Where Culture Is Another Casualty (Italy/earthquake)

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

In the aftermath, tending to the injured and the dead comes first. But local residents as well as teams of officials have already begun to assess the cultural damage. The earthquake 12 years ago that ravaged Umbria wasn’t nearly as severe but it made headlines abroad because it damaged tourist sites like the famous basilica in Assisi. Less glamorous, Abruzzo is rich in its own heritage, which is priceless to the people here.

“I lived in Latin America and South America for many years,” Nadia Gabrielli added, “but I came back here because this is my city, my culture. It’s our identity.”

Italy is not like America. Art isn’t reduced here to a litany of obscene auction prices or lamentations over the bursting bubble of shameless excess. It’s a matter of daily life, linking home and history. Italians don’t visit museums much, truth be told, because they already live in them and can’t live without them. The art world might retrieve a useful lesson from the rubble.

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