The day Rome didn’t disappear
An aerial view of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.
May 11th, 2011
12:20 PM ET

The day Rome didn’t disappear

Romans let out a sigh of relief Wednesday morning.

Everything was still in place: buildings, famous ancient ruins, schools and homes.

In recent months, concerns of a possible earthquake that was going to destroy the "Eternal City" spread on the Web. It all started with the misinterpretation of the theory of Raffaele Bendandi, a seismologist who died in 1979 who claimed a major quake would take place on May 11, 2011. After the Japanese earthquake, concern turned to anxiety.

And with the best view of the planets clustering before sunrise Wednesday, it caused further panic.

In some areas of the city, nearly 50% of the shops where closed. On doors are quick handwritten notes: ‘Closed for inventory."

While several minor quakes rattled the country prone to temblors, none came like the one in the purported claim. Still, some residents fled, just in case.

Daniela D’Amely, a graphic designer mother of a 12-year-old, told CNN her daughter "begged" her to escape from Rome today. Eventually, her daughter did go to school, but many other kids were absent.

According to the police, traffic was more intense than usual on roads leading out of Rome.

Bendandi, a self-made scientist from a village in central Italy, with some official recognition during his life, believed that the alignment of the planets could change the gravitational force of the Earth, causing earthquakes.

But experts at the National Geophysical and Volcanology Institute stressed there was nothing to be worried about.

‘The force from aligned planets is irrelevant compared to the tectonic forces of the Earth's plates whose movements create real earthquakes," said seismologist Lucia Margheriti. "None of the big earthquakes of the last century happened with particular planets' alignment."

The Institute is even holding an event to explain and address the worries - and over 1,000 visitors where registered since the early hours of the morning.

"When we have conferences to inform people on earthquakes prevention measures, nobody comes," Margheriti said. "Public reacts to strong emotions like fear, and for us today is a good occasion to reach people that are not usually interested in geology."

A woman asked them if today she could have a ultrasound medical test or if it was better to move the appointment. Of course the answer was to do the ultrasound today.

Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, also assured Romans that nothing as a devastating earthquake would happen today.

"It’s not a scientific forecast," ANSA news agency reported him saying this morning. ‘We have to remain calm."

"Bendandi’s theory have no scientific evidence," said Marco Loppi, a geophysicist who now earns his living selling mobile phones.

"In Italy we register dozens of minor earthquakes every day. The real problem is that there is very little scientific information and people that search the net fall easily in this kind of stupid predictions."

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Filed under: Italy
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. TvNYC

    Spain 5.3

    May 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TvNYC

    What happen to the comments? I can't see them!

    May 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PlayfulDreamer

    ' "When we have conferences to inform people on earthquakes prevention measures, nobody comes," Margheriti said. "Public reacts to strong emotions like fear, and for us today is a good occasion to reach people that are not usually interested in geology."

    A woman asked them if today she could have a ultrasound medical test or if it was better to move the appointment. Of course the answer was to do the ultrasound today. '

    Wonderful editing!

    May 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TvNYC

    CNN is a joke, didn't you already know that?

    May 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Drew Roberts Show

    The Roman Colosseum is absolutely glorious. Love it!

    May 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alamongordo .Com

    Nothing Yet 😉

    May 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Alamongordo .Com

    Ah, there it is – Breaking News 🙂

    May 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. citizen

    Do not fear the reckoning of the earthquake. A financial reckoning is more probable.
    Think about it!
    It is a recovery full of jobs! So says the whitehouse spokesperson.
    Perhaps you should get out a little more mister media liason. Last anyone checked; the only people with anything, are the creeps you gave taxpayer money, to pork us.
    Now, as for the rest of you. Sit back and relax. If it hasn't happened to you yet, don't worry, it will soon. The house of cards is stacked even higher this time.
    Yeah the American people can do anything they put their minds to and killing Geronimo was wonderful. Give yourself a big pat on the back.
    Now go outside and observe a country devastated by Greed and doublespeak. If the economy improves any more, we may all be hoping for an earthquake.

    May 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jahacopo2221

    "An aerial view of the Collisseum in Rome, Italy". That's just embarrassing, CNN. The proper spelling of that monument is Colosseum (though, Coliseum is an acceptable alternative in some sources). Your spelling is some horrible amalgamation of the two spellings. (Except I'm not sure where the second "L" came from....) If you need somebody to proofread your copy prior to posting on the internet for millions to see, I'm willing to take the job. We can negotiate my salary based on how many mistakes I have to correct. Lately, there have been quite a few.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Krys

    5.1 Earthquake in Spain just happened. It's still 5/11 in Europe. I guess the guy was close with his prediction. CNN is slow on delivering the news.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alamongordo .Com

      CNN was on time, YOU where 12 minutes late !

      May 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Badonkadonk!

    i poop so big i create earthquakes.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chuckmartel

    Only an imbecile could believe that someone in 1979 could accurately predict a quake in a given area decades later. Nice to see that Italy and other euro countries are full of dummies like the US. Look out though, 2012 is right around the corner.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rogelio

    HAIL CESAR! The king of cnn blogs, able to magically make comments disappear with a wave of his glorious hands. HAIL CESAR!

    May 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tim

    We all know this story. 'Oh, I guess we were wrong. There is no earthquake.' And then someone, somewhere, in a lab goes 'my god, it isn't today. It's TOMORROW.'

    Then the shaking starts.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marco

    but will be tomorrow!

    May 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
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