Destruction from the devastating earthquake that struck northern Abruzzo in 2009 – 10km from the regional capital L'Aquila – is still very much in evidence. After three years, much of L'Aquila's centro storico (historic center) is still off limits to visitors: rubble surrounds buildings damaged beyond repair, scaffolding fronts those slowly undergoing restoration, and the military patrols cordoned-off streets. Many of the 65,000 made homeless by the earthquake remain in housing estates built to accommodate them on the edge of the city.
Abruzzo and neighbouring Molise are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes as they sit on a major fault line that follows the Apennines from Sicily up to Genoa.
At the time of research there was no indication as to when restorations to L'Aquila's historic centre would be complete.