For Love of Italy’s Art

Mar 28, 2016



With an estimated 60 percent of the world’s designated art treasures, Italy attracts some 48 million visitors every year—so many that a curator friend fears that many could be “loved to death” (amata da morire).  Now a thoroughly modern initiative is enlisting international help in preserving the immense cultural heritage (tutelare l’immenso patrimonio culturale) that belongs to all humanity (che appartiene a tutta l’umanità).

loveitaly!, a recently formed nonprofit association (un’associazione non profit nata di recente), is using crowdfunding—a word that doesn't translate into Italian—to spark una rivoluzione gentile (a gentle revolution). Its goal: creare un senso di attaccamento e di rispetto per il nostro patrimonio culturale (to create a sense of attachment and respect for our cultural patrimony).

Anyone, anywhere can contribute sums ranging from two euro (about $2.20 at the current exchange rate) to 40 thousand euro (roughly $44,000). In return every donor can far parte della storia (be part of history)—a slogan that inspired loveitaly!’s hashtag: #BEpArtofHistory.

Tracy Roberts, a Californian who has lived in Italy for many years, and Luigi Capello, an administrator of a venture capital group that invests in digital startups, formed loveitaly! to reach out to the global community (la comunità globale) with a shared awareness (sensibilità condivisa) of the need for safeguarding Italy’s cultural heritage. Its sede principale (main office) is in Rome, with una gemella (a twin), American Friends of loveitaly!, in the United States. The all-volunteer association has engaged in la raccolta fondi (fundraising) for two restoration projects (progetti di restauro):  a room from the second century nella casa del Centauro (in the Domus of the Centaur) in Pompeii and a sarcofago  (sarcophagus) of the imperial age in the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Rome.

“Italy’s cultural heritage is like petroleum” (Il patrimonio culturale italiano è come il petrolio), says Richard Hodges, an internationally noted archaeologist and head of the American University of Rome, who serves as president of LoveItaly! “We have an extraordinary richness but we still don’t know how to manage it.” (Abbiamo una ricchezza straordinaria ma non sappiamo ancora gestirla.)

Working with a board of public officials, museum curators, and experts in art restoration, LoveItaly! hopes to create a new mentality (una nuova mentalità) similar to the philantropic activities (attività filantropiche) seen in Anglo-Saxon countries (paesi anglosassoni). But rather than courting billionaires, it encourages even small sums (piccole somme) because, as loveitaly’s rallying cry (parola d’ordine) exhorts, “siamo tutti coinvolti” (We are all involved).

Words and Expressions

Finanziamento — financing

Benefattore, benefattrice — benefactor

Donazione -– donation

Beneficenza –- charity

Contributo –- contribution, donation

Dianne Hales is the author of MONA LISA: A Life Discovered and LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.

For more information on loveitaly, check out its website. If you are in Rome, the University of Rome is hosting a Gala for Pompeii on March 31. Click here for more information. For a brief video on loveitaly's work, click below.

Conservation work on the Marble Sarcophagus in the Corsini Gallery, Rome from LoveItaly! on Vimeo.

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La Passione
Mona Lisa
La Bella Lingua