Introspection on improper seismic retrofit of Basilica Santa Maria di Collemaggio after 2009 Italian earthquake

  • Gian Paolo CimellaroEmail author
  • Andrei M. Reinhorn
  • Alessandro De Stefano


The 2009 L’Aquila, Italy earthquake highlighted the seismic vulnerability of historic masonry building structures due to improper “strengthening” retrofit work that has been done in the last 50 years. Italian seismic standards recommend the use of traditional reinforcement techniques such as replacing the original wooden roof structure with new reinforced concrete (RC) or steel elements, inserting RC tie-beams in the masonry and new RC floors, and using RC jacketing on the shear walls. The L’Aquila earthquake revealed the numerous limitations of these interventions, because they led to increased seismic forces (due to greater additional weight) and to deformation incompatibilities of the incorporated elements with the existing masonry walls. This paper provides a discussion of technical issues pertaining to the seismic retrofit of the Santa Maria di Collemaggio Basilica and in particular, the limitations of the last (2000) retrofit intervention. Considerable damage was caused to the church because of questionable actions and incorrect and improper technical choices.


seismic vulnerability historic masonry building wooden roof structure seismic retrofit L’Aquila earthquake 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gian Paolo Cimellaro
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Andrei M. Reinhorn
    • 2
  • Alessandro De Stefano
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Structural & Geotechnical Engineering (DISTR) Politecnico di TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental EngineeringUniversity at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Department of Structural & Geotechnical Engineering (DISTR)Politecnico di TorinoTurinItaly

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