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Historic Assisi has dropped by 15 cms in 20 years

Scientists check satellite data for more details

17 October, 18:27
Historic Assisi has dropped by 15 cms in 20 years (ANSA) - Assisi, October 17 - The town of Assisi, the birthplace of Italy's patron saint St. Francis, appears to be sinking.

According to satellite data collated by the European Space Agency and Italy's electromagnetic institute (IREA), the Umbrian hill town has dropped 15 centimetres in the past 20 years or 7.5 millimetres a year.

Scientists are analysing the satellite data in a bid to learn more about the movement of the earth in sensitive areas around the Medieval town.

St. Francis founded the Franciscan religious order in Assisi in 1208 and the town attracts millions of Catholic pilgrims and other tourists every year.

The town was hit by two devastating earthquakes which struck Umbria in September 1997. The historic Basilica of San Francesco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, suffered serious damage but was reopened less than two years later.

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