8 December 2016
Civita di Bagnoregio: the worlds first landslide museum?
The village of Civita di Bagnoregio in the Province of Viterbo of Central Italy is located about 120 km from Rome. The settlement was founded about 2500 years ago, but was essentially abandoned in at the end of the 17th Century as a result of a major earthquake on 11th June 1695, which triggered a major landslide below the town. The vulnerability of this site to landslides in evident from photographs of the village:
The town is located on a cliff 200 m high formed from a c.20 m thick layer of jointed Quaternary ignimbrite (a deposit formed from pumice fragments deposited by pyroclastic flows) sitting over a layered pyroclastic deposit. Sitting below this is a weak Tertiary clay formation. This is a classic setting for landslides, of which Civita di Bagnoregio has a long history. Indeed, in a new paper in Landslides, Margottini and Di Buduo (2016) document over 150 landslide events dating back to 1373 AD, but noting that this might well be an underestimate. A quick look at the Google Earth imagery explains why:
In recent years the town has gone through something of a revival due to tourism, perhaps unsurprisingly. To capitalise, the local government (Administration of Bagnoregio) has established a Geological and Landslide Museum in the Palazzo Alemanni in the centre of the village. The museum opened in April 2012. It cover three floors, dedicated to providing information about research on landslides. Unsurprisingly there is a strong focus on the nature and impact of landslides in the Civita di Bagnoregio locality. The museum also organises conferences, temporary exhibitions and educational activities.
I am not aware of any other museum dedicated to landslides. I have yet to visit – I think a trip to Italy might be in order!
Margottini, C. & Di Buduo, G. 2016. The Geological and Landslides Museum of Civita di Bagnoregio (Central Italy). Landslides doi:10.1007/s10346-016-0778-3