Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
CATANZARO

Museum work funded to display neglected Riace Bronzes

English
© ANSA

Catanzaro, July 11 - Delayed and hampered museum
restoration needed to display a pair of cherished ancient Greek
sculptures - the Riace Bronzes - is poised to begin, officials
in the southern Italian region of Calabria told journalists on
Thursday.
The renovated museum, complete with a display of its
treasured statues, could reopen early next year - if all goes
smoothly from here, officials cautioned.
"The situation is finally unblocked," said managing
director for Calabria's department of cultural heritage,
Francesco Prosperetti.
"The Region of Calabria has given its fundamental
contribution of five million euros, which will be used for
building museum displays and completing installation work in the
building, which should once more host the Riace Bronzes,"
Prosperetti said at a press conference held with the Calabrian
Regional Cultural Councillor, Mario Caligiuri.
"If, as we hope, there aren't snags or legal hang-ups...
inauguration and opening to the public is conceivable...in the
first months of next year".
On Monday, an Italian official with UNESCO claimed the
government had "abandoned" the world-famous ancient Greek
warrior statues, and called their treatment "an absolute
disgrace to Italy".
Last week, politicians demanded that Italy's culture
minister take fast action to protect the historically
significant and priceless statues.
The bronzes, some of Italy's most-loved cultural icons,
have been lying on their backs for more than three years in the
home of the Calabrian regional government after being moved from
a museum undergoing restoration work.
However, the work at Reggio Calabria's National
Archaeological Museum has become a victim of budget cuts and red
tape, which means the statues remain homeless.
"We call on the government to outline what steps it intends
to take to safeguard the Riace Bronzes and complete the museum
restoration," Rosy Bindi and Demetrio Battaglia, politicians
with the Democratic Party (PD) said last Friday.
Museum renovations began in November 2009 and since then
the valuable bronzes have been in storage, away from paying
visitors and students.
Calabria takes the Bronzes so seriously that it has
repeatedly refused permission for copies of the statues to be
made and rejected pleas for Italian promotional events worldwide
and for the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa.
In a citywide vote in 2003, the people of Reggio Calabria
came out overwhelmingly against the "cloning" of the statues,
which have been the Calabrian capital's biggest tourist draw
since they were discovered.
The bronzes were discovered in 1972 by a Roman
holiday-maker scuba diving off the Calabrian coast and turned
out to be one of Italy's most important archaeological finds in
the last 100 years.
The statues are of two virile men, presumably warriors or
gods, who possibly held lances and shields at one time.

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