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Bill Thayer

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Needless Waste:
The Assisted Ruin of Our Cultural Heritage

[image ALT: missingALT.]
Spello: the Chiesa Tonda.
(For now, see my diary entry)

This is one website I wish were smaller. Unfortunately, as I go thru my notes and photographs, it will get bigger like the others.

A lot of fuss, quite properly, is made over the great monuments. Now that doesn't seem to prevent the French cathedral of Amiens from being covered with spray-painted graffiti, and two‑meter-tall ailanthus from growing in the roof of the cathedral of Laon, but those examples are fairly minor. This site documents some of the worst cases I've seen.

Small churches, especially in the countryside, often have no one to take care of them, and wind up particularly exposed to the depredations of vandals and art thieves. The urban example below is in Rome; the rural examples all happen to be in Umbria, because I know well that region of central Italy, but ill manners and rapacity know no borders: in many places the situation is worse.

[image ALT: A small building half overgrown by vegetation. It is the church of San Simeone near Stroncone.]

S. Simeone
near Stroncone (Umbria)
private owner­ship
damaged by: earthquake, neglect, vandalism, art theft

[ 2 pages, 9 photos ]

[image ALT: A small building half overgrown by vegetation. It is the church of San Simeone near Stroncone.]

S. Giovanni de Butris
near Acquasparta (Umbria)
property of: the Sovereign Order of Malta
damaged by: art theft

[ 1 page, 2 photos ]

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S. Stefano in Manciano
near Trevi (Umbria)
private property
damaged by: earthquake, long neglect

[ 1 page, 4 photos ]

[image ALT: A largish building with an arcaded front porch and a five-story belfry. It is the church of S. Giorgio in Velabro in Rome.]

S. Giorgio in Velabro
property of: the Catholic Church
damaged by: terrorism

[ 1 page, 1 image, further links ]

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SIte updated: 21 Mar 14