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The « Recovered Treasures » Exhibition Inaugurated at UNESCO



The « Recovered Treasures » Exhibition Inaugurated at UNESCO

The exhibition of artworks recovered by the Carabinieri Command for the protection of cultural heritage (TPC) during its 50 years of activity was inaugurated today at UNESCO. Among the distinguished guests, there was UNESCO’s Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, the permanent representative of Italy to UNESCO, Massimo Riccardo, and the Commander of the Carabinieri TPC Command, Gen. Roberto Riccardi. Afterwards, the exhibition will travel to the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Italy is traditionally engaged in the management and protection of cultural heritage and was the first country to draw the attention of UNESCO to the need to upscale the international community’s engagement to protect cultural heritage in crisis zones or at risk. In the framework of the Unite4Heritage (U4H) coalition which was launched in 2015, Italy presented the resolutions which led to the adoption of the UNESCO Strategy for the protection of culture and the promotion of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict. It’s in this context that in 2016 Italy has established a national U4H Task Force (the so-called « blue helmets for culture ») composed of Carabinieri from the Command for the protection of cultural heritage and civil experts, which has been put at UNESCO’s disposal for safeguarding cultural heritage in crisis situations.

Task Force members have already been engaged in Iraq for the training of more than 850 Iraqi civil servants of the Ministries of Interior, Culture and Antiquities, and are now engaged in Bagdad and Erbil in long term missions.  A few months after its establishment, the Task Force also intervened in the aftermath of the earthquakes which struck the centre of Italy in 2016 and the island of Ischia in August 2017. It was responsible for locating artworks at risk in damaged churches, museums, public or private buildings; of finding sage havens for their storage and coordinating their safe transfer. 

The Carabinieri Command for the protection of cultural heritage is responsible for locating the culprits of crimes against cultural heritage and recovering illicitly-exported artworks, of foreign origin too; of monitoring archaeological sites on land or underwater, as well as landscapes of particular value and UNESCO World Heritage sites; of monitoring trade activities in cultural heritage, and verifying anti-theft activities in museums, libraries and archives. It is also manages the “Leonardo Databank of stolen artworks”.

Click here to see pictures of the inauguration