In 2009 a terrible earthquake destroyed all the historical city center of L’Aquila, the capital city of Abruzzo, and its suburbs.
After almost seven years, 309 victims and more than 80 thousand evacuees, the city on the Appenino is still under construction and life seems stuck in an atmosphere of collapse and desire to rebuilt a normal life.
A ray of hope comes from the official re opening of the National Museum of Abruzzo (Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo-MUNDA), just before the Christmas’ celebrations in Italy.
The 19th of December 2015, after five years of works and restoration, more than 100 art masterpieces found a temporary new home at Borgo Rivera, in the former slaughterhouse, just in front of the monumental Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 spouts).
Waiting for the total reconstruction of the 16th century castle, where the artistic collection of the National Museum was located, many of the archeological objects and paintings have been freshly relocated in a brand new place open to the public.
The museum collection is mainly based on the most significant documents of the religious regional art, enhanced by a rich archeological section.
Walking around the former slaughterhouse, it is possible to see the pretty medieval icons and wooden sculptures but also the Italian Renaissance’s masterpieces, such as the processional cross of the Cathedral of L’Aquila, by Nicola da Guardiagrele and St. Sebastian’ s sculpture by Silvestro dell’Aquila.
Among the numerous art works salvaged from the rubble there are also the altarpiece of the Virgin and the saints, by Giovanni Paolo Cardone, from a destroyed church or the 13th century Christ from the Penne’s Cathedral (Duomo di Penne).
Thus the regional artworks from Abruzzo have found a new, modern anti-seismic home, where to start a brand new life.
All the recovery work has been recorded in the video project ‘Rescued Art’ from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage (Mibac-Ministero dei Beni e delle attività culturali e del Turismo), in order to remember how much the artistic heritage has been affected from the terrible 2009 earthquake.