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Northern Italy floods leave museums submerged and ancient frescoes damaged

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As Emilia Romagna begins the herculean task of clearing up after flooding that left 15 people dead, the damage to the region’s rich culture and heritage is coming to light.Museums, libraries and churches have been inundated with water and mud ruining antique books, manuscripts and frescoes.Prime Minister Georgia Meloni has announced a temporary increase in museum ticket prices around the country to raise funds to help the region’s cultural heritage.In Cesena, one of the worst hit areas, the historic Malatestiana Library was flooded by the rising waters.

The library, which is a designated UNESCO heritage site, is home to priceless manuscripts and antique books.

Reports have not yet emerged on whether these have been affected.Nearby, the Abbey of Santa Maria del Monte recorded collapsed masonry while in Faenza, whose streets have been left full of mud, volunteers are sweeping water and silt from the church of San Francesco.Also in Faenza, a city renowned for its ceramic artisans, the Guerrino Tramonti Museum had 1,800 ceramics and paintings in the storerooms submerged.

The water also rose to 30cm in the museum rooms damaging the building and exhibits.The city’s Manfrediana Library, which opened in 1818, was reported to be under half a metre of water.

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