Soon after unification, Italy suffered its first great natural disaster when - on 28th July 1883 -
an earthquake destroyed much of the spa resort of Casamicciola, on the northern coast of Ischia.
Although Italian scientists had long been at the forefront of seismometry, even the seismoscope at
the Vesuvius Observatory, just 25 miles away, provided no warning of the disaster that struck the
town that evening, killing over 2,000 of the population and razing almost all its buildings.
Two years later it was decided that Casamicciola should have an observatory of its own, which
seismologist Giulio Grablovitz was engaged to construct and run. The site chosen was on the Gran
Sentinella, a headland 125 metres above the town's port - well away from extraneous vibrations.
It opened in 1891 and meteorological and seismic readings, including registration of the San
Francisco earthquake of 1906, were collected until the station closed in 1923, just five years
before Grablovitz's death.
The original buildings, which still house the collection of scientific equipment,
are to reopen one day...
The view from outside the observatory, looking past a hotel entrance