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L'Aquila earthquake damaged ancient baths in Rome

The third-century Baths of Caracalla in Rome were damaged by the earthquake that struck near L'Aquila, central Italy, on Monday, a city archaeological authority told reporters.

 
Italian earthquake destroys thousands of buildings in L'Aquila
The earthquake destroyed thousands of buildings in L'Aquila

The baths "suffered some damage," Angelo Bottini said, adding that the results of an initial inspection had "not yet been precisely evaluated".

The red-brick ruins, which cover some 11 hectares (27 acres) at the foot of Rome's Aventine Hill, are the frequent site of opera productions and open-air concerts in the summer.

During Emperor Caracalla's era, the bathing facilities could accommodate more than 1,600 people and included gymnasiums, libraries and gardens.

Bottini said no other historic sites in the city were damaged.

The quake in the Abruzzo region north-west of Rome woke many residents of the Italian capital at shortly after 3:30 am (0130 GMT).

In the quake's epicentre, the Abruzzo capital L'Aquila, the dome of a church fell in and the city's main San Massimo cathedral was damaged.

The cathedral was initially built in the 13th century, but was destroyed in an earthquake early in the 18th century.

The present facade dates to 1851 and has two bell towers in the neo-classical style.

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