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. Sure

    This person Raffaele Bendandi was 99% true to his saying. There was a earthquake that hit Spain today 5/11/11. Read your world news breaking news headlines.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Italo

      Dozens or even hundreds of minor earthquakes shook Europe today, like they do every day of the year. That doesn't make Bendandi correct.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • angus

      ur dumb

      May 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denver Fowler

      well said Italo.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • neoritter

      Was it of the size and magnitude that was forecasted.

      May 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • loghu

      yes. it is..

      May 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darin

      Earthquakes happen every day on the planet.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    @Michael: So, dooch face?

    May 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. keeth in cali

    I don't believe it will happen, but it is typical of American journalism to pronounce final outcomes before the end of any event or forecast period. It's still 5/11 in Rome. There is still time left for their "big one" to occur.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    I GOT ONE QUESTION: How can you predict an earthquake to the very day it is to occur? I mean Seriously.......

    May 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • vbscript2

      answer: you can't.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. marco

    Murcia is just 280 miles from italia!

    May 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. marco

    correction: Spain is just, only 450 miles from italia!

    May 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marco

    280 miles, 450 km

    May 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tino

    I guess Bendandi was several hundred miles off target. As Sure points out earlier it did happen only in Spain not Italy.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Imperabo

    The earthquake in Spain is 800 miles from Rome. Earthquakes of 5.0 – 5.9 magnitude happen, on average, about 4 times per day somewhere in the world.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • marco


      May 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michael

    I love how banasy gets on here and tells us how she is blessed with a wonderful family and telling us her stories. And the rapport with her gang of buddies is so fun to read. They should to do it more! Banasy, you and your sista sound like people I'd like to meet online. Do me a favor and tell me how to make friends. Txt or call your buddies and tell them I need friends! Don't ever get off of these blogs.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Denver Fowler

    This isn't news: nothing happened. Bendandi wasn't a scientist either (do you guys research your articles at all these days?), he was a crackpot who got lucky on one prediction. Are we going to get CNN reporting on everything that doesn't happen tomorrow? Try some journalism guys, or just quit. more rubbish reporting from CNN.

    May 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • angus

      cnn sucks, fox news!

      May 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. angus

    want real news? go to FOX NEWS!!!! The only accurate and accountable source of journalism

    May 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      Seriously? Surely you jest! Fox? Bwawawahahahahhahaha

      May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. marco


    May 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply


    May 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Scott

    I think many people forget that his last prediction was 2 days off...However, it did happen....It would have been different if it was several months down the road....but 2 days is pretty close.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • angus

      i think you forget that your a tard

      May 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott


      Great...Just what the world needs...Another Keyboard Warrior...You're so cool.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marco


    cnn sucks, fox news!"

    May 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • angus

      marco – did you cross our border illegally? if so please go back to your home country, PS please put sour cream on my taco 🙂

      May 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
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