So-called natural disasters are a topical issue: events of diverse magnitude, with heavy death tolls, make the headlines in the daily news. However, their "naturality" has been widely questioned in environmental historiography. In fact, there is no such thing as a completely natural disaster, since to be perceived as such a catastrophe needs to involve a social construct, as well as a natural event. It becomes thus more and more important to understand the relationship that humanity has historically had with the effects of such natural events as, for example, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes. It is precisely this issue that Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, Anthony Penna and Andrea Filippo Saba attempt to focus, with quite different approaches, in this choral review. Graf von Hardenberg introduces the historiography of the debate about (un)natural disasters and their political use, perception, and memory. Penna presents a technically sound excursus of the natural and social impact of supervolcanoes, through the analysis of a few case studies. At last, Saba, uses the example of dams to analyse in depth the role of mankind in the physical production of catastrophes.
Keywords: Disastri naturali, Storia ambientale, Impatto sociale