Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Theft of Rare Books Comes to Light

Here is more evidence, if any was needed, that Italy should be focusing on protecting its cultural treasures today rather than seeking out every last pottery shard that may have left Italy years ago when sensibilities were different. 

Update:  More on the story, with these observations:

The director of the Vatican Museums has warned that Italy's cultural heritage is "vanishing" after prosecutors in Naples said two more people had been arrested on suspicion of taking part in a "premeditated, organised and brutal" sacking of the city's 16th century Girolamini library.

Antonio Paolucci said he was "saddened but not surprised" by the devastating losses of the historic institution in Naples, where thousands of rare and antique books were last year found to have disappeared. The alleged plundering, which prosecutors have been investigating for the past nine months, was symptomatic of a country whose rich cultural heritage was at risk from various factors including theft and neglect, he said.

"In the Italy of a thousand museums and libraries, our immense national heritage is vanishing … and the cultural fabric of the country is coming apart," Paolucci, a former culture minister, told the Italian daily La Stampa.

He said a lack of protection for the country's treasures was having "disastrous effects" and was particularly harmful for small institutions that did not have the same level of security or prestige as, for instance, the Uffizi gallery in Florence. Urging the state to take better care of its heritage, he added: "Every looted painting or plundered library is a wound to civilisation which cannot be healed – a disaster for Italy and humanity as a whole."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who's responsible for this book heist?