
The reaction to the devastating “earth breath” Courage and solidarity Several months have passed since the profound and lethal "earth breath" of May 20th which made us discover how fragile we are. If it is when faced with difficulties that we see how a community reacts, then Ferrara has shown extraordinary strength.
Doing business in an earthquake zone Will, pragmatism and creativity The earthquakes of May 2012 extensively and violently damaged the most productive district of our province - the upper Ferrara area which houses most of the industrial activity of the area.
“We’re still here, we haven’t left” Small businesses and craftsmen Eight months after the earthquake it is possible to take stock of the situation, analyzing what has been done. I can testify that, after the initial pain and discomfort, my colleagues and craftsmen reacted by rolling up their sleeves and removing the rubble from homes and businesses.
Tha agricultural sector and the earthquake Facts and considerations Old rural culture has always been cautiously afraid of leap years. In the 2012 leap year we witnessed a catastrophic earthquake and a devastating drought that
extensively damaged not only agricultural buildings but also the farm revenue for a large part of the upper Ferrara area.

The earthquake and cultural heritage in Ferrara and territory

Written by  Carla di Francesco

"Build with safety"

11-01The city of Ferrara was sufficiently distant from the epicentres of the two earthquakes of the 20th and 29th of May to avoid a repeat of the tragedy of 1570, when it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake. We know this from the precise testimony recorded in the "Libro o Trattato de' diversi terremoti" (Treaty on Earthquakes) by Pirro Ligorio, antiquarian and ducal architect. The monuments and artistic heritage, however, have suffered serious damage. The most critical consequences can be seen in the towns and many villages which have de11-02veloped around the churches in the Upper Ferrara area. The first difficult problem to be addressed here was that of the bell towers which had suffered grave damages. Solutions have been found for all of them, and at present they are propped up, fitted with support hoops and generally held together while waiting for restoration. "Temporary structures" and "safety measures" were therefore the passwords in the first months of the emergency. The Ministry for Cultural Heritage then established the Regional Crisis Unit (U.C.R.), with the task of coordinating the Supe11-03rintendencies during emergency operations and guiding the subsequent reconstruction work. The U.C.R. has launched various activities involving groups of technicians working on site: the first priority, carried out in collaboration with the Fire Department, was to make-safe bell towers and dangerous buildings.
At the same time, the recovery of works of art, archives and libraries began, saving them from the dangers of damaged or collapsing buildings. The works of art were mainly held in the Ducal Palace in Sassuo11-04lo, where a laboratory has been set up for the first emergency operations, directed by the Superintendence of Modena. The first artworks to arrive here were from the church of Mirabello, the Assumption by Guercino from the Rosario in Cento and the Guercino paintings from Renazzo and Corporeno. We can also find a Benedetto Gennari canvas, depicting St. Anthony of Padua and Child, reduced to crumpled fragments. Today, eight young restorers are carrying out the first urgent operations for the protection of these works of art. A systematic survey of the damage, building by building, shows 11-05that out of a total of 2,000 buildings damaged in the earthquake impact zone, about 620 belong to the province of Ferrara, including 160 churches, whilst over 350 properties are located within the Municipality of Ferrara. What does the future hold for the cultural heritage damaged by the earthquake? By the end of March the 2013 program of interventions will be launched, backed by Regional law no. 11-0616/2012 on reconstruction. The buildings will be restored, but we must be aware of the length of time required for the restoration of this part of our cultural heritage, partly because of the vastness of the area affected and also as a result of the severity of the damage suffered. In Ferrara, where the damage is not serious but widespread, the events of 1570 have been forgotten, and the city incorrectly considered itself to be free from the dangers of earthquakes. We must henceforth "build with safety", combining the restoration operations with safeguards that will reinforce the structures and make them, as far as possible, able to withstand any further earthquakes.