Analysis of the collapse mechanisms of medieval churches struck by the 2016 Umbrian earthquake

Antonio Borri, Marco Corradi*, Giulio Castori, Romina Sisti, Alessandro De Maria

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The 2016 Umbrian earthquake caused the collapse of several medieval churches, while it was noted that ordinary buildings only reported moderate or little damage. Researchers and technicians are looking to these religious constructions with the aim of understanding their structural behavior under seismic action. Depending on the direction of the seismic action, the typical collapse mode was the overturning of the side walls or of the church façade. This often produced the collapse of the roof structure. In many situations, the overturning was facilitated by a weak connection between the load-bearing walls. In this article, the collapse modes of three mediaeval churches are investigated. The article goes into some detail about what considerations are relevant when analyzing a historic masonry construction. The churches object of this study are located in Campi, a hamlet of Norcia, Italy. Between 2000 and 2004, a research team from the Technical University of Milan in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Culture carried out an extensive investigation on the historic buildings of Campi, providing interesting data about the maintenance level and a summary of the structural state of the churches. These data were used in this article for a critical analysis of the causes of collapse, performed in combination with numerical simulations of the global behavior and local instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number2
Early online date8 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


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