Earthquake takes lives, damages treasures in central Italy

Tragedy struck central Italy April 7 when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake toppled ancient and modern buildings in the medieval city of L’Aquila. Over 200 people lost their lives, and the earthquake damaged nearly all the historic buildings of the town. (video)

The loss of life is crushing to the small town, but so is the loss of parts of the 13th century Basilica of San Bernardino, the site of the coronation of Pope Celestine V in 1294. The church's bell tower collapsed, and the apse was also damaged. Destroyed in the earthquake was the Porta Napoli, "the oldest and most beautiful gate to the city built in 1548 in honour of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V."