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Italy tries to recover from earthquake with cultural quest

Italy’s state museums have embarked on a fundraising campaign, donating their proceeds Sunday to relief and reconstruction efforts in the country’s earthquake zone.

Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, says proceeds from public museums across Italy will be dedicated to help restore damaged buildings.

Franceschini has urged Italians to go out in force on Sunday to visit museums and Italy’s numerous archaeological sites “in a concrete sign of solidarity” with quake victims.

Damage

Wednesday’s earthquake damaged this cemetery near Amatrice, exposing coffins in family tombs. (Richard Devey/CBC)

A state funeral was held yesterday for 35 of the 290 people who died in Wednesday’s earthquake. The youngest victim of the disaster was five months old, the oldest 93.

The 6.2 magnitude quake flattened three medieval towns in central Italy, destroying not only private homes but also churches and other centuries-old cultural treasures.

The idea of the museum visits is to use art for art — harnessing the nation’s rich artistic heritage to help recover and restore other objects of beauty in the hard-hit towns.

Overnight was relatively calm, the first since the quake struck without strong aftershocks. In all, the region has seen 1,820 aftershocks, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

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