The Basilica of Saint Benedict, in the central Italian town of Norcia, was almost destroyed during a powerful earthquake in 2016.
The coronavirus pandemic brought locals more hardship, but efforts are now underway to bring the basilica – and the symbol of unity it stands for – back to its former glory.
Christian devotees believe Saint Benedict, who lived between the fifth and the sixth century, brought Europe’s peoples together through his preaching.
“Saint Benedict was able, thanks to his monasteries and to the Benedictine monasticism, to defend Europe from disintegration following the barbarian invasions, and by doing so he succeeded in bringing European peoples together,” says Giuseppina Perla, Norcia Counselor for Culture and Tourism.
The consequences of the 2016 earthquake are still being felt in Norcia: some locals are still forced to live in temporary housing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made things even worse.
“Imagine how complicated it was to be in a lockdown within these emergency housing solutions – little houses of 40, 60 or 80 metres where around 1,700 people had to live and get through this difficult period,” Nicola Alemanno, Mayor of Norcia, told Euronews.
Watch the full report from Norcia in the video player, above.