The earthquake in Central Italy

From 24th August to 30th October 2016, many seism, some ones up to 6.5° Richter have demolished a large part of the Apennines in the centre of Italy. Since the beginning of this disaster, Rotarians too have been working to help people affected by seism. Numerous initiatives have been launched by the clubs and districts to provide an immediate help to those people. On September 10th, at the occasion of the 10th Multi-Club Workshop held in Palermo, participants have also discussed on which assistance they can provide to the regions affected by the seism of 24th August. They have decided to point out a sustainable project to be implemented in cooperation with interested clubs, districts, The Rotary Foundation and other charities. Following this decision, Leonardo de Angelis initiated some contacts that he stepped after the seism of October 30th that destroyed Norcia. You will find here below two reports related to the 3 exploratory missions that Leonardo executed together with Massimo Massi Benedetti and Andrea Paolo Rossi.

On the occasion of the regular updates of this website, we will inform you on the development of this initiative as well.



Earthquake of the 24th August 2016

Training Centre for Local Community Development, Norcia

Exploratoring Meeting at Norcia




  • Father Cassian Folsom, Prior of the Monastery Saint Benedict, Norcia

  • Nicola Alemanno, Mayor of Norcia – Member of RC Norcia

       Due to his inescapable duties, he partly attended at the meeting

  • Massimo Massi Benedetti, Honorary Member, RC Foligno – PDG 2007-2008, D 2090 (Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, Umbria)

  • Leonardo de Angelis, Member, RC Ravenna – Past Chair 2013-2016, District Rotary Foundation Committee, D 2072 (Emilia Romagna, Italy & Republic of San Marino) 




On 22/09/2016, a few members of “Comitato per la Lotta alla Fame nel Mondo”, Forlì (The Committee) have travelled together with Leonardo de Angelis to the Marche part of the area affected by the earthquake of 24/08/2016. They visited the Municipality of Montegallo and which of Arquata sul Tronto to identify an important humanitarian project that The Committee would like to implement in that area. Thanks to the large and concrete help of the Civil Protection Department, Italian Government, local people received the first aid in terms of food, accommodation, sanitary needs.  As for the damaged houses and public buildings, the Italian Government decided to bear the cost of their refurbishing and/or reconstruction. This visit clarified that the help to people of this area can’t be granted in a traditional way but should be focused on some innovative solutions. So the earthquake could generate an opportunity for the development of local community that in many years have been suffering an important loss of young people who moved in other Italian regions and/or abroad.  However, due to the population distribution in many hamlets and the present lack of organized economic activities, the municipalities of Marche area affected by the earthquake don’t seem to have the necessary characteristics to promote some new sustainable initiatives that will attract young people. Then I agreed with Massimo Massi Benedetti to explore the area of Norcia, a town of  Umbria that was affected by the earthquake, mainly in the hamlets. In fact, after the earthquakes of 1979 and 1997, the town buildings have been restored in accordance with the a-seismic standards and regulations. So Massimo organized the meeting held on 14/10/2016 with Father Cassian Folsom and Nicola Alemanno.



Participants have examined the present economic status of local community and discussed how to develop this area. The present economic activities are limited to tourism and “norcineria”, that is the production of quite famous ham, other typical delicatessen and black truffles. But the said ham and delicatessen are produced by pigs raised in other Italian regions or abroad. The legs of the imported pigs are so salted and left to mature in accordance with the local tradition. The prospective production of ham by pigs locally raised would let to create a high level niche product with the label DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), that means a Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin product. Another local characteristics are the marcite, the water meadows which exploitation was known by the ancient Romans. In these areas at present little used, it is possible to crop grass for breeding animals three times each year.

So, thanks to the availability of large meadows and woods, the most concrete idea seems to be the foundation of a training centre for local community development focused on the following agricultural and food activities


  1. Semi-wild pig farming for the production of biological and DOCG ham and delicatessen

  2. Semi-wild sheep farming for the production of rich wool fabrics. At Solomello, nearby Perugia there is the Brunello Cucinelli Company factory of the that is a worldwide leading company in manufacturing cashmere and other rich wool sports wears. This factory could buy the wool of Norcia. The very good terms between Father Cassian Folsom and Mr. Brunello Cucinelli could in any case facilitate the sale of the wool.

  3. Exploitation of the water meadows for tourism purpose too

  4. Other activities to be identified


The centre to be fitted out in a part of the Monastery St. Benedict, would organize some training courses in cooperation with universities and companies leader in the foreseen fields of activity.

Young people of Norcia and neighbouring regions who are interested to start their own enterprise or be employed in the local companies, will attend at the courses. These theoretical and practical lessons (*) will be not limited to the productive techniques but include entrepreneurship, community leadership, vocational, and financial literacy.   

In the first two years, Rotary and other private donors shall bear the fitting out and operation costs of the centre. In the following years, the costs of the centre will be sustained by funds from the Umbria Region, Italian Government, EU and companies interested in the recruitment of specialized personnel. The start-up of some new enterprises could be facilitated by some loans on trust without interest to the young entrepreneurs. Starting from the second or third year after the beginning of their activity, these entrepreneurs shall reimburse the loans by monthly/quarterly instalments.

By this way, Norcia will become an attractive centre for young people. That could have a positive fall-out effect on the tourism too.


In the next weeks, a working group will deepen the above mentioned points. This group will be formed by:

  • Nicola Alemanno

  • Padre Cassian Folsom

  • Massimo Massi Benedetti

  • Leonardo de Angelis

  • Two high level technicians/entrepreneurs (by suggestion of the Mayor and Father Cassian Folsom)


The Working Group shall complete its work and present a pre-feasibility working plan within the 25th November 2016.


(*) The courses will be also organized online by a frequent exchange of information between teachers and students. Some periodical working seminars at the centre and visits to several specialized farms/factories should improve the quality of courses.  


Ravenna, 15/10/2016



Leonardo de Angelis


Leonardo de Angelis

RC Ravenna, D 2072

Coordinator of the MCW

Via Canalazzo 89/C

48123 Ravenna

+39 338 618 8384

Earthquake of the 24th August  and 30th October 2016

Training Centre for Local  Development of  Norcia

 Meeting held at Spoleto



  • Vincenzo Bianconi, Entrepreneur of Norcia, member of RC Norcia, D 2090 (Italy)

  • Massimo Massi Benedetti, Honorary member of RC Foligno – PDG 2007-2008, D 2090 (Italy)

  • Andrea Paolo Rossi, Past President 2014-2015, RC Cesena, D 2072 (Italy)

  • Leonardo de Angelis, Member of RC Ravenna (Italy) – Past Chair 2013-2016, District Rotary Foundation Committee, D 2072 – Coordinator of the Multi-Club Workshop (



After the exploratory mission held on 22/09/2016 in the part of Marche Region affected by the earthquake  of  24th August 2016, in particular the lands of Montegallo and Arquata sul Tronto, on 14/10/2016 Massimo and I have been at Norcia to point out an important humanitarian project (see the report LdA dated 14/10/2016). But on 30th October 2016 a new strong seism destroyed large part of the same Norcia land. So we decided to discuss about a Training Center for the Local Development of the whole area affected by the earthquakes together with a representative of the entrepreneurs of Norcia.

On 24/11/2016,  Andrea, Massimo and I have met in Spoleto with Vincenzo Bianconi, a young member of the Bianconi Family that has been operating in a lot of years in the tourism and industry of Norcia land. There, they operate 4 holtels and other industrial activities. Until 30th November 2016, 150 people were working with the Bianconi Family.


Vincenzo told us about the tragic status of Norcia people after the seism of last 30th October. His family cannot operate the four hotels and other industries. While his wife and child have moved to Rome, he lives in a camper together with his father and his brother. The scramble by many residents did not spare the employees of Bianconi Family. A 25 per cent resigned without unemployment benefits or else so as not to remain in the area of the earthquake. In the short term, the biggest problem is the help to all those who would stay and who are reflecting on how to reorganize their lives. To prevent this phenomenon from getting worse, the earthquake can become an occasion to promote the socio-economic development of the area. In this way it will be possible to detain people and perhaps bring back those who have left.

At this point it is clear that aid to these populations is not possible in traditional forms but needs to focus on innovative initiatives. Starting from this concept Vincenzo and other entrepreneurs of Norcia have formed the Consortium "I love Norcia" to revive the territory after fear.  Offers of help arrived and are coming from all over the world. The consortium must be able to put everything in a system as best as possible.  


"I Love Norcia" is not for profit, even indirect. Aims to support, promote and enhance the area of Norcia, struck by the earthquake, in order to facilitate reconstruction and the revival of the community through the following 5 axes:



• safety

• training

• work

• art and territory


"I Love Norcia" is run by an Executive Committee  with the assistance of the Council of Nursini, by the Council of wise men and the

Club of great benefactors


The first commitment of the Consortium is called: PROGETTO ARCA (PROJECT ARK)


Progetto Arca serves to build a complex that will become a symbol of the will to get up in this community, which doesn't want to give up and challenge with courage and ambition the present and the future.

The Executive Committee is trying to involve a great architect to achieve this complex.


The Ark shall be:

  • a safe place able to withstand earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale that will host the first emergency children, women and the elderly;

  • a place where children and elders will return to meet and play to rebuild a social/community, to escape the loneliness and fear, later a place of excellence;

  • a place where culture can form the community interested and that of all the seismic areas in the management of earthquake prevention and excellence in earthquake resistance;

  • a place to train and retrain professionally youth, population, entrepreneurs and workers to a changing world;

  • a place of inspiration and ethical training to revive a high vision tied to environmental sustainability, conservation of natural heritage and energy practices;

  • a place to assist, inform and train, moms and dads, children and elders to make the right choices to improve quality healthy in their life.


We then discussed how to work together to promote the development of the entire area earthquake. Vincenzo said he is convinced that Rotary, through the Rotary Foundation, can certainly contribute to global experiences that few other humanitarian organizations possess.

We confirmed that several foreign clubs, in Europe and America, and the Rotary Foundation have declared their willingness to support a sustainable economic and community development project in the area of Norcia and all the Sibillini mountains. Therefore the project Training Center for socio-economic development, properly set after the earthquake of 30th November, can become an important Global Grant to be inserted in the Project Ark.

As regards the collection of the funds necessary in the first two operation years of this Center, in addition to the contributions of Rotary clubs and districts, will operate the "Rotarians Charity Trade" (RCT), a non-profit organization under construction designed by Gianpiero Lugli, Professor of Economics and Marketing from the University of Parma, and PP 2013-2014, RC Carpi. This non-profit organization will sell high quality food products online to facilitate financing of important humanitarian projects co-funded by the Rotary Foundation, namely the so-called Global Grant. The Statute of the Association predicts that 10% of the price of the manufactured products to be bestowed to the logistics platform, already identified in the Interporto di Parma, will be donated to these humanitarian projects.

In recent weeks the Committee of founders of RCT has predicted that they will promote mainly products of excellence of the Sibillini mountains. In this way local producers will increase the sale of their products and will contribute indirectly to the functioning of the Centre.


At the end of our fruitful meeting, we agreed to meet in a month or so to better define the objectives of the Centre. Meanwhile, the Executive Committee will refine the objectives of Project Ark. As for us, we will continue to contact international clubs and other humanitarian organisations for transferring to a dedicated bank account the contributions as they are promised.


The project of the Training Centre will be finalized by spring 2017 to be then presented to the 11° Multi-Club Workshop which will take place from 6th to 10th September 2017 in London.  


Ravenna, 26/11/2016


Leonardo de Angelis


Leonardo de Angelis

Via Canalazzo 89/C

48123 Ravenna

+39 338 618 8384


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+39 338 618 8384

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