(ROME) -- An urban legend about a devastating earthquake has scores of Romans heading for the eternal city's seven hills.
The panic stems from a purported prediction from deceased Italian seismologist Raffaele Bendandi, who said Rome would be totally destroyed by a tremor on May 11, 2011.
Even though officials have insisted that earthquakes cannot be predicted, many aren't taking any chances and are heading out of town. According to some reports, close to one-in-five city employees are planning to call in sick.
State-run TV has also been calling for calm.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio