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Scenes of Destruction: Italy Quake.

Byline: Caterina Pontoriero, PropertyCasualty360.com

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy on Sunday causing damage to many historical structures, homes, warehouses and factories.

Thousands have been rendered homeless in the area stretching from Modena to Mantova, where the quake struck at 4:04 a.m. Many have been sleeping in camps, tents and cars as civil protection crews assess the damage.

While the region's capital Bologna was relatively unaffected by the quake, many medieval monuments were wrecked, including a clock tower in Finale Emilia that split in half before being completely knocked down in an aftershock.

In addition to monuments, artwork and churches being destroyed, one of the region's prized products--Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese--suffered a loss in the quake as well. According to the Associated Press, Italian farm lobby group Coldiretti said 400,000 huge, round Parmigiano cheeses were damaged after the racks where they are aged collapsed. The lost cheese was part of an estimated $254 million in agricultural losses, which included slain livestock and damaged machinery.

Click "next" to see images of the damage in Emilia Romagna, Italy.

The San Carlo old church was almost completely destroyed by the quake, in San Carlo, Italy.

According to catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide, the quake, which struck the Emilia Romagna region, was the strongest in Italy since a magnitude 6.3 hit central Italy in 2009

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Women rest in a tent a care center in Finale Emilia, Monday. Thousands have been left homeless by the shallow earthquake.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

In this picture made available by Italian Fire Brigades Vigili del Fuoco, a firefighter works amid debris in Sant'Agostino. At least five people have died, according to numerous reports.

(AP Photo/Valerio Podrini, Vigili del Fuoco)

Oriano Caretti looks at the overturned shelves with Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels in his Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese factory in San Giovanni in Persiceto.

According to RMS, warehouses storing more than 300,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano cheeses collapsed.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The 14th century clock tower in Finale Emilia was vertically split in half by the quake before an aftershock destroyed the rest.

(AP Photo/Gianfilippo Oggioni, Lapresse)

A care center is filled by evacuated people in Finale Emilia.

Earthquakes in the Emilia Romagna region are rare, according to local seismologists. The last temblor there was in the 14th century.

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
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Publication:Property and Casualty 360
Date:May 21, 2012
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