Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland
Advertisement

IN PICTURES: Italy's art squad save cultural heritage damaged in earthquakes

Share this article

IN PICTURES: Italy's art squad save cultural heritage damaged in earthquakes
Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attivitá culturali e del turismo (MiBACT).
17:19 CEST+02:00
They've safeguarded thousands of pieces of art damaged in earthquakes in the last 12 months. Meet the people making sure Italy's churches, artefacts and cultural heritage sites are being restored for future generations to enjoy.

More than 2,000 officers from the police's protection for cultural heritage unit – known as the Art Squad – have worked round the clock to recover, secure and restore more than 26,000 pieces of art damaged in the August 23rd earthquake in Amatrice and subsequent quakes in central Italy in October and then January this year. 

Two officers from the police's protection of cultural heritage squad (TPC) recover a painting from the rubble of a church in Amatrice. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco. 

The Art Squad is made up of people from a broad range of professions working together to protect and restore the cultural heritage that was threatened by a number of powerful earthquakes in the region between August 2016 and January 2017. This includes churches, statues, books, libraries, archives, artefacts and much more. 

READ MORE: How Italy's Art Squad is racing to save quake-damaged masterpieces

A church destroyed in Amatrice. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT)

Most of the recovery of the artefacts was undertaken by the army, the fire department, the civil protection agency and volunteers. 

Two firemen recover a cross from a collapsed church in Amatrice. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco. 

Art historians, archeologists, archive specialists, librarians, architects, anthropologists, biologists, chemists, physicists, geologists, engineers, photographers, statisticians and IT specialists all have a role to play too.

Specialists go to work on a painting recovered from the church in Amatrice. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT). 

The results are impressive. The team said at the end of July that a total of 16,946 cultural and historical artefacts have been "safeguarded and restored".

Workers prepare a statue to be taken to the Ferrara branch of the National Institute for Preservation and Restoration (ISCR). Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT). 

In addition, 9,743 volumes of ancient library books have been approved as safe, along with nearly 5,000 metres of archive documents.

Italian soldiers safeguard classical texts damaged in the earthquake in Amatrice. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT).

Most of those involved got to work immediately after the earthquake on August 23rd. However, subsequent earthquakes in Norcia in October 2016 – and other quakes nearby in January 2017 – forced the art squad to "re-evaluate" their strategy, as more priceless treasures were left damaged.

One national and four regional crisis units continue to work round the clock to address the immense backlog. 

ISCR restoration specialists in Ancona work on a canvas damaged in the earthquake in Amatrice. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT). 

Specialists works on restoring the canvas of another damaged painting. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT). 

At least €170 million (approximately $200 million) was allocated and spent on the "reconstruction and consolidation of over 100 buildings – mainly churches and cathedrals – damaged by the quake," according to a report by Italy's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Heritage (MiBACT). 

This was in addition to €43 million (approximately $50 million) allocated to reopen 180 churches earlier this year. 

A damaged painting of Jesus and The Virgin Mary lies in the rubble of a church in Amatrice. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT). 

A recovered painting is placed in storage at the ICRS depot in Spoleto. Photo: Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo (MiBACT)

The video below is a compilation of some of the art squad's biggest successes to date. 

READ MORE: Central Italian towns remember victims one year after deadly earthquake

Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Jobs
Click here to start your job search
Advertisement
Advertisement

Popular articles

Advertisement
Advertisement