Earthquake and old city centres
The state of substantial neglect in the old city centres of L'Aquila province, four years after the 2009 earthquake, and in the areas between Modena and Ferrara (Mirandola, Cavezzo, Medolla, etc.) struck by the earth tremors of one year ago, bear witness to the ongoing, complete and scandalous lack of preparation of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Central Institute for Restoration and university schools of history of art and architecture in dealing with a problem such as that of earthquakes, both in taking preventive measures and, when the earthquake has occurred, in tackling the rebuilding of historic buildings that have been damaged or destroyed. This is the umpteenth case of cultural backwardness in Italy, seen here on two fronts. Firstly, policies for protecting our artistic heritage, which have never moved on from the museum culture of the aesthetic and critical restoration theory based on principles expressed in the 1930s by figures like Giulio Carlo Argan and Cesare Brandi. Secondly, policies for safeguarding old town centres, which have always been directed towards turning these town centres into museums, filling them with constraints, bans, limitations on use and never linking them to the modern world that is being constructed around them and that is suffocating them more and more. These policies, over forty years, have led to a three-quarters reduction in residents. We can get out of this situation by moving in two directions. One is to accept the plain truth that only stylistic restoration allows buildings, churches and historic monuments damaged by earthquakes to be rebuilt in a logical way; it is therefore a matter of getting out of the doldrums of the more and more discredited taboo on falsification, the linchpin of the aesthetic, museum theory of restoration. The other is to surrender to the fact that, as Lavoisier taught us almost three centuries ago, in nature nothing is created and nothing is destroyed, but everything changes.