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The Riace bronzes won’t be part of Expo Milano 2015

by Italy24 Staff

The Riace Bronzes, two bronze statues from 5th century B.C. discovered in the 1970s in the Ionian Sea, won't make the trip from the National Museum of Magna Grecia in Reggio Calabria to Milan. Experts hired by the minister of Culture Dario Franceschini have come to the conclusion that the two naked life-size warriors, famous around the world, are too fragile to travel.

It's “a very clear answer that puts an end to this discussion,” said Franceschini, presenting the commission's report. The president of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, and his cultural ambassador, art critic Vittorio Sgarbi don't agree with this decision. According to them, “political factors” were behind this decision. And if there's anyone who loses out, he insists, “it's Calabria.”

The commission, headed by Giuliano Volpe, a professor of archeology from Foggia, was assembled a month ago by the minister in response to the request by the region of Lombardy that the two Riace Bronzes be moved to Milan for the Expo, and it concluded that if they were moved it would not be possible to guarantee “their integrity and preservation.”

The commission worked for four weeks. The analysis by experts focused on restorations done over a number of years and on “all possible scientific tests, from micro-core sampling, to scans, to x-rays,” the minister said.

The plan was rejected due to “numerous and diffuse tiny fissures” and for “issues with the strength of the ancient welding that caused a structural weakening of the statue's core.”