An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck the medieval walled city of L'Aquila, Italy, in April 2009, claiming more than 300 lives and causing severe damage to almost all of the buildings in the historical center of the town, which is the capital of the Abruzzo region.
The area is still struggling to recover with just a few buildings having been repaired so far among the hundreds damaged.
Part of the nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio collapsed. The church has a pink-and-white facade and is a popular attraction for religious tourists.
The belltower of the Renaissance Basilica of San Bernardino crumbled, and L'Aquila's main San Massimo cathedral was damaged.
Despite its pretty squares and churches, L'Aquila has never been a large tourist destination, but it is a university town and is home to 75,000 individuals with family roots dating back to the Middle Ages. Very little progress was made in the first few years following the earthquake, but now the regional government has regained control over recovery efforts from the capital, Rome.
A concert hall designed by Renzo Piano opened in October 2012 in a park in central L'Aquila. Unfortunately, further rebuild efforts are very slow, and most of the city center is still cordoned off.
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