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Brussels, September 23, 1998
The Assisi Frescoes Case
A research conference on the protection of European cultural heritage
Assisi, 24-25 September 1998
Keywords: Environment, Technology, Culture
On 26-27 September 1997, a series of five earthquakes measuring from 4.1 to 5.8 on the Richter scale (V-VI to VIII-IX Mercalli) struck the Italian regions of Marche and Umbria. Although the epicentre was some 20km from Assisi, the Basilica of St Francis there was severely damaged, particularly the frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto - milestones in the evolution of European art.
Now, one year later, the Italian Ministry of Culture and the European Commission have jointly organised a research conference, where thirty high-level experts have been invited to discuss the damage to, and restoration of, the frescoes, as well as measures to protect such cultural heritage from the effects of future earthquakes and environmental degradation, and from mass tourism, a particular problem in popular destinations such as Assisi.
The basic aims of the conference are to evaluate the environmental damage to the frescoes in the Basilica of St Francis, and the most appropriate technologies for their protection and ultimate restoration, as well as the prevention of such damage in future.
In addition to presentations from the Italian authorities, experts from four research projects related to the Assisi case, and funded by the European Unionís Environment and Climate research programme, will describe innovative techniques for protecting cultural heritage against seismic activity, the risks associated with the use of inappropriate technologies, and the effects of mass tourism.
Research into the protection of Europeís cultural heritage will be substantially increased in the EUís forthcoming Fifth Framework Programme for RTD, where it forms part of the key action on The City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage.
Notes for editors
The Italian Ministry of Culture is expected to hold a press conference on Saturday, 26 September to present an annual report on the measures taken to protect the Basilica of St Francis. For more details please contact the Italian Ministry of Culture directly: Maria Vittoria Clarelli, tel: +39.6.584.32304, fax: +39.6.584.32294.
Additional information on the earthquake can be found at: http://www.ofm.org/quake/quakeeng.htm
Pictures of the basilica before, during, and after the earthquake can be seen at: http://www.sicoar.com.uy/
NB: the Commission neither sponsors nor endorses the above internet sites.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Julia Acevedo
Scientific Officer, DGXII/D
Mr Stephen Gosden
Press and Information Officer, DGXII
PRESS RELEASES | PRESS RELEASES OF 1998 | 24.09.1998