Via Umbria Events Will Raise Earthquake Relief Funds

Italian emporium Via Umbria, 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW, is planning fall events to be held in its upstairs kitchen space to raise funds for the central Italian towns hit by an earthquake Aug. 24. The magnitude-6.2 quake destroyed entire villages and killed more than 200 residents.

In a post on the Georgetown shop’s La Dolce Vita blog, cofounder Bill Menard writes: “Early reports placed the epicenter of the quake near Norcia, a town known throughout Italy as the capital of cured meats, the place where pork butchery was invented and where early medieval surgeons were trained and sent out into the world. Like many of the other towns making the news, Norcia is a place with which we are intimately familiar, for it is literally in our back yard.”

Only minor damage was done to the 18th-century farmhouse the Menards own and rent out near Assisi; the main impact of the quake was farther south, along the border between Umbria and Lazio. While mourning the loss of lives and historic buildings, Bill Menard’s moving post calls attention to the need to rebuild the sense of community that has developed over the centuries in towns such as Amatrice and Accumoli.

“Suzy and I have witnessed firsthand this complete wiping away of the social structure, this destruction of lives and a way of life. We did so several years ago when we visited a friend in l’Aquila, the site of the last major earthquake in Italy. There we saw a town that was more maintaining itself than rebuilding itself, its buildings standing but empty, like a Hollywood set.”

Details about the fundraising events at Via Umbria will be posted at To read Bill Menard’s post, “The Day the Earth Shook,” click here.


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