Florence's art treasures still caked in mud after 40 years

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Art restorers in Italy have launched a desperate appeal for money to help rescue hundreds of works of art still caked in mud from devastating floods in Florence 40 years ago.

The frescoes, paintings, statues and wooden crosses, some dating back to the Renaissance, are lying in crates in cavernous storerooms across Tuscany.

They have been untouched since they were rescued from galleries and churches in Florence in 1966, after water from the River Arno swept through the city. But a funding crisis means that many of the masterpieces may not be restored to their original condition for another 40 years. Bruno Santi, director of fine art at Florence's Palazzo Pitti, who is in charge of the restoration work, told The Sunday Telegraph that the situation was a "scandal".

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