MUSEO DELL’ARTE SALVATA
Stolen artworks and archaeological artefacts dispersed, sold or illegally exported constitute a significant loss to a country’s cultural heritage and the expression of its historical memory and collective values, not to mention the identity of its people. Despite its intrinsic intangible value, rather than being worth safeguarding, protecting and preserving, cultural heritage has often been targeted for illicit trafficking and material destruction. It is no coincidence that during international conflicts, aggressors frequently, intentionally, and deliberately damage cultural heritage, striking at the very roots of the enemy country’s identity.
The Museo dell’Arte Salvata was established to tell the other side of the story, showcasing every phase in the rescue of artworks: from investigations to returns through cultural diplomacy, recovering masterpieces carried out by the Ministry’s various institutions – the ISCR, Opificio delle Pietre Dure, ICPAL – and discovering historical and artistic goods among the rubble of earthquakes thanks to interventions by the Culture Blue Helmets, a task force set up by the Italian government to recover artefacts after natural disasters and armed conflict under the aegis of UNESCO; or, further still, work by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, whose efforts are appreciated worldwide, thanks to which Italy is recognized as a leader in the sector.
The Museum’s exhibits will change according to the outcomes of investigative operations, international returns, and recoveries in areas affected by natural disasters. When each new exhibit arrives, artefacts displayed up to that point will be returned to their original locations; newly-recovered works will be donated to the prestigious Museo Nazionale Romano museum’s Octagonal Hall.
Protecting and enhancing these riches is both an institutional duty and a moral commitment: we must take on this responsibility towards future generations so that, through these artefacts, they are able to preserve identity-related values and acknowledge a shared cultural history.
Minister of Culture
The current exhibition
From 16 June to 15 October 2022
On the occasion of the museum’s opening to the public, the recent findings —resulting from the investigations carried out by the Cultural Heritage Protection Operational Department to fight the illicit trafficking of archeological pieces— will be exhibited. The exhibition is based on the pieces that the TPC Operations Department brought back from the United States of America between December 2021 and June 2022: an impressive number of works with numerous pieces of archeology from various civilisations.
These artefacts are from various investigative activities conducted by the “Carabinieri dell’arte” in collaboration with the US authorities, seized from museum offices, auction houses and private collections in various overseas locations. They had endured the usual rigmarole of illicit trade in the sector: clandestine excavations, receiving stolen goods, illicit exportation. The return to Italy took place on 15 December 2021 at the Consulate General of New York, where some pieces remained on display for a few months.
Free access for holders of the entrance ticket to the Baths of Diocletian or the combined ticket for access to all locations, which can be purchased online or at the ticket offices.