Italian phrases like le scosse (shocks), il terremoto (earthquake) or le zone colpite (the affected areas) have regrettably become widely used for Italians living in Emilia Romagna.
It’s no news that the region (located in Northeast Italy, just above Tuscany and below Veneto and Lombardy) has been suffering from devastating earthquakes. The region often known as the heart of Italian cuisine has been hit a total of three times (arguably over five, depending on who you ask) and has experienced countless aftershocks. With magnitudes of 4.0-6.1, the region has suffered losses of over 6 billion dollars and no one knows if the ground will ever stop shaking.
Twenty-six casualties have been reported as well as hundreds injured and thousands displaced. Although the epicenter of each earthquake was in Emilia Romagna, shocks have been felt as far north as Austria. Due to the country’s location atop a fault line, earthquakes are common in Italy and have been for centuries.
Many of us in the United States forget about the turmoil Italy is experiencing now. It’s important to think of Emilia Romagna during this time because you can’t enjoy balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, pasta bolognese or prosciutto di Parma without appreciation for this region. Nor can you listen to Pavarotti or admire a Ferrari without enjoying amazing people and engineering from this region. It’s also known for two of the world’s oldest and best universities, The University of Bologna and The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Like anyone who studies abroad, their heart often remains in the places they’ve studied. I was fortunate enough to study in the town of Modena. The city itself has suffered minimal damage due to these devastating earthquakes, but the surrounding areas have not been as fortunate. Historic towers and churches in towns like Finale Emilia in the province of Modena have been reduced to ruble.
I think it’s important that we, Italian-Americans and Americans alike stick solitarily with the people of the region during this difficult time.
If you would like to show your support for the region of Emilia Romagna, donate to the OSIA Earthquake Relief Effort here.
Written by OSIA National Office Assistant, Carol Cummings.