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

A summer of life and work

The summer of 1976 was an extremely difficult season.

photo Mauro Galligani

The earthquake-affected population was forced to live in tents. Soldiers set up 17,782 tents for a total of 116,000 sleeping beds. They came from everywhere; also from the Half-moon Organisation, which is the Muslim equivalent of the Red Cross, and from Eastern European countries. The solidarity shown by private citizens and public agencies brought to Friuli over 5,200 caravans, providing another 15,000 beds. 170 railway couchette wagons completed the picture of the temporary shelter.

Sometimes, in small towns, legends, superstitions and false news circulate and create unjustified panic. However, in the summer of 1976, rationality replaced fear and panic. The local press carried out the vital job of supplying information, communicating the precise picture of what was happening in the disaster area. It also carried out the important and effective operation of spreading scientific and technical knowledge in collaboration with scientists and specialists. Everyone could find out about the provisions being taken by the National Government and by the Region Authority, the progress of the aid initiatives and the reconstruction interventions that were being created. The people had the knowledge necessary to participate with understanding in the confrontation and debate with their own Administrators.

The desire to do something, to reconstruct, to return to normality, even though there was pain and the difficulties were infinite, was strong. The damaged houses were mended with funding contributions from the Regional Law 7 June 1976 n° 17. They were many workers who hurried to their factories in order to clear the rubble, to save the raw materials and to protect and repair the production lines. Already at the beginning of June, some factories had resumed activity. The spirit of “fasìn di bessoi”, which means doing it yourself on your own, stimulated the creation of a diffused ground-roots social organization which was in a position to resolve the most immediate problems. Popular participation came about spontaneously and immediately as dictated by the desire to overcome adversity. The population also faced the problem of primary requirements. In fact, the social structures and institutions, also brought to their knees by the earthquake, had a hard job satisfying everyone’s needs immediately.

It was also the moment to strongly vindicate the right to have prompt answers to these problems. The “tendopoli” or tent-towns, organised themselves and brought together the local communities to look after their territory. This will was very soon transformed into the need to participate in the decisions of the various authorities. Starting from Gemona, where only twelve days after the earthquake the duplicated news-sheet “Bulletin of Tendopoli Coordination” was published, the movement spread to the neighbouring municipalities. The “Coordination of the Earthquake-affected Towns” was established. The movement was strengthened thanks to the adhesion of spontaneous associations, committees and groups. The Institutions realised that the resolution of the problems demanded a great demonstration of democracy. The people of the tents made their voices heard.

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