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. Agnes

    I couldn't take this news article seriously because there were so many spelling errors in it.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryaninspain

      no kidding! what is that? im glad someone else noticed this

      May 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • RHSimard

      I can't find any spelling errors, but I do see quite a few grammatical and punctuation errors.

      May 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      I think some back story or qualification is missing:
      "Bendandi’s theory have no scientific evidence," said Marco Loppi, a geophysicist who now earns his living selling mobile phones.

      Where did THAT come from?

      May 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Greg S

    All of you are writing about Sarah Palin, Yall all know her, She doesn't know a single one of you and never will.

    May 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • palintwit

      That certainly is a relief.

      May 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      We all know Hitler too, doesn't mean he's worth anything. Note, I am not comparing Hitler to her, but I am just pointing out the problem with the logic of what you're trying to say.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mattmchugh


      May 11, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    It's the 21st Century and people still believe in the pseudosciences of astrology, fortune telling and religion...

    May 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • fimeilleur

      While I aggree with your post, Religion has no scientific merit, so it's kind of insulting to the crazy pseudoscientists out there.

      May 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wes

    Yeah, the earthquake missed by about 800mi ....

    May 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Reynaldo

    However, Spain was rattled today by earthquakes. Considering that in ancient times Spain was part of the Roman Empire (Iberia) the coincidence is rather unsettling.

    May 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • fimeilleur

      Spain was it's own independant nation in the 1970s when he made the prediction... A competant man would know the difference.

      May 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      God: "Darn! I missed!"

      May 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • God

      "Darn! I missed!"

      May 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. OMG2010

    Amazing that people believe this nonsense.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nkinio

    the original prediction did not give specificsas to location but the date is as accurate as ever. And what is most intriguing is that it occured within the mediterranean region.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dan smith

    Wow Dave you actually know the day that Noah supposedly entered the ark, I'm really impressed. Guess you where there huh. By the way why don't we still have dinosaurs,didn't your god tell noah to take two of everything that creeps upon the earth. How is it the noah forgot about them, after all if the earth really is 7000 years old then the dinosaurs would've been around at the time of noah.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I never said the earth was 7000 years old. I said May 21 2011 will be exactly 7000 years to the day that Noah entered the ark. The year was 4990 BC the day was the 17th day on the 2nd month (Gen.7) of the hebrew calendar. May 21 just happens to be the 2nd month 17th day of the hebrew calendar.

      For more information that May 21 will be, not might be but will be the beginning of God's judgment you can go to

      The good news, today is still the day of salvation, we can still cry out to God for mercy like the Ninivites when they got word of time and judgment.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Miljenko

    Don't you people get it? The guy figured out how to foresee earthquakes. He did not get the place right, but he wasn't so far off. The fact that he got the timing right, that alone is incredible accomplishment!

    May 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • fimeilleur

      There are earthquakes EVERY day SOMEWHERE in the world... so by your logic... you'd be impressed with my prediction that the sun will come out tomorrow before noon?

      May 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pete Mitchell

    Yes he was some miles out but it was the largest earthquake in Spain for 50years,surely rather than take sides and argue his studies should be empiracally assessed.If there was to be any truth in them the benefits for people living in earthquakeprone areas could be immense.

    May 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Bear

    Yes I'm aware that there are about a half dozen magnitude 5+ earthquakes somewhere in the world every day, but not normally in western Europe and certainly not many resulting in deaths. It doesn't seem possible that the gravitational pull of planets could have any effect on tectonic plates but it is a very freaky coincidence.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Thed

    It's easy to think people who fled for their lives were naive. I think it was better to flee even if they did not believe the prediction. The point remains that someone predicted there would be earthquake today, and there was one, somewhere.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joey

    @ Dave:
    Please send me more information about May 21, 2011.
    You seem secure enough in your prediction, so I am convinced that you are correct.
    I am trying to make appointments for extramarital romantic adventures that day, and I want to be certain to be finished with them before it's too late to repent and board the "ark" of salvation.
    Please supply me with that day's detailed schedule of events.
    Specifically, what is the exact minute of Jesus' arrival?
    Thanking you in advance for your kind attention to this important matter, I remain,
    Very sincerely yours,

    May 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    I predict that there will be an earthquake tomorrow.
    My prediction will absolutely be proven correct.
    You'd better leave town.

    May 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    To all,
    May 21 2011 will be the great earthquake we read about in Rev.16:18.
    This will be the start of Gods judgment. for more information

    May 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
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