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. Heavyarms

    Bendandi meant to say 21st.........

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

    Sarah Palin believes that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday and that they parked them in the Colosseum.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • UHhello

      Gottal love them brontasauras burgers!!

      May 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sick of twit

      palintwit- Go away. Find something else to rant about. Your obsession with Palin is getting old.

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

    rome sucks anyways.....nothin like them back hills of tennessee yall!!!

    May 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • angus squared

      hot dog willy nilly you hit the head on the hammer....yeee hawwww, go obama!!!

      May 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caligula

      Problem with rome is all dem darn eye-talians in themz fancy shoes a theirs. Giddy Up Pony!

      May 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathryn M.

      Seriously then you have obviously not been to Rome .

      May 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathryn M.

      Seriously, then you have obviously not been to Rome in your life.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Spanish Inquisition

    The day isn't over yet, is it ?

    May 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. palintwit

    Sarah Palin believes that the Rolling Stones played at the Colosseum the last time they toured Italy.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • leonard

      get a life, i bet palin is twice as smart as u

      May 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caligula

      The Palin jokes are older than Betty White, they are utterly boring and it only makes non-palinites look just as immature as some of her antics, so I agree with Leonard, Ms. Palin is much smarter than you and your ilk. Enough already.

      -Love, a fellow democrat.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      Actually, Palin bashing is almost as big an American pastime as baseball !!

      May 11, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thrice lice

    my head itches 🙁

    May 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. palintwit

    Sarah Palin is trying to rent the Colosseum for a teabagger rally. YYEEEHAAWWW !!!

    May 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. matt

    Massive quake in Spain today...this guy wasnt far off

    May 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Manel

    Church in Spain falling on TV

    May 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jess

    I live in Barcelona….but i'm from earthquake country in southern california….and no…this man WAS NOT far off on his predictions….and people have already been killed by at 5.3….imagine the ruins not being able to withstand a 5.3 pressure….better here than there?

    May 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. me

    Spain is NOT that far from Italy. I wonder if they are on the same techtonoic plate?

    May 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      Sarah Palin believes that a techtonic plate is something you put in the dishwasher.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benny

      @ twit – ROFL – Love it! They just keep getting better!

      May 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kempis

    Now if we can just put this global warming nonsense to bed we can debunck another flawed "scientific" theory.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Albert

    If we dont really know when God is coming but we see these signs then it means his coming is VERY CLOSE....i will rather urge that we recieve Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, so that if he should come today or the 21st we'll find a place in his New kingdom. I think that is rather important...

    May 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • :)

      Amen brotha, one thing tho, y do u mention the 21st? Nobody knows the day or hour of our Lord's return

      May 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benny

      because like every other uber-religious nut in existence they listen to the other uber-religious nuts and heard that the 21st is "Rapture" and are hoping that their something similar to "war of the worlds" is going to happen to them, only without the big scary alien ships...

      Live life. Love each other. Keep your religions to yourselves. We'll all get along better.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kathryn M.

    I think he meant Lorca, Spain...huge and deadly quake there today.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SnowLeopard

      I know, scary coincidence???

      May 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. m yass

    spain got hit today

    May 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
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