Italy has twenty-three volcanoes including well-known superstars like Mt.
Vesuvius, Stromboli, Mt. Etna and Vulcano. While we don't expect any major
eruptions (higher end of VEI=4), volcanoes are mostly above the law, and tend to
do what they want when they want. Today, it would be straightforward to obtain at
least several days of warning before an inland volcano erupted (submarine
volcanoes present a number of challenges), although what could be done is not so
For Italy, we'd not expect anything like the hundreds of earthquakes both inside a
month and inside a small area off the eastern coast of Honshu. Statistically, we'd
not expect a really powerful (Richter 7.5 or greater) either. Those predictions
would not be any consolation to hundreds of people killed and thousands left
homeless by a shallow Richter 6.0 in a fragile location.
Given the financial struggles of Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Portugal and Greece, a
major seismic event smacking Italy would be very unwelcome for both the country
and for the European Union, not to mention the world economy. Italy could
recover from a catastrophe like a shallow 6.6 that kills 10,000 Romans and does
$40 billion (US) in damage mostly around Rome.
As we shall see, a Richter 7.6 or higher marine earthquake beneath the Tyrrhenian
Sea with tsunamis is a whole different plate of pasta. Italy's survival as a modern
technological powerhouse then depends on location, strength and even usually
minor factors like season, day of week and time of day. Italy's economy is highly
interconnected so a great many countries in western Europe, the Balkans and
northern Africa would be impacted by disruptions in imports, exports and
shipping, not to mention sending aid.