The mainshock and moderate‐magnitude aftershocks of the 6 April 2009 M 6.3 L’Aquila seismic sequence, about 90 km northeast of Rome, provided the first earthquake ground‐motion recordings in the urban area of Rome. Before those recordings were obtained, the assessments of the seismic hazard in Rome were based on intensity observations and theoretical considerations. The L’Aquila recordings offer an unprecedented opportunity to calibrate the city response to central Apennine earthquakes—earthquakes that have been responsible for the largest damage to Rome in historical times. Using the data recorded in Rome in April 2009, we show that (1) published theoretical predictions of a 1 s resonance in the Tiber valley are confirmed by observations showing a significant amplitude increase in response spectra at that period, (2) the empirical soil‐transfer functions inferred from spectral ratios are satisfactorily fit through 1D models using the available geological, geophysical, and laboratory data, but local variability can be large for individual events, (3) response spectra for the motions recorded in Rome from the L’Aquila earthquakes are significantly amplified in the radial component at periods near 1 s, even at a firm site on volcanic rocks, and (4) short‐period response spectra are smaller than expected when compared to ground‐motion predictions from equations based on a global dataset, whereas the observed response spectra are higher than expected for periods near 1 s.

Online Material: Velocity models used in computing theoretical site response.

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