On 6 April 2009 an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 occurred in L’Aquila city, Italy. In the city center and surrounding villages many masonry and reinforced concrete (RC) buildings were heavily damaged or collapsed. After the earthquake, the inspection carried out in the region provided relevant results concerning the quality of the materials, method of construction and the performance of the structures. The region was initially inhabited in the 13th century and has many historic structures. The main structural materials
are unreinforced masonry (URM) composed of rubble stone, brick, and hollow clay tile. Masonry units suffered the worst damage. Wood flooring systems and corrugated steel roofs are common in URM buildings. Moreover, unconfined gable walls, excessive wall thicknesses without connection with each other are among the most common deficiencies of poorly constructed masonry structures. These walls caused an increase in earthquake loads. The quality of the materials and the construction were not in accordance with the
standards. On the other hand, several modern, non-ductile concrete frame buildings have collapsed. Poor concrete quality and poor reinforcement detailing caused damage in reinforced concrete structures. Furthermore, many structural deficiencies such as non-ductile detailing, strong beams-weak columns and were commonly observed. In this paper, reasons why the buildings were damaged in the 6 April 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy are given. Some suggestions are made to prevent such disasters in the future.