Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
In northern Italy, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake makes a mess of Renaissance-era structures.
The impact of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Italy's Emilia-Romagna region on Sunday appears to have been made worse by the fact that significant seismic activity is rare there. Seven people have been reported dead in the aftermath of the first major earthquake anywhere nearby since the Ferrara quake of 1570.
Centuries of stable ground meant many villages in the region were well-stocked with Renaissance-era structures that were particularly vulnerable to tremors. In Finale Emilia, about 20 miles north of Bologna, a 14th century clock tower was split vertically, with the remaining half coming down during a powerful aftershock.
The earthquake left behind an estimated €200 million in damages to the local agricultural and livestock industries and as many as 4,000 people homeless.
Via Reuters, images of some of the damage caused by Sunday's earthquake:
People gather in front of the damaged Delle Rocche castle in Finale Emilia May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Giorgio Benvenuti
People gather on a street in front of the damaged Town Hall building on Sant' Agostino near Ferrara May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Giorgio Benvenuti