This paper describes the impact of the earthquake that struck the central Italian city of L'Aquila on 6 April 2009, killing 308 people and leaving 67 500 homeless. The pre-impact, emergency, and early recovery phases are discussed in terms of the nature and effectiveness of government policy. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Italy is evaluated in relation to the structure of civil protection and changes wrought by both the L'Aquila disaster and public scandals connected with the misappropriation of funds. Six of the most important lessons are derived from this analysis and related to DRR needs both in Italy and elsewhere in the world.

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