Italy launches cultural rescue project at Dubai’s Expo 2020

DUBAI —  Italy, renowned for its centuries of experience trying to preserve its rich artistic culture, has used its presence at a world fair in Dubai to launch a project to help other nations around the Mediterranean rescue heritage at risk. Italy has already hit the headlines with its pavilion at Expo 2020, which opened at the start of the month following a year-long delay because of the pandemic.

Central to its national display is a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David, made using one of the world’s largest 3D printers and based on 40 hours of digital scanning of the original 16th-century marble sculpture that stands in Florence.

Grazia Tucci, an engineering professor at the University of Florence, said the model is an example of the kind of work its center will promote. “Like the Bamiyan Buddhas (in Afghanistan) or Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph (in Syria), our cultural heritage is at risk. At risk from nature and also from human beings,” said Ms. Tucci, who will head the center.

Speaking at the project’s launch on Sunday, she said it was essential to preserve heritage for future generations and Italy would share “the best technologies” to train professionals from around the Mediterranean in preserving, digitizing and restoring objects and sites that could be lost to violence.

Hybrid courses, involving online and in person sessions, will be launched over the coming weeks and the Advanced Vocational Training Center for the Digitization and Re-construction of Cultural Heritage will remain at the Italian pavilion after the world fair closes in March. It is not yet clear for how long. — Reuters