Earthquakes and how to deal with them

Buying in Umbria, how to choose and protect your property.

After the earthquakes that hit Central Italy in August and October is seemed the damage was immense and most of Umbria was wiped out. This was however hugely exaggerated and largely due the media continuously showing the same images of the very few villages that were indeed hit hard. In those little towns lives were lost, houses destroyed, communities unraveled and historical places lost forever, and now what?

To understand which areas are most prone to suffer from these shocks we can have a look at how the Italian government has divided the various parts of Umbria into categories with more and less risk of damage. The map clearly shows that how closer you get to the Apennines, where the vault runs from north to south, the higher the risk of damage will be.

earthquakes in Umbria, Italy, how to deal with your future property
earthquakes in Umbria, what do to with your property?

Obviously it then depends on the building itself. An ancient medieval townhouse which has been built hundreds of years ago without the technology, materials and knowledge we have available today will most likely suffer the most. A building of recent construction or renovation with all these features integrated will most likely get through without major damages.

The question then pops up what we can possibly do for owners or potential buyers, of these charming but unstable old properties? The local builders will for sure bring up the difference between “adeguare” and “megliorare”. Megliorare, or to improve, can be any intervention at all, from changing one ceiling beam to a lintel over a doorway. Adeguare however means to make a building earthquake proof, or capable of withstanding an earthquake without major structural damage. The latter obviously is much more costly, but it all depends on the building itself, the state it is in, the size and much more.

For buyers thinking of living in a historic center it may be worthwhile taking all of this into consideration before falling in love with a charming but rickety property near the epicenter of the recent quakes. For those about to buy a ruin and renovate it could turn out interesting going over the various possibilities before starting their project, to make sure the money is invested in the most safe and profitable way.

Our colleagues of Renovating in Umbria are a good source of information and demonstration of how all of this turns out in real life. Costs, quotes, challenges, advice, they can give you a complete overview of everything related to construction, renovation and repair of damages.

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