Earthquake Risk in Italy - Updated for 2023
earthquake in Norcia Italy
We are often asked where the earthquake risk in Italy is at its most dangerous. We've got the answer for you: not only the most at-risk regions but the least-at-risk regions too. For volcano risk in Italy click here.
High Risk: regions where the worst earthquakes in Italian history have occurred and are at high risk.
Campo Flegrei is the most dangerous seismic area in all of Italy, and experts warn that it is in an extremely volatile state.
Thankfully, the earthquake in 2023 caused little damage and no reported injuries, but it has brought home to residents of Naples and surrounding towns the dangers they live with daily.
A few areas in particular stand out; they are as follows:
- The central mountain range area, running from Umbria and Le Marche in central Italy, has been badly hit in recent times; this risk zone runs all the way down to Calabria in the far south.
- South-western part of Calabria;
- North-eastern and south-western coasts of Sicily;
- The area north of Udine, bordering Slovenia, is in Italy's far north-east corner region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Positano & the Amalfi Coast, shown in the photo, is not considered a high risk area.
The low risk areas include:
- Eastern parts of Piedmont; the capital of this region is Turin, and the city is just outside the low-risk zone of eastern Piedmont; therefore, Turin falls into the next category up, the low end of the medium earthquake risk category.
- Most of Lombardy, this is the region where Milan is located and Milan has a moderate risk of earthquakes as it, like Turin, falls just outside Lombardy's low risk area and is therefore in the low end of the medium risk category.
- Eastern half of Trentino-Alto Adige;
- The southern half Puglia (from south of Bari to the southern tip of Puglia).
The Questions We Get Asked Most About Earthquakes in Italy
Rome is at the upper end of the medium risk category and borders onto the higher risk category.
Florence is at the upper end of the "medium" risk category for earthquakes.
Venice is in in the low medium risk category.
No, it is not considered a high-risk zone and is considered one of the safest parts of the Campania region.
In Messina in 1908, it is believed that anywhere between 75,000 and 200,000 people were killed. This is the worst earthquake in European history and devastated both Eastern Sicily and Southern Calabria.
In 2017 major earthquakes occurred in Lazio, Abruzzo, Le Marche and Umbria as well as on the island of Ischia.
Residents and tourists in Italy should stay informed through official channels, such as Italy's Civil Protection Department, and be aware of emergency procedures and evacuation routes. If you are not in an emergency situation or in an effected area you can follow the latest on major news events in Italy, including earthquakes, on our blog - you can follow us here.
Yes, Italy has implemented early warning systems, such as the ShakeAlert® system, to provide seconds to minutes of warning before strong shaking occurs.
Italy has both seismic and volcanic activity, but earthquakes do not directly trigger volcanic eruptions. They are separate geological phenomena.
Where is there No Earthquake Risk in Italy?
When it comes to earthquakes, there is virtually nowhere on earth that is zero risk. In Italy, the region with virtually no risk of earthquakes is Sardinia. It is pretty much as safe as the safest corners of the globe.
Earthquake Risk in Italy Map
Is the region of Italy you're visiting at risk? Have a look at the seismic risk map for Italy
If you are going on vacation to Italy then the earthquake risk will probably not influence your decision on where to visit. I am no statistician, but I would think that the risk of an earthquake happening during your week or two in Italy would be tiny.
Of course, there is never a guarantee of anything these days so always make sure you are insured - see our important advice here.
However, if you are buying a house in Italy then you need to seriously consider if it is wise to buy real estate that is located in an earthquake prone area. The reasons for this are twofold:
Firstly, because any property you see may have previous earthquake damage that you are unaware of.
Secondly, there is always the risk of a future earthquake destroying your Italian dream and risking your life in the space of minutes.
The choice is yours! However, be sure you read our guide to insuring a home in Italy against earthquakes etc.
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