Earthquake in Central Italy: How to Help

italy map


Dear Friends,

The immediate effects of Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy are now known: nearly 300 dead and three mountain towns ~ Accumolo, Amatrice, and Pescara del Tronto ~ destroyed, homes literally reduced to piles of rubble. Other mountain towns, including Castelluccio and Norcia, in Umbria, were heavily damaged. More than 50 historic sites have been destroyed or heavily damaged, according to this Washington Post piece.

Amatrice, as you no doubt know, is the birthplace of one of Italy’s most iconic dishes, spaghetti all’Amatriciana, made with tomatoes, guanciale, and pecorino cheese. The town was preparing to host the 50th annual Festa dell’Amatriciana this weekend. Instead, rescue workers are sifting through the devastation searching for bodies.

And of course it’s not over. Now begins the long and arduous ~ and expensvie ~ work of recovery and, eventually, rebuilding. Please consider donating to one of the following organizations that are working to raise money for relief and rebuilding efforts:

NIAF, the National Italian American Foundation, is raising money through its Italian American Relief program to finance long-term rebuilding efforts.

The Italian Red Cross, one of the first responders at the scene, is continuing to provide rescue and relief efforts and to monitor needs at the scene. You can also donate here, or here.

Global Giving, a crowd-funded organization that is raising money for grassroots relief and recovery efforts. This group has been vetted by Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization that examines and evaluates charities. Global Giving will distribute donations to local organizations working to provide survivors with essentials, such as food, water and medicine, in addition to long-term recovery needs.

OIPA Italy: This international animal rescue organization is helping to round up animals and collect pet food, leashes, food bowls, and other items.

Here is a link to local initiatives in Italy, via Paesaggi d’Abruzzo’s Facebook page. Thanks to Mary Lousie Tucker for sharing it.

There are many other coordinated and independent efforts happening as well. Slow Food International founder Carlo Petrini has started a campaign asking restaurateurs to put the pasta dish on their menu and to donate a portion of their profits to relief and rebuilding efforts. Restaurants in Italy, the U.S., and elsewhere, have already begun organizing such fund raisers. Here’s one in LA organized by

Locally (to me) in D.C. chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi, who is from the nearby Marche region, is donating $5 from every dish of Amatriciana sold at his three restaurants, Casa Luca, Fiola, and Fiola Mare, through September.

In Philadelphia, my friends at Le Virtù are adding bucatini all’Amatriciana as a permanent menu item until Christmas, and will be donating $3 from each sale. Le Virtù’s sister restaurant, Brigantessa, will do the same with its Amatriciana pizza. The pasta is being donated by Marcelli Formaggi, and 1732 Meats and Salumeria Cicale are donating the guanciale. Le Virtù is also organizing a fund-raising wine dinner, to be held September 22, celebrating Amatrice, Norcia, and other hard-hit towns. I’ll be donating signed books that will be for sale at the dinner.

On social media, “Virtual Sagra” gatherings have been taking place to commemorate the Amatriciana Festival in Amatrice. From my friend Danielle Oteri of Feast on History: I’m going to cook up a big pot of Amatriciana on Sat or Sun, pop a bottle of red from Central Italy, and, most importantly, donate to earthquake relief. Then I’ll post about it across social with the hopes that others join in. Who’s with me? Share and let’s make this go viral.”

Consider participating in a virtual sagra, and if you are on social media, use the hashtag #VirtualSagra. (Here’s a link if you need a recipe for traditional spaghetti all’Amatriciana.) You can read more about Amatrice and its famous pasta in this Washington Post piece.

More from my blogging friends about the earthquake, relief efforts, and the #VirtualSagra:

Flavia’s Flavors

Ciao Chow Linda

Proud Italian Cook

If you know of other support efforts, please feel free to share them below in the comments.

After the earthquake, I posted a personal memory of Amatrice on my Facebook page. I’d like to share it here as well. Thanks, as always, for reading, and thanks for supporting the earthquake relief efforts.

* * * * * *

Back in 1994 my husband and I drove to Amatrice with my parents. We were headed back to Rome from the beach, and rather than cut straight across we drove up and around, through the mountains, to visit the town famous for producing chefs who cooked for popes and for its pasta all’Amatriciana. As we approached town we saw signs everywhere, posted by restaurants, all claiming to be the source of “la vera Amatriciana.” I don’t remember the name of the restaurant we ended up at, or how we chose it ~ this was way before the days of google and the many travel review sites that the internet has spawned. What I remember about the meal is sketchy, except that Amatriciana was only one of the pasta dishes we enjoyed, along with numerous other courses (grilled meats, grilled vegetables, etc). It was a hot afternoon in midsummer, and we were so full of food and wine that my dad ended up taking a nap in the car, windows rolled down, while my mom relaxed in the shade and my husband and I walked along a country road in a happy food coma. I’m deeply saddened by the loss of life and by the devastation to this special place. Most people think of Italy as Rome, Florence, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast. But Italy is filled with places like Amatrice, each with its own magic, each with its own story. If you travel to Italy, be sure to get off the beaten path and visit them. They are gems.

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19 Responses to Earthquake in Central Italy: How to Help

  1. ciaochowlinda August 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks Domenica for posting these links. The situation there is heartbreaking and so many lives have already been lost, with the count rising. One of the children of my late husband’s cousins was in one of the hard hit towns with his school group when the quake struck. They were frightened beyond belief, but were able to get back home to their town in Abruzzo safe and sound. The relief won’t bring back the dead, but the survivors need all the help they can get. I have already donated to the NIAF relief fund and will follow Danielle’s suggestion to make the iconic Amatrice pasta. I will be on the lookout for Le Virtu’s fundraiser too.

  2. Helen August 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

    Thank you for organizing the giving efforts and for reflecting on an outing there. Remembrance is key at this time.

  3. Marilena @ August 25, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    I loved reading your story about your trip to Amatrice back in 1994…. This is such a beautiful area and I can only imagine the devastation and the loss they are experiencing right now… I couldn’t agree more with your recommendation for those who travel in Italy to get off the beaten path and visit those lesser known little towns and villages. Thank you also for listing the organizations and relief funds for donations.

  4. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way August 25, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you Domenica! We will certainly take part. Our prayers are with all of the people who have to live through this.

  5. JoAnn Cola August 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Thank you for posting the links. I’ve donated to both NIAF and Croce Rossa Italiana already and have posted links on FB. Hope it’ll make a big difference to those who have been affected.

  6. Paola August 25, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    Thanks for writing about this – the virtual sagra is a brilliant idea to help raise money for this tragedy

  7. familystylefoodkaren August 25, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    Domenica, thank you for posting this. My heart aches for these people. And the animals! What better reason to make pasta? I’m sharing the links right away.

  8. Mary Louise Tucker August 25, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this Domenica. We’ll be having a Sagra at home this weekend. Refer to the FaceBook note I’ve sent you from Paesaggi d’Abruzzo who have compiled a list of collection points where one can offer necessary items and donations for earthquake victims.

  9. rozpaige August 25, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this relief effort information on your blog Domenica. Mother Nature can be so beautiful and yet so cruel. I have shared your blog post with all of this information on my blog for my readers to access. Keeping all of Italy and its beautiful people in my prayers at this tragic time.

  10. prouditaliancook August 25, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

    Thank you Domenica for posting the links, we will certainly do our part in donating, my heart goes out to all.

  11. David August 26, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    Thanks, Domenica – through the heartbreak we find the good of people who want to help. As a fundraiser, I can assure people that every gift – no matter the size – will make a difference. I am heading off to make my gift now. Un abbraccio, d

  12. pblevitt August 26, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Domenica, this is a comprehensive list addressing the interests of many when it comes to donating. We have already participated through the Italian Red Cross. As with many of us, yesterday morning was frantically spent contacting friends and family, all of which are safe. One cousin was in the epicenter at the time of the earthquake, relaxing for a few days after an intense job interview. So many other family are not as fortunate. I plan to repost this on my Facebook page – thank you.

  13. janis33 August 26, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Thanks for the info sweetie. I am indeed going to donate and eat a big ole plate of the recipe you posted. My heart goes out to all.

  14. Glenn September 3, 2016 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks Domenica. Sent donation to OIPA.

  15. Flavia September 6, 2016 at 11:54 am #

    Hi Domenica, So sorry this message is coming late, but wanted to thank you for linking to my blog post about the earthquake relief efforts in Italy. Un abbraccio!


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