by Ariana Cammllarie
When you hear “Italy,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? I’m only slightly ashamed to say that pizza and gelato immediately come to mine. All joking aside, Italy has much more to offer than incredible food as it is full of historic and artistic masterpieces, a living museum revered worldwide. But it’s no secret that this beautiful country is struggling to upkeep all it has and consequently has begun to look to outside sources for help. Conserving cultural heritage is a much simpler task than it may seem—and there’s a way for all of us to contribute.
Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular movement within the last few years in Italy. It allows the public to directly take part in the preservation of art and culture. The best thing about crowdfunding is how easily accessible it is and how many campaigns there are to choose from. There’s the ¡LoveItaly! #BepArtOfHistory campaign to support restoration projects for the House of the Centaurs in Pompeii and the restoration of an antique sarcophagus in Rome. In Florence, there is the successful #CrazyforPazzi campaign to restore the interior of the Pazzi Chapel in Santa Croce. The chapel was designed by Brunelleschi and is a wonderful representation of what High Renaissance architecture looks like. Another important Florentine non-profit organization is AWAF (Advancing Women Artists Foundation), a foundation that focuses their efforts on identifying and restoring art created by Florentine female artists such as Anna Piattoli and Suor Plautilla Nelli. AWAF has at least two restoration projects going at the same time.
As you can see, there are multiple opportunities you can take part in that share the goal of preserving the unique Italian heritage. We all have the time to rave on Facebook about our study abroad experiences, so we might as well start celebrating this country in a way that will help protect what we’ve fallen in love with. Our generation is known for selfies and online oversharing, but we could really make an impact on this country just by spreading the word, or rather, the hashtags. The support given by us social media socialites could help inspire others to want to experience and love Italy the way we do. Because let’s be honest, guys. Who has studied abroad in Italy and not loved every second of it?
So the next time you find yourself with some free time while abroad, really consider being a part of the population actively seeking ways to continue making Italy the greatest artistic, historic and cultural hub of the world. Still not convinced? Just think, if we ignore the fact that Italy needs help preserving its cultural riches, where will we take all our #Italy selfies for years to come?
Ariana Cammllarie is a double major in Art History and Advertising at the University of Georgia. During her studies at LdM she participates in both the Internship Programme and the Professional Opportunity Programme, where she interns at Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and writes for the LdM Art and Restoration blog, respectively. After graduation she hopes to go into the emerging field of advertising for museums and art institutions.