Experts Rush to Save Art in Quake Zone

Thousands of artworks trapped in buildings in danger of collapse
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 7:35 AM CDT
An aerial view of Santa Maria Paganica church in L'Aquila, central Italy, on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, a day after a powerful earthquake struck the Abruzzo region.    (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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(Newser) – Italian art experts are scrambling to rescue artistic treasures in quake-hit central Italy, the Wall Street Journal reports. The head of the local branch of the Ministry of Culture is braving aftershocks and unsafe structures in an effort to assess the damage and see what can be saved. Thousands of paintings and sculptures are trapped in one crumbling castle alone.

"We can't get to them," she said outside the 16th-century castle's entrance. "These works are what connect us to our past." The Italian government has promised funds to rebuild damaged structures and the US has promised assistance, but workers will face a costly and dangerous task in trying to prop up historic buildings that can be saved and rescuing art from those that can't.