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Voice of America, 97-09-27

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] ITALY / QUAKES (L) BY PEGGY POLK (ROME)

  • [01] ITALY / QUAKES (L) BY PEGGY POLK (ROME)

    DATE=9/27/97
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-220499
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: ART EXPERTS ITALY ARE SORTING THROUGH THE RUBBLE OF EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE TO PRICELESS ART TREASURES IN THE BASILICA OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. AS PEGGY POLK REPORTS, 11 PEOPLE DIED IN TWO QUAKES THAT ROCKED ASSISI AND OTHER HILLTOWNS OF CENTRAL ITALY.

    TEXT: ACCORDING TO ANTONIO PAOLUCCI -- A FORMER MINISTER OF CULTURE APPOINTED TO OVERSEE THE RESTORATION OF THE MEDIEVAL CATHEDRAL WHERE ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI IS BURIED -- "IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO RETURN THE BASILICA TO ITS FORMER STATE."

    MR. PAOLUCCI SAID THE DAMAGE TO THE 13TH CENTURY CHURCH WAS AS BAD AS WORLD WAR DEVASTATION IN THE ITALIAN CITIES OF PADUA AND PISA AND THE RESULTS OF MORE RECENT BOMB BLASTS IN BEIRUT AND SARAJEVO.

    BUT HALF-A-DOZEN ART EXPERTS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN SORTING THROUGH RUBBLE CONTAINING JUMBLED FRAGMENTS OF TWO FRESCOES ATTRIBUTED TO THE PAINTER CIMABUE AND TO THE SCHOOL OF GIOTTO.

    THE CIMABUE FRESCO WAS ALMOST COMPLETELY DESTROYED AND THE SCHOOL OF GIOTTO WORK BADLY DAMAGED FRIDAY WHEN VAULTING OVER A DOOR AND THE ALTAR COLLAPSED, KILLING FOUR PEOPLE.

    THE VICTIMS WERE A FRANCISCAN FRIAR, A NOVICE PREPARING TO TAKE HIS VOWS AND TWO TECHNICIANS. THEY WERE IN THE CHURCH TO INSPECT DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE FIRST OF THE TWO EARTHQUAKES ABOUT NINE HOURS EARLIER.

    THE SHOCKS DESTROYED CENTURIES-OLD BUILDINGS IN A NUMBER OF TOWNS IN UMBRIA AND THE NEIGHBORING REGION OF THE MARCHES, KILLING SIX OTHER PEOPLE. A SEVENTH PERSON SUFFERED A FATAL HEART ATTACK -- FOR A TOTAL OF 11 DEAD.

    THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FLED THEIR HOMES FRIDAY NIGHT AND HAVE BEEN SLEEPING IN CARS OR IN TENT CITIES AS MORE THAN 200 AFTERSHOCKS HIT THE AREA.

    POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND -- VISITING THE CITY OF BOLOGNA TO THE NORTH -- OFFERED HIS CONDOLENCES OVER THE DEATHS AND EXPRESSED SORROW AT THE DAMAGE TO THE BASILICA.

    THE GOVERNMENT OF ITALY PLEDGED 29-MILLION DOLLARS IN AID, AND THE LOUVRE, THE BRITISH MUSEUM, AND NATIONAL GALLERY OFFERED TO HELP IN RESTORATION.

    MR. PAOLUCCI SAID EXPERTS MUST FIRST DETERMINE THE DAMAGE TO THE SUSTAINING STRUCTURE OF THE BASILICA AND REINFORCE THE BUILDING.

    THEIR ONLY CONSOLATION WAS THAT THE MOST FAMOUS GIOTTO FRESCOES DEPICTING SCENES FROM ST. FRANCIS' LIFE -- WERE CRACKED BUT STILL INTACT, AND THE SAINT'S GRAVE WAS NOT DAMAGED. (SIGNED)
    NEB/PP/JWH/KL
    27-Sep-97 11:52 AM EDT (1552 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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