Results of Italy’s Telethon

Stefano Luppi of the ArtNewspaper (which has made some impressive updates to its website) has the results of Italy’s antiquities telethon which took place Oct. 5-7. Here’s an excerpt:

Culture minister Francesco Rutelli, as well as actors and opera singers, appeared on the state broadcasting channel RAI to describe the plight of the country’s monuments, many left unprotected for lack of funds.Seven monuments were selected to receive the money raised by viewers. These included: Augustus’s villa on the Palatine Hill in Rome, where the frescoes and flooring are decaying from exposure to sun and rain; the village and surrounding area of Santa Maria del Cedro in Calabria, an important site associated with the Enotrians, an early Italic tribe; the Racconigi Royal Park in Cuneo, an English-style romantic 18th-century garden in which the first Italian pineapples were grown, where the 19th-century greenhouse needs conserving; a museum for visually impaired people in Ancona that allows visitors to run their hands along reproductions of sculptures and archaeological finds; a Punic necropolis in Sardinia, dating back to the fourth century BC; Cremona’s centre for the restoration of antique musical instruments which specialises in antique violins and the 19th-century railway line which connects the Sicilian baroque towns of Syracuse, Modica and Ragusa.

Donations are still possible. The fundraising target was $5 million, while it seems close to $4 million has been raised so far. If more funds are needed, might Italy consider selling or leasing some of its antiquities? That probably wouldn’t be a popular decision in Italy, but might help reduce the illicit trade.

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