Tsunamis in Italy

A total of 15 tidal waves classified as a tsunami since 963 have killed 1,850 people in Italy. Compared to other countries, Tsunamis therefore occur more often than average, but still moderate.

The strongest tidal wave registered in Italy so far reached a height of 16 meters. On 02/06/1783, this tsunami killed a total of 1,554 people.

The biggest impact in terms of lifes, injuries, destroyed homes and the economy had been a tsunami on 12/28/1908. A tidal wave of up to 13 meters killed 294 humans and destroyed vast areas.

Other natural hazards in Italy:
The most severe tsunamis in the world

Back to overview: Italy

Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes or other seismic eruptions on ground of an oceans and can cause massive tidal waves, which run with enormous force on land, causing great devastation. Especially in regions with only few tsunamis, the damage is often drastic, as the population does not expect tsunamis and thus hardly takes any protective measures. Even relatively small flood waves can lead to high losses and financial damage.

The marked positions on the map represent the most affected regions within the past 1,100 years.

The largest tsunamis in Italy since 963 AD.

DateCauseMax. tidal waveFatalitiesTotal damage
06/23/2014Meteorological event in Spain (Mediterranean And Black Seas) The tsunami also reached Ukraine, Croatia.1.5 m0
12/30/2002Volcano, landslide in Italy (Stromboli Island)10.90 m0
04/20/1988Landslide in Italy (La Fossa Volcano, Vulcano Is.)2 m0
04/18/1968Earthquakes in Italy (Liguria-Cote D'azur) with a magnitude of 4.6.3 m0
08/20/1944Volcano in Italy (Stromboli Island)0 m0
09/11/1930Volcano in Italy (Stromboli Island)2.5 m1
07/03/1916Earthquakes in Italy (Stromboli Island) with a magnitude of 5.1.10 m0
12/28/1908Earthquake, landslide in Italy (Messina Strait, Ionian Sea) with a magnitude of 7.0.13 m294
01/07/1784Earthquakes in Italy (Ionian Calabria) with a magnitude of 4.1.0 m0
03/24/1783Landslide in Italy (Messina Straits)0 m1
02/06/1783Earthquake, landslide in Italy (Messina Straits) with a magnitude of 5.9.16 m1,554
02/05/1783Earthquakes in Italy (Tyrrhenian Calabria) with a magnitude of 6.9.0 m0
12/17/1631volcano, earthquake in Italy (Bay Of Naples)5 m0
01/01/1172Earthquakes in Italy (Island Of Sicily)0 m0
07/22/963Earthquakes in Italy (Sicily)0 m0

These evaluations are based on data from the Global Historical Tsunami Database of the National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA, and World Data Service (NGDC/WDS), doi:10.7289/V5PN93H7. Individual data have been summarized or translated.
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