The Destruction of Messina and the Italian Exodus

Fascinating post by toritto about the 1908 earthquake that destroyed Messina, Sicily. You might also like to read about the experiences of my great-grandparents who were travelling from Algiers to Florence by sea at the time: Sicilian Earthquake 28 December 1908.

toritto

reggio1

On December 28, 1908 at about 5:30 in the morning the greatest earthquake to ever strike the European continent in modern times struck Messina in Sicily.

Messina was home to about 180,000 at the time. It was Italy’s 3rd largest port of trade and the commercial center of Sicily.

Sicily was far away from the “new” Italy. In the Piedmont, birthplace of the Italian royal family people spoke of “going to Italy” when they had to leave their provincial home. Turin would become the industrial capital with Agnelli building cars and Gramsci leading the Italian Communist Party. Socialism was on the rise.

The intellectuals of Milan viewed Rome as a “city of waiters and prostitutes”, catering to German and English tourists who disdained them. Venice was considered a “tomb” which “should be shelled into the sea”; it represented only the past and not the future of a greater Italy. The…

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One thought on “The Destruction of Messina and the Italian Exodus

  1. Another compelling personal view from toritto, on one of the biggest natural disasters in modern times, if not in all of history. I well recall your post too, and the memories of your great-grandparents.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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