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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Shock tactics to save Italian art
Michelangelo's David
Organisers hope the image will kick-start the fundraising
Shock tactics are being used in Italy to scare Italians into helping to save their cultural heritage.

Organisers of a campaign hope an image of Michelangelo's David with a leg missing will scare Italians into forking out to save artworks at risk.

TV adverts and posters will feature the staged destruction of its most famous works with the slogan: "Without your help, Italy could lose something".

A third of Italy's cultural sites are deemed to be in a state of emergency.

Other famous art works used in the fundraising campaign include an image of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper with disciples scratched out and strips torn off the canvas of Botticelli's Venus.

They will form part of the biggest art fundraising campaign Italy has ever seen.

Future generations

Despite the paintings and sculptures headlining the campaign being in no real danger, well known treasures such as Venice or Rome's Colosseum are considered at risk.

Pollution, vandalism and natural decay have all contributed to the condition of many cultural sites.

Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione said: "The care and defence of our cultural and artistic heritage isn't only the state's responsibility, it is every Italian's.

"Italians must care for the great art they have around them today, or it may not be there for future generations."

Rome's Castel Sant' Angelo
Rome's Castel Sant' Angelo is deemed to be at risk of collapsing

Ledo Prato, secretary general of CittaItalia, the non-profit foundation leading the campaign, added: "Italy would be an anonymous country without its cultural heritage - that's what people are realising.

"We are talking about hundreds of convents, churches, palaces and castles that are not as well known but are in dire state of decay and merit being remembered and cared for," he added.

Canne della Battaglia, the ancient battlefield where Hannibal beat the Romans in 216 BC, is one site in dire need of funding, according to Mr Prato.

Another is the 18th Century Royal Palace in the southern town of Caserta.

Italy has already pledged to pump more than one million euros (638,380) to help save Rome's Castel Sant' Angelo, after an investigation revealed that the ancient papal fortress was at risk of falling down.

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