permanent exhibition

palazzo Orgnani Martina - via Mistruzzi n. 4/9
33010 Venzone (UD)


friday : 15 - 19

saturday and sunday : 9 - 13 / 15 - 19


full : 5 euro / cut price : 4 euro / school children : 3 euro

Pain, fear, anger

At the first light of day, on 7th May 1976, what was left of Friuli after the earthquake could be seen.

photo Giorgio Lotti

Victims and ruins were everywhere. Confused rumours flew about with the names of those who were still missing, those who had been found alive, those whose life was hanging on a thread. The situation changed dramatically hour by hour. Friuli was made up of close-knit communities where interpersonal relationships were very strong. Under the rubble were relatives, friends and neighbours. Every family had its own personal human and material losses. The pain, which left people immobilised, belonged to everyone. The earth did not stop shaking. This continued for days. There was bewilderment about what had happened and for the impotence that was felt in front of this natural disaster.

The activity in the hospitals was frenetic. The medical staff continuously transferred the patients from damaged buildings to safer structures, where the injured victims were treated non-stop even though the quakes continued. It was difficult to reach the areas that had been struck by the seism. The telephone network was completely out of working order and even the military broadcasting system was damaged. Radio enthusiasts volunteered their services to the authorities and created a radio bridge which allowed a more precise vision of the situation. From all over the central-northern area of Italy, convoys of the National Fire Department vehicles and officers sped towards the earthquake-struck zone, in order to bring the first emergency help. Even though there were victims among the military servicemen themselves and the majority of the barracks were damaged or destroyed, the units based in the region gave the first providential help to the local population. All the State organisations were involved in the emergency operations, the Health Services, the Local Agencies and the State Civil Service. They were many who precipitated from every part of Italy in order to bring help: people from State organisations and volunteers were united by the same sense of solidarity that pushed them to give the best of themselves.

The disaster area was visited by television and newspaper journalists. They were shocked by what they saw. They described the tragedy that had struck this area. They were astonished by the dignified behaviour of the Friulan people. They underlined the moral force, the tenacity and the determination. The will to quickly reconstruct what had been destroyed; even if they had to do it “di bessoi”, by themselves. Already during the morning of 7th May, the Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, and the Interior Minister, Francesco Cossiga, visited the worst affected areas. In the afternoon, it was the turn of the President of the Republic, Giovanni Leone, who met the Mayors and the Regional Authorities in the Provincial Palace of Udine. In less than twenty-four hours from the seism, the Extraordinary Commissioner of the Government, Giuseppe Zamberletti, took office in Udine to coordinate all the forces present on the territory. Nine Operative Field Centres were immediately instituted, spread throughout the earthquake-affected area. Each one had an emergency unit, which would collaborate with the local mayors to face and to resolve all the difficulties.

It became clear that Friuli was not alone..

© copyright 2009
Associazione Comuni Terremotati e Sindaci della Ricostruzione del Friuli